Marine Corps Memorabilia

Mohme, Harold R.

Rank: Corporal
Serial Number: 921898
Military Branch: USMCR
Origin: Ohio
Date of Death: 1945-6-27
Manila American Cemetery
Featured: No

This is a Purple Heart, Air Medal group to a Marine flyer who was MIA just 5 days after the Okinawa Campaign was declared over. He was later declared KIA. The officially engraved posthumous Purple Heart is a solid brooch Type 2 

The Air Medal is a Navy issue with a frosted finish. The officially engraved medals come with their short titled cases. With the help of fellow collectors, the following has been found about Cpl. Harold Mohme:

Harold Robert Mohme enlisted in the Marines December 1, 1943 in Cleveland, Ohio, near his hometown of Carrollton. He was born February 14, 1924, son of William Mohme. When he was killed, he and one other Marine, Cpl. James C. Stiers, were serving as weather observers in a PB4Y2 Privateer. There were 13 on board when it was shot down by shipboard anti-aircraft fire near the southern tip of Korea. The Navy PB4Y2, tail number 59535, that he was in at the time, was piloted by Lt. Jack E. Vincent, US Navy. This aircraft and Navy crew were attached to VPB-124, a  Navy patrol squadron stationed in Okinawa. Mohme was assigned to the Service and Maintenace Squadron (SMS) 22, Marine Air Group (MAG) 22, Marine Air Wing 2. SMS 22 did the repair work for MAG 22.  The shootdown was observed by eye witnesses who pinpointed the location. The USMC Casualty Report copy contains this information. The coordinates of the loss are: 34 degrees, 14 minutes north, 126 degrees, 16 minutes east.  No bodies were recovered from the scene.

The book by Alan Carey, "Above an Angry Sea USN B-24 Liberator and PB4Y Privateer" has a paragraph on page 123 describing the shootdown of this plane as follows "…two Privateers from VPB-124 belonging to Lieutenants Jack Vincent and Bob Johnston took off in their planes and headed for their search sector that would bring them near Korea. As they neared the Southeast coast of Korea, a heavy fog hid the sea below. Lieutenant Johnston briefly made out a ship a quarter mile ahead. He called Vincent about the ship and then changed course to intercept. Closing in, he identified it as a destroyer escort. Already, Vincent was approaching the warship, and Johnston could see puffs of anti-aircraft fire following the incoming Privateer. Johnston and his crew saw Vincent's plane take hits to the bomb bay area and the port wing near the engines. The damaged Privateer climbed for an instant, smoke pouring from the port engines, then glided into the water with a horrendous explosion. Smoke billowed some 1500 feet in the air, flames spread across the water, and a few pieces of wreckage floated; their were no survivors." His list of KIA's in Appendix A lists all the Navy crew killed on board, but as has been discovered, there were 13 on board including the 2 Marines. 13 is the maximum crew that a Privateer could carry. Obviously one of the purposes of this mission as in all others was to sink Jap shipping.

Thanks again to a fellow collector, we have copies of Mohme's enlistment photo and his Air Medal citation which reads as follows: "For meritorious acts while participating in aerial flight as an aerology observer in searches over enemy controlled territory. Serving as an aerologist with a Marine Service  Squadron in Okinawa Gunto from 6 May to 27 June 1945, Corporal Mohme, in addition to his regular duties, volunteered to act as an aerology observer with Fleet Air Wing One and to fly long hours over dangerous enemy waters where both aerial and anti-aircraft enemy action were frequent. The weather information obtained on these search flights was an important factor in planning aerial and other operations in this area. His bravery and devotion to duty were in keeping with the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service."

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