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Frederic Burton Sleyster (1919-1942) ( us4 )
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Jill Cruse wrote me on September 22, 2003:

Fredric Burton Sleyster
born on August 28 1919 in Keytesville, Chariton County Missouri. He died 19 May 1943 in the Solomon Islands area, failed to return from a mine laying mission over enemy controlled territory.
He was married with Dorothy Woodworth, living in Coronado, California. there were no children listed.

What happened?
Frederic B. Sleyster
Frederic Sleyster was a Lt. Junior Grade in the US Navy Reserve. Mary Lee told me he did not go right into the service but attended some college.
He was 22 years of age when he was made Aviation Cadet on 2 Oct 1941.
I have been told that he flew a B-17 bomber and that he was on the USS Enterprise for a time.
He was attached to the 493rd Bomber Squadron, 7th Bomber Group Heavy in the US Navy.
He was attached to the Torpedo Squadron 21 and temporarily attached to a Marine unit, VMSB 143 (Marine Scout Bomber Squadron.
The history of VMSB 143 is told to have been commanded by Major William K. Pottinger, USMC, starting at Camp Kearney California on March 1, 1942.
The squadron departed the mainland on October 15, 1942 on the SS Lurline with seven pilots and 57 enlisted men.

Nineteen more pilots arrived at the Guadalcanal on November 12th 1942, in time to participate in a decisive battle fought on the Saunguinary Island; five days later, nine additional pilots arrived at Henderson Field.

Uncle Freddie flew a TBF Avenger (plane no. 06239) in this division. 
On 19 May 1943, Freddie, and his crew, Aviation Radioman Second Class, Harry Hampton Johnson from Minnesota and Aviation Radioman Third Class, Manuel Paiva from Rhode Island, took off on a mine laying mission in the Bougainville area and failed to return to the base.
One pilot stated that there were numerous searchlights and Anti-Aircraft in this area.

Six years later on January 21, 1949, a search team departed for Toprokina, Bougainville in search of information on the downed plane and questioned a local police commissioner, two Catholic Priests, who ran a Catholic Missions Hospital in the area but they could not give any additional information.

Three days later they departed the Mission and with local guides, made a search of local swamps and rivers but found nothing. The river was swelled by a recent rain.

On January 24, 1949, they departed from the Torokina River area for Kaiaris Beach and River area. They questioned a Native Chief and tribesmen but they could give no further information as they had been pushed back deeper into bush during the war. They also stated that in their frequent trips about the area since the war, they had not come across any graves or aircraft crashes.

The next day on January 25, 1949, the team departed Kaiaris Beach for Piva Village. A Pastor who ran the Mission there was questioned and had stated that during the hostilities, he was unable to secure information in view restrictions that were placed upon them by the Japanese military.
The area surrounding the Piva village was searched and the Natives were questioned but found no evidence of aircraft wreckage or remains.

In a letter dated 25 October 1949 that the remains of Frederic Sleyster and those of his crew have been declared non-recoverable.

Military information on Frederic B. Sleyster at the Battle fields monument Commission

This information and the photo I received from Jill Cruse on 22-09-2003 / see her intro page

 ( us4 )