COURIER-POST Friday January 1, 1943
AUDUBON AIR CADET MISSING IN ARIZONA
Edward C. Hill Lost on Solo Flight Was to Get Wings Monday
Edward C. Hill, 21, aviation cadet, has been reported missing while in a routine training flight over Arizona, according to word received by his parents, Mr.. and Mrs.. Howard Hill of 517 West Graisbury Avenue, Audubon
Search for the youth, who was expected to graduate next Monday and receive a commission as a lieutenant has been abandoned, the family was notified. He was reported flying solo in a P-38 Lightning plane. A telegram from Colonel Hoyt, commander of Luke Field, Phoenix AZ, informed the family Tuesday night that the youth was missing and that an extensive search was being made.
Sent Mother Gifts
Today, the boy's mother said she received two Christmas gifts from Edward, followed by another telegram from Colonel Hoyt that the search had been abandoned.
Mrs. Hill said he son, in recent letters, informed her that he expected to be given a furlough following graduation next Monday and anticipated being home for the first time since he entered the service last April.
"This is sad news" the mother said in commenting upon the telegram from Colonel Hoyt, "but we won't give up hope that he'll be found".
Edward is the only child of the Hills. His father is a foreman employed by the RCA. he graduated from Audubon High School where he was popular as a baseball pitcher. Edward was sent to California, where he trained, and studied at Santa Ana, Visalia, and Merced. Two months ago he was sent to Luke Field. Two weeks ago he entered the final stages of his training and was flying out of Williams Field, near Phoenix, for more than a week
According to Colonel Hoyt, he was on a routine flight when last reported.
Last Letter Dated January 23
"I'll be glad to get back to Luke Field" he wrote his mother in the last letter received from him. It was dated December 23 and was received by his parents on Monday. Edward wrote of hoping to have Christmas dinner with a family named Wentworth, in Phoenix, and informed his parents he would make his last training flight Monday. His mother believes that he took off on that scheduled trip and was listed as missing Tuesday.
Mrs. Hill said she wrote her son every two days since he left home.
"He was eager to get back to his station to catch up on his mail" the mother said. "He looked forward so happily to receiving his wings next Monday. He also wanted to get north again, to spend a week with us and to celebrate his twenty-first birthday on January 6."
"Despite the telegram stating that the search has been abandoned we are cherishing the hope that he'll be found."
AVIATION CADET EDWARD C. HILL was born on January 6, 1922 to Mr. and Mrs. Howard J. Hill. He grew up and attended high school in Audubon, New Jersey.
Edward C. Hill enlisted in the United States Army Air Corps in 1942. After qualifying for air service he was sent to Williams Field in Arizona for training. During World War II, Williams Field was under the command of the 89th Army Air Force Base Unit, AAF West Coast Training Center. The flying organization was the 38th (Bombardier and Specialized Twin- and 4-Engine) Flying Training Wing. Thousands of future P-38 Lightning pilots learnt their twin-engine flying skills flying the Beech AT-10 Wichita at Williams. By July 1942, there were 79 AT-10s assigned to the field, however the hot, dry climate of Arizona tended to dry out the wood and glue of the wooden AT-10s, causing at least 10 flying cadets to lose their lives in crashes. Training with the AT-10 was stopped and the aircraft were flown to more humid locations. They were replaced by the Cessna AT-17 Bobcat twin engine trainers, however the AT-17 was seen as "too easy to fly" and were replaced by the more demanding Curtiss-Wright AT-9. By January 1943, almost 200 AT-9s were at the airfield.
On December 28, 1942 his plane crashed in mountainous terrain 28 miles east of Pine Spring AZ. The wreckage containing the bodies of Aviation Cadet Hill and Aviation Cadet William T. Hough were not found until May 29, 1943, and it appears that his body may not have been recovered until June 4, most likely owing to the difficulty of the terrain.
Pine, Arizona. At an unknown time after 1210 MWT, a Curtiss AT-9 crashed 28 miles northeast of Pine, Arizona, killing Aviation Cadet Edward C. Hill and Aviation Cadet William A. Hough. The AT-9 had taken off from Rittenhouse Field at 1210 for Williams Field, Chandler, Arizona, a distance of eight miles. When the airplane failed to arrive at Williams Field it was declared missing. Despite a thorough search, the airplane and the remains of the pilots were not found until 6-4-43.
Aviation Cadet Hill's body was returned to New Jersey, and after a funeral at the Albert F. Mahaffey Funeral Home at 502 Linden Street, Camden NJ, he was buried at Locustwood Memorial Park, Delaware Township (Cherry Hill) NJ.
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