Harry A Kortas


Name: Harry A Kortas

First Name(s): Harry A
Last Name: Kortas

Place of birth: Illinois, Chicago

Rank: Sgt Radio Operator
ASN: 36660873
Company: 91st T Car Sqdrn
Unit: 439th Troop Carrier Grp 9th USAAF

Reported as: MIA ► POW ► RTD
Date of incident: 27-12-1944
Place of incident: Sibret area

His story: On December 27, 1944, the Hurley crew took off with Douglas SKYTRAIN C-47A-70-DL, #42-100644 from the airstrip at Châteaudun, France.
After releasing its Gliders at the LZ, the Squadron turned and started back to base on course. The formation ran into a barrage of ligth FLAK which was intense and accurate. The left engine of A/C 644 was hit and set on fire, spreading back along the fuselage. The airplane momentarily continued on course then climbed to the left of the formation for a few seconds making a 90° turn. Then nosed down, crashing in an open field a few seconds later.
Flight Engineer S/Sgt Marion B McCarter managed to bail out of the plane together with Radio Operator Sgt Harry A Kortas and Co-Pilot 2 Lt Lester J Epstein.
Pilot 1 Lt James F Hurley also managed to bail out, his parachute was seen open and dropped on opposite side of a hill. Lt Hurley was not seen by Sgt Kortas on the ground and later on recorded as POW.
2 Lt Epstein landed separately from his crewmembers McCarter and Kortas. He was limping as he tried to cross a road to join them, when a German Troop started shooting at them. Epstein was hit and captured by Germans who took him in some woods. Afterwards one discovered his grave and found out that his hands has been tyed with wire and his head was smashed up.
S/Sgt Marion B McCarter is recorded KIA on January 24, 1945.
Sgt Harry A Kortas was captured by German Troops, escaped to US Lines and was recorded RTD on January 2, 1945.
Operation: REPULSE
Destination: 1¼ Mile North of Bastogne, Belgium
Mission: Glider Tow – Resupply

Unit history of 439th Troop Carrier Group

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