American Legion Post 50 SAL 50 New York USA
|PELHAM Natives and Residents
"Missing In Action"
Sons of American Legion
The third Friday In September has been designated as National POW/MIA Recognition Day. The
Sons of the American Legion and American Legion Post 50 gather annually for a service in
remembrance of Pelham’s MIAs at the Pelham Veterans Plaza on Fifth Avenue for a candlelit
Link to Defense Prisoner of War/Missing Personnel Offices
Of the 87 Pelham residents who have lost their lives in military service since World War One, twelve
are designated as Missing In Action.
The most recent MIA is PMHS graduate Capt. John Alexander House II, USMC, who landed a
crippled helicopter on June 30, 1967 near Phu Bai, South Vietnam saving the lives of seven Marine
passengers. Capt. House is included among 1,700 MIAs from the Vietnam War that continue to be
searched for by the Joint POW / MIA Accounting Command (JPAC) based at Hickam Air Force Base
in Hawaii. Capt. House is remembered on the Vietnam War Memorial Wall in Washington DC Panel
22E - Line 87.
From the research conducted by members of Post 50, SAL 50, and Pelham Memorial High School,
the following Pelham residents are included among 74,000 Americans who continue to this day to
be designated as "Missing in action" from World War II:
LT. C. George Campbell USNR, PMHS'1932, on August 4th, 1944 he flew from the USS Hornet,
landed his plane at sea saving the lives of his crew before he himself succumbed.
Second Lt. Kendall King Fish USAAF, a WWII bomber pilot who flew many missions from Italy, on
April 24, 1945 his plane crashed near the island of Capri.
WT3 Vincent LaSelva USNR, was lost at sea in the Pacific on April 6, 1945, probably killed in a
Murtha J. McCarthy, USAAF, PMHS'38, a fighter pilot sent to the Pacific in 1943. In July 1943 on
his first mission over Papua New Guinea he was reported Missing in Action.
Flight Officer Bertley A. Moberg USAAF, graduated from PMHS in 1941. He became a B17 pilot
and a member of the 20th Bomber Squadron, 2nd Bomb Group heavy which flew WWII missions
from Italy, he was lost on a mission on March 14, 1945.
LTJG Kenneth H. Muir USNR, was military officer aboard the liberty ship SS NATHANIEL
HAWTHORNE. On November 7,1942 in the Caribbean Sea the ship was sunk by a torpedo
launched by U-508. He received the Navy Cross for getting as many of his men off the ship with
disregard for his own safety.
Sailor Herbert Retallack USN, left PMHS during the eleventh grade to join the US Navy. He
served on the destroyer, USS Rowan DD405 which sailed in the Atlantic. On Sept. 10th 1943 off
Italy the Rowan was hit by a torpedo and sank in less than a minute,
Ensign John M. Ring USNR was the pilot on October 25, 1944 of a carrier based F6F plane
which participated in an attack on a Japanese cruiser. Ring's plane was hit by anti-aircraft fire and
was seen falling out of formation and hitting into the sea just behind the targeted ship.
Lieutenant JG William Thoman, US Coast Guard PMHS'1938 (EM). He died in service to our
country on June 13, 1943. Lt. Thoman is remembered at the Missing in Action or Buried at Sea
Tablets of the Missing, at the East Coast Memorial at Battery Park in New York City.
First Lieutenant Ellsworth Totten, III USAAF, was an outstanding runner at PMHS a '38
graduate. He flew 59 WWII missions combat missions from Italy. On Dec. 23, 1944, Lt. Totten and
his crew went off to search for a missing pilot, the plane crashed into the sea shortly after takeoff.
George Francis Usbeck, Jr., U.S. Merchant Marine, served on the merchant tanker ship L.J.
Drake. During a cruise through the Caribbean Sea the ship was torpedoed and sunk on June 5th
Capt. Robert H. Wetherbee, USAAF. A graduate of PMHS, was a bomber pilot stationed in
England. On July 15th 1943 he was reported as “missing in action by the War Department.