a memorial honoring the victims of the B17 crash in Idaho in 1942

Don Gneiding poses at his home in North Ogden in front of a memorial honoring the flight crew of a B-17E bomber that crashed east of Highway 81 near Bridge, Idaho, on April 3, 1942. North Ogden resident erects monument for late relative. His cousin and seven others died in training mission

Fri, Apr 5, 2002
Standard-Examiner correspondent

NORTH OGDEN -- A North Ogden resident"s dream of honoring a deceased relative has finally been realized. Don Gneiding erected a plaque Wednesday
to memorialize his cousin and seven others who were killed in a training mission air crash during World War II.

The crash occurred about 15 miles north of the Utah/Idaho border on a training flight en route from Hill Air Force Base to Gowen Field outside of Boise. Something went wrong and the plane went down, killing all eight servicemen, Gneiding said.

"It was nothing heroic. They were not bombing Dresden or Berlin, but it is one of those tragic things that happen. They were serving their country and deserve to be honored," Gneiding said.

Gneiding said he knew nothing of the crash until about a year ago when the subject came up at a family reunion in New Jersey.

"I remember being about 10 years old and my father was very sad about something and when talking to these relatives in New Jersey I discovered that this must have been why," Gneiding said.

"I had lived in California before, and when my relatives found out I was living in Utah they told me about the incident in greater detail."

Since then, Gneiding has worked tirelessly at finding details about the crash and figuring out how to remember those who lost their lives.

He soon discovered that the information the family had about the crash had been incorrect.

The family said it occurred en route from Gowen to Hill, when in reality it was just the opposite. The family also thought the crash had occurred in Utah. Gneiding found news articles in the Standard-Examiner and an Idaho newspaper from 60 years ago and was able to finally put the pieces together.

"I found the crash occurred in a remote area near Bridge, Idaho, about 15 miles north of the Utah/Idaho border. There was nothing there and it was very beautiful and desolate and I thought, "It would be a fine thing to do to put something here."

Gneiding talked to residents in the area and said they thought it would be a great idea.

He then talked to an Ogden sign company about constructing a monument. He also researched the names and hometowns of the other soldiers who were killed.

"I couldn't very well just give memory to my cousin. I had to give memory to all eight," Gneiding said. He said he is proud of the monument, and with the technology that helped construct the memorial plaque. "It's very monumental-looking. The magic of computers is wonderful," he said.

Gneiding said he planned to take pictures of the event so he could send them to the last living relatives of the other servicemen.

"I don't know why I decided to do this. Maybe just to help people understand what happened," he said.

News story Copyright ©2002, Ogden Publishing Corporation


2nd Lt. James R. Walker
Pilot, Seattle, Wash.

2nd Lt. Albert J. Rich
Co-pilot, Hemet, Cal.

2nd Lt. Maurice V. Bradley
Passenger, Hydro, Okla.

Sgt. Henry O. Williams, Jr.
Radioman, Bellville, Ark.

Sgt. Hugh P. Jennings
Gunner, New Bedford, Mass.

Pvt. Kenneth S. Biddinger
Engineer, Indianapolis, Ind.

Pvt. Joseph W. Koury
Kansas City, Mo.

Pvt. Charles J. Gneiding
Ridgefield Park, N.J.

A Crash Site
Location Map
Pictures from
The Memorial Site
The Complete
Newspaper Crash Text
from the April 5-6, 1942
Boise Idaho Statesman

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