Several people reached out to me after reading my newspaper column in the local editions of Anton Media Group last month about my upcoming feature about Benjamin Bromley of Mineola who has been missing in action and “unaccounted for” for eight decades.Friends and readers asked me two important follow-up questions regarding Bromley and our nation’s POWs and MIAs. 1. Tell us about Bromley’s crewmates and whether they are also unaccounted for. 2. Who else from our hometowns remain missing and unaccounted for? This takes me down a research rabbit hole, of course. There are more than 6,000 military personnel whose home of record is New York, in general, and remain listed as “unaccounted for.” I will include Bromley’s crewmates’ when his piece goes to print, but for now, I wanted to share a short biography of another local hero who, unrelated to Bromley’s case, also needs to be brought home.
This is Captain William Royal Fisher of Levittown. Fisher remains unaccounted for.
U.S. Government website for the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA) reports:“On the evening of January 23, 1952, a B-29 Superfortress (tail number 44-87734, call sign “Barmaid 35”) carrying 14 crew members departed Kadena Air Base, Okinawa, as one of 12 aircraft on a nighttime interdiction mission against a railroad bridge east of Sinanju, North Korea. “The aircraft developed engine trouble en route, and the pilot radioed that he was going to fly the aircraft to the airbase at Kimpo, South Korea. However, while still over enemy territory, “Barmaid 35” became uncontrollable, and the pilot ordered the crew to bail out. Eight crew members bailed out successfully and were taken prisoner by enemy forces and returned to U.S. custody after the war. One of the crew members died during the bailout, and the remaining five are believed to have died in the crash.
“Captain William Royal Fisher, who joined the U.S. Air Force from [Levittown], served with the 93rd Bombardment Squadron, 19th Bombardment Group. He was a crew member aboard this B-29 when it crashed and did not survive the incident. His remains were not identified among those returned to U.S. custody after the ceasefire, and he is still unaccounted-for.Courts of the Missing at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific in Honolulu, Hawaii. Fisher was born on June 9, 1924. His service number is AO-822403. Based on all information available, DPAA has determined that Fisher’s case is presently in the analytical category of “Deferred”.Fisher is memorialized on the
The DPAA categorizes all cases of unaccounted personnel into four categories.
“Deferred” cases mean that no new leads have been presented or access to the last known location is restricted.
The other three categories for unaccounted for personnel include: under review, active pursuit and non-recoverable.
“Under review” means either the case is not yet assigned to a category or new evidence has been discovered in a case.
“Active pursuit” means that the case is actively being researched, investigated or there is an active recovery effort in place.
“Non-recoverable” means there is negligible potential for accounting for the missing personnel.Fisher and five others of the total 14 crew members involved in the January 23rd incident in 1952, who remain unaccounted for are: 1st Lt James Argetis of Colorado A1C James Lloyd Bell of California Ssgt Richard Bruce Caldwell of Wisconsin Capt William Royal Fisher of Levittown, New York Ssgt Asa Lawrence Law of Texas 1st Lt Hugh Ker Thomson of Brooklyn, New York I believe that if we say their names and keep their stories fresh and at the forefront, honors the service of not only those who have been recovered and are in their final resting place, but might serve one day as a piece of the puzzle needed to recover those who remain unaccounted for.