Marine Bombing Squadron Six-Thirteen
October 1, 1943 - November 21, 1945
VMB-613 Insignia

PONAPE CRASH-SITE

During the spring of 2004 both Dick and Stan were contacted by members of VMB-613 concerning the status of one of the crewman, Sergeant David Snider.  Based on the fact that Sergeant Snider was not buried with the rest of the crew in Saint Louis, squadron members wanted to know whether either Dick or Stan had any information that his remains had ever been recovered.  Reviewing their notes from 2001, neither Dick nor Stan could find any evidence to indicate that the sixth crewman's remains had ever been located.  Dick and Stan advised squadron members to contact the U.S. Army Central Identification Lab and ask for verification of the status of Sergeant Snider's remains, and if necessary, an excavation of the entire crash-site.  Acting on this recommendation squadron members submitted their official request and anxiously awaited a response.  During the interim, Stan planned another trip to the crash-site to see if he could locate any additional evidence.

In early May of 2004 Stan and his friend, aviation archeologist Russell French, returned to the crash-site to see if any evidence of Sergeant Snider could be found.  Following an exhausting day of searching, some additional aircraft artifacts were located and documented as well as a Japanese searchlight, however no evidence of Sergeant Snider was discovered.  The following month, a long-awaited response from the Casualty Section at Headquarters Marine Corps was finally received.  It indicated that the remains of Sergeant Snider had been recovered and identified in 1948, and that he had subsequently been buried at Riverside Cemetery in Rochelle Park, New Jersey in 1949.  Verification of Sergeant Snider's burial at Riverside Cemetery was obtained from the cemetery staff shortly thereafter.

The efforts of Dick Williams and Stan Gajda will always be remembered, as they have provided squadron members with answers and closure to the 58 year old mystery of their unaccounted-for comrade.

A new chapter in the story of the of MB-6 began in late December 2004 when squadron members were contacted by Stephen A. Druzak, Deputy of the United States Embassy located on Pohnpei (Ponape).  Steve contacted squadron members seeking information pertaining to the exact time that MB-6 was shot down, as he was planning a memorial ceremony for the crew on the sixtieth anniversary of their loss.  The necessary information was passed to Steve, and at 11:15 AM on February 6, 2005 a well-attended memorial service was conducted at the location of the remaining engine by Ambassador Suzanne K. Hale, and the Speaker of the Congress for the Federated States of Micronesia, Peter Christian.  The ceremony was a moving experience, and as one attendee stated, "... the boys were remembered with respectful, dignified and kind words concluding with a tearful rendering of Taps."  Additional information regarding that ceremony, including a list of those attending is provided at the following link:  Memorial Service.

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Stan Gajda Thumbnail Image Dick Williams Thumbnail Image Sekerias Thumbnail Image

Stan Gajda

Dick Williams

Sekerias

Russell French Thumbnail Image Map of the Crash-Site Thumbnail Image Ambassador Suzanne K. Hale Thumbnail Image

Russell French

Map of the Crash-Site

Ambassador Suzanne K. Hale

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