Hunt for Jimmie Browne: An Mia Pilot in World War II China by Robert L. Willett
On Tuesday, November 17, 1942, aircraft C-47 #60 climbed slowly over the Himalayas growing smaller and smaller until finally it faded from sight, never to be seen again-until 70 years later. This is the story of one family's search for answers about the MIA pilots of C-47 #60, particularly the co-pilot, James S. Browne. James S. Browne was a pilot for China National Aviation Corporation (CNAC), an airline jointly owned by the Republic of China (55%) and Pan Am (45%) and being flown under contract to the U.S. Army Air Corps. CNAC's mission was to pioneer the Hump route over the Himalayas, and bring in the gasoline, weapons, ammunition, and war goods needed to keep China in the war. If China left the war, more than one million Japanese soldiers would be free to beef up Pacific bases. Browne and his crew of three were killed in a plane crash while en route to Dinjan with supplies. Though rescue missions took place following their disappearance, they were unsuccessful. Nearly forty years later, Willett picks up where they left off in the hopes of finding his missing cousin. Gathering crash site information on a trip to China, Willett's hired search team makes three ascents up Cang Shan mountain near Dali, China and finally strikes metal-the scattered wreckage from a C-47. A search of Douglas Aircraft data revealed that a number found on a piece of the wreckage matched the construction number of CNAC # 60. According to Douglas, CNAC #60 was lost on November 17, 1942 while flying for CNAC. Finally, the lost was found. Since the discovery five years ago, Willett has dealt with U.S. government agencies and the Chinese government in efforts to bring Jimmie home. Finding bureaucratic roadblocks to a successful excavation of the wreck, Willett's search and rescue mission continues.