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John Regan

 

Date and Place of Birth: 1922  Chicago, IL
Date and Place of Death:    May 25, 1944 near Milang, India
Baseball Experience: Minor League
Position: Pitcher
Rank: Technical Sergeant
Military Unit: 373rd Bomb Squadron, 308th Bomb Group, Fourteenth Air Force, USAAF
Area Served: China-Burma-India Theater of Operations

John J. Regan was a pitcher on the varsity baseball team at Mount Carmel High School, an all-boys Catholic school on Chicago's South Side. In 1942, he was signed by the Chicago Cubs' organization and sent to the Ashland Colonels of the Class C Mountain State League. After a brief stay he joined the Janesville Cubs of the Class D Wisconsin State League, where he made two appearances.

Regan's fledgling baseball career was put on hold in November 1942, when he entered military service with the Army Air Force and trained as a radio operator. He was sent to the China-India-Burma Theater in November 1943, where he served with the 373rd Bomb Squadron of the 308th Bomb Group, Fourteenth Air Force, at Yangkai, China. Technical Sergeant Regan flew regular ferrying missions in a Consolidated B-24J Liberator over "the Hump" to India, and on May 25, 1944, he was the radio operator/gunner on B-24J Zoot Chute piloted by First Lieutenant Robert M. King. On board were five other crew members in addition to Regan and King, plus three passengers. The plane was bound for Chabua, India, and the last radio contact was made 30 minutes east of its destination. It was never heard from again. One year later the crew were officially declared dead and due to the mountainous terrain where the plane was lost, it was believed that if the wreckage were located, it would be impossible to recover the remains.[1]

John Regan was posthumously awarded the Air Medal, and is memorialized at the Manila American Cemetery at Fort Bonifacio in the Philippines. On October 26, 2008, 64 years after Zoot Chute disappeared, it was discovered by aviation archaeologist Clayton Kuhles. Kuhles conducts regular expeditions to Burma, India, Bangladesh and China, to locate and document missing-in-action Allied aircraft lost in that area during World War II. He discovered the B-24 at over 11,000 feet elevation on a rugged mountain north of Damroh. The nearest village was Milang, a five-day trek. Kuhles intends to locate and notify the surviving family members.[2]

Year

Team

League

Class

G

IP

ER

BB

SO

W

L

ERA

1942 Ashland Mountain State C - - - - - - - -
1942 Janesville Wisconsin State D 2 4 4 0 0 0 0 8.31

 

B-24J Liberator

T/Sgt. John Regan served as a radio operator/gunner aboard this Consolidated B-24J Liberator nicknamed "Zoot Chute"

Notes
1. Missing Air Crew Report 5292.
2. www.miarecoveries.org. Retrieved January 8, 2009.

Date Added February 11, 2012 Updated June 7, 2014

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