Missing Air Crew Reports

In attempting to research further all of the unknowns from my prior posting, emails were sent to parish libraries and a Sheriffs office with requests of information available in 1946.  Needless to say, the library responded in kind giving me the information that is currently online concerning First Cemetery in Cameron Parish. (I knew that already. I wanted to know if microfilm was available from local newspapers or other sources of information. I got bupkiss via email.)  The Sheriff’s office email was returned.  I am not deterred. I suppose I expected something of a small response from someone, even if it was, “We don’t keep records from 1946.”  or “Are you kidding me?” The coroners office of the parish in question (either Cameron or Calcasieu)  does not have an email address either.  In satisfying myself I’m making a long distance phone call fairly soon… as it is definitely in order.

The MACRs or Missing Air Crew Report documentation is over 137 pages long. The NARA website is quite time consuming in performing a simple search of just the term MIA.  The MACRs have specific information necessary in order to complete a reqest. I’m going to  have to read and review the documentation completely.

I have no name of the alleged or purported MIA.
I have no aircraft tail number of the unknown MIA.
I have a general location and vacinity. The Gulf of Mexico.
I have a general location and cemetery.
I have a specific Sheriff’s office or coroners report- Cameron Parish.
(If there are records and they have been kept from 1946)
I may or may not have DNA.

For those of you with a Footnote subscription:

“Gulf of Mexico” 946 records
“Gulf of Mexico” & “Louisiana” 60 records
“Gulf of Mexico” & “Texas” 12 records
“Gulf of Mexico” & “Florida” 83 records
“Gulf of Mexico” & “Mississippi” 19 records
“Gulf of Mexico” & “Alabama” 47 records

Search for records dated and prior to 1946.


U-Boats in The Gulf of Mexico? That is recent history. Was this an Allied plane that was shot down in The Gulf of Mexico?

See also URLs http://www.uboat.net/maps/us_east_coast.htm .

All of these questions led me on an internet chase from Washington D.C.’s NARA to Panama. It was a hopeful find that NOAA is charting debris fields along the Louisiana coast, however, upon reviewing the mapping system, it is useless in finding or identifying the possible wreckage of a pre-1946 aircraft.  There is another website that at least identifies fauna and flora of The Gulf of Mexico, which I have to admit, is prettier to look at than ordinary hurricane debris. 

Ok, so I don’t even really know for sure if the unknown person was in the military.  So let’s look at the odds of the pilot in question being a civilian in or near The Gulf of Mexico, flying a personal aircraft…….in 1946.   And now let’s look at the number of persons in the military during World War II and the number of missing pilots from World War II.  If your a statistician and you have that data readily available, I welcome a response.  I think the odds are higher that this unknown pilot was in the military.

From the URL  http://www.archives.gov/research/ww2/missing-air-crew-reports.html  I would need the following information in order to obtain more information.  I need to fill in at least one blank.

Blindly searching for downed aircraft prior to 1946 is entirely useless w/the exception of the two reports from both Florida and Texas of planes downed in or near the Gulf of Mexico prior to 1946 where bodies were not recovered already.

Can the plane be identified/dated from the surviving equipment found on the skeletal remains?
Can the unknown person be identified from a listing of sorts of MARCs w/ planes downed in the vacinity of the Gulf of Mexico?
 Is there DNA?

I probably shouldn’t ask, but here is everything else I cannot possibly know from NARA.

What’s in these records?

Typically a MACR gives some or all of the following kinds of information about each crew member: More

  • Name
  • Rank
  • Service number
  • Crew position
  • name and address of next of kin

The report also usually indicates the following:

  • Army Air Forces organization to which the aircraft was assigned
  • Place of departure and destination of the flight plan
  • Weather conditions and visibility at the time of loss
  • Cause of crash
  • Type, model, and serial number of the aircraft and its engines
  • Kinds of weapons installed and their serial numbers

Some case files include the names of persons with some knowledge of the aircraft’s last flight. In some cases these are rescued or returned crew members. Most reports do not contain all of the above information, especially those prepared in 1943 and in 1947.

Ordering Copies

Do you know the MACR number?


You already have enough information to order a copy.

  • Go to the online Microfilm Catalog.
  • Search for M1380.
  • Click on “View Important Publication Details” next to the PDF image to view the microfilm roll lists to find which roll contains your MACR number.
    (You can also view the M1380 descriptive pamphlet here.)
  • Place your order.


We may be able to find the number for you.

  • Give us as much information as you have. Most important is:
    • Date of loss of the aircraft
    • Tail number of lost aircraft
    • Personal name of the crew member

  • Use Find & Request to send your reference request

Your Find & Request path is:
Military Service Records
     bullet Army Air Forces & Army
          bulletMissing Air Crew Reports (1942–1947)
               bulletPaper records


About Louisiana Genealogy Admin

I manage several RootsWeb mailing lists and message boards, support Louisiana Cemetery Preservation, am a former Louisiana and Mississippi librarian, have been researching genealogy of my family since 1988, and write and promote several blogs supporting either Louisiana genealogy or Louisiana cemeteries.
This entry was posted in MARC, World War II. Bookmark the permalink.

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