Lt. Harold G. Stalnaker
P-47D Razorback in the markings of the 358th Fighter Group, 366th Fighter Squadron
On October 8, 2006 the commune of Kehlen, Luxembourg hosted a series of events linked to their National Day of Commemoration (much like the USA's Memorial Day). Please review the letter from the Mayor of Kehlen, the background of the two commemorations, and the recap of events:
Hi, my name is Charlie Stalnaker, and I am the nephew of Lt. Harold G. Stalnaker, a WWII P-47D Thunderbolt pilot killed during the Battle of the Bulge, on 23 December 1944.
In mid-2003, I was contacted by the Dept. of the Army in a surprise phone call that would prove to be one of those defining moments in life. As the closest living relative, I was informed that the remains of my Uncle had recently been found and identified in a field near Kehlen, Luxembourg. Nearly 59 years after his death, I was about to learn of an amazing chain of events that I've chosen to chronicle in these pages, my personal tribute to Uncle Harold.
"This flag is presented on behalf of a grateful nation as a token of our appreciation for the honorable and faithful service rendered by your loved one."
It was with these words that the Army Chaplain presented me with the flag that draped the coffin of my Uncle, Lt. Harold G. Stalnaker of Spencer (WV) at his recent service at Arlington National Cemetery.
In 2002, a forensics investigative team from the Central Identification Laboratory Hawaii (CILHI) -- based on a tip from a local resident -- began the process of excavation and repatriation of Lt. Stalnaker's remains.
The national press and television of Luxembourg have told their public the story of young Lt. Stalnaker. Plans are underway to install a plaque at the crash site, funded by the town of Kehlen.
"Here are recorded the names of Americans who gave their lives in the service of their country and who sleep in unknown graves"
So reads the inscription on the two pylons at the American Cemetery in Luxembourg, honoring 371 MIAs of the US Army and the Army Air forces whose remains were never recovered -- or if recovered, never identified.
In the Chapel located at this cemetery are inscribed the words: "In proud and grateful memory of those men of the armed services of the United States of America who in this region and in the skies above it endured all and gave all that justice among nations might prevail and and that mankind might enjoy freedom and inherit peace"
1. Charlie Stalnaker's Letter to His Uncle, Lt. Harold Stalnaker
2. Photos from the Arlington National Cemetery services, 07 May, 2004
3. Uncle Harold's page
4. Media Coverage of the Recovered Crash Site
5. Kehlen Town Hall tribute to Lt. Stalnaker
6. War Museum of Clervaux
7. American Cemetery in Luxembourg
8. Arlington National Cemetery
9. CILHI Investigative team
10. Peterson Air & Space Museum
11. Link to the World War II Memorial in Washington, DC
12. 366 Fighter Squadron APO 141 U.S. Army Roster of Pilots, November 1944
Uncle Harold's Grand-niece, Trace Stalnaker, gets married, June 2006
Charlie's Mother, Grace Stinchcomb, goes on her first European jaunt (December 2008), and a road trip up the California coast to Big Sur!
Memorial service for Grace Stinchcomb... February 26, 2011
Tracey Folino visits ancestral lands in Italy... check out the photos
Buying a Saab to visit European sites
Snowshoe, WV real estate for sale by owner ~ Tri-level custom home
Contact me (Charlie
Mailing Address: POB 4907, Laguna Beach, California 92652 USA