Brookline War Memorial
Bruce H. Bracey

Captain Arthur B. Staniland
United States Army Air Corps (1943-1946)
United States Air Force (1947-1952)

United States Army Air Services (1917-1947)  United States Air Force (1947-present)

Brookline Pilot Reported Missing

On October 6, 1952, Air Force pilot Captain Arthur B. Staniland of Brookline was reported missing after his F94 Starfire Fighter plane failed to return to Elmendorf Air Force Base, near Anchorage Alaska, after a routine weather observation flight over a mountainous region near the coast.

Arthur Bennett Staniland was born on February 22, 1925 to parents Albert E. and Jane L. Staniland of 124 Hughes Avenue in Carrick. He had one sister, Edith. The Staniland family moved to 2642 Library Road in Overbrook and Arthur graduated from South Hills High School.

On his eighteenth birthday, Arthur enlisted in the United States Army and entered the Air Corps, training to be a pilot. He received his silver wings and a commission as 2nd Lieutenant at Napier Field in Dothan, Alabama in January 31, 1944 after completing the advanced single-engine flying course.

Arthur B. Staniland

After additional training at Fort Myers in Florida flying multiple-engine bombers, Lt. Staniland deployed to Europe as part of the 12th Air Force. From October 30, 1944 to June 14, 1945, he flew missions over France, Italy, Germany and the Balkans. After the war in Europe ended, 1st Lt. Staniland returned to the United States on June 15.

Shortly after returning home, on July 7, he married Alice Edna Davis of 943 Woodbourne Avenue in Brookline, and the two bought a home at 961 McNeilly Avenue in Brookline. Lt. Staniland returned to Europe from September 16, 1945 to February 13, 1946, then returned home for good. He was discharged from the Army on December 1 of that year.

71st Fighter Interceptor Squadron

A year later, while attending classes at the University of Pittsburgh and starting a family, Arthur was called back to the new United States Air Force. He was re-assigned to the 71st Fighter Squadron, part of the 1st Fighter-Interceptor Group stationed at March Field in California. He was trained as a fighter pilot on the P51 Mustang, then the F-80B Shooting Star jet. In 1949 the squadron converted to the F-86A Sabre swept-wing fighter.

In October, 1950, the squadron was relocated to the Greater Pittsburgh Airport in Moon Township as part of the 30th Air Division, which later was assigned to the 4708th Air Defense Wing. While stationed here in Pittsburgh, Staniland, who had now reached the rank of Captain, went back to the University of Pittsburgh and earned a degree in Mechanical Engineering.

66th Fighter Interceptor Squadron

Reassignment to the 66th Fighter-Interceptor Squadron, a unit in the U.S. Eleventh Air Force, came in the summer of 1952. Now in the Northwest Pacific Theater of operations and part of the Alaskan air defense forces, Captain Staniland began training on the new F-94B Starfire fighter two-seat fighter inteceptor.

USAF F94 Starfire

It was on one such flight, on October 6, 1952, that 27-year old Captain Arthur B. Staniland and his radio operator, Lt. Charles L. Foster, of Clinton IA, disappeared over the bleak Alaskan terrain somewhere between Whittier and the Portage Pass, near the coast of Prince William Sound. Air rescue crews, hampered by dense Alaskan fog and the tricky air currents in this glacial region, found no trace of the missing plane or the fliers.

Captain Arthur Bennett Staniland's wife, Alice, and their two children, Shirley, 5, and Marcia, 15 months, had been living in Alaska on the base with him. In early November, Alice and the children returned to their home at 961 McNeilly Avenue in Brookline. Memorial services were held both in Alaska, and in Pittsburgh, for Arthur, whose body was never found.

* Information from the Pittsburgh Press - 10/13/52 - 10/31/52; Brookline Journal - 11/13/52 *

Brookline Veteran's Park - April 26, 2014.

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