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