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Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Student Pilot Long Overdue

If you get tired of tracking down Megan's Annie Moore, you might want to take on the Maurice Herzog challenge. There's no reward for solving it—except for a sense of satisfaction with little cash value.

Cadet Herzog was on a training flight in Arizona on Nov. 3, 1943, but somehow wound up in Sonora, Mexico. His aircraft was recovered eleven days later, undamaged but out of fuel. Herzog was nowhere to be found.

Chris Baird and Tony Mireles have been searching for Herzog for four years, but have come up empty. They don't even have a date of birth for him.

National Archives (NARA) searched records of the Office of the Quartermaster General, Missing Aircrew Report (MACR) Name Index and located a card for Maurice Herzog. The service number on the card matched his number. The only information on the card was the notation "No MACR" (presumably because it was non-combat?). NARA referred us back to Maxwell for the Accident Report (which we already had).

Finally, a letter to National Personnel Records Center in St. Louis produced the most perplexing reply. They stated that Maurice Herzog's search resulted in an Army personnel record that they could not locate. Their letter states "the file was removed from its location in October 1988 and has not been returned. The file location did not indicate where the record was sent."

Also, no death certificate records exist for Herzog with Arizona's Vital Statistics Department . . . [Link]
So, if you ran into Maurice on your last junket to Puerto Vallarta, or you have info on his origins, drop Baird and Mireles a line. And if you are Maurice Herzog, you should really call home more often.

Megan Smolenyak Smolenyak

Well, Chris, I couldn't resist taking a quick look -- and I've got to think this isn't the correct fellow because it was too easy to find. But for what it's worth, there's a Maurice J. Herzog, b. 21 Sept 1912 in Baltimore, MD (seems a little on the old side to be a student pilot, but you never know). Ancestry.com has the details from his January 1941 WWII enlistment. They also have a link to his burial site at the Baltimore National Cemetery (d. 26 Sept 1955, buried 30 Sept 1955). If you back up in time, you can find him in the census in 1920 and 1930 (in 1930, he's listed as Morris and is with his grandparents). I took a quick look at the online Maryland death index for Baltimore and found 2 Herzog's in 1955, but neither is Maurice, so it appears that he either died elsewhere in Maryland or in another place altogether (or perhaps his surname is somehow distorted in his death record). Again, I would think these fellow would have checked out this Maurice Herzog, but I share it on the long shot that they didn't.

Take care,
Megan

Chris

I've passed your findings along, with links to the cemetery listing and enlistment record. I hadn't even checked the NARA site, assuming that they would already have checked there. But if this is not the right Maurice Herzog, why wouldn't they have warned people of this in their query?

Who knows, maybe you solved their four-year mystery in less than a hour.

Randy Seaver

I was going to do a little search and then make a smart astronaut comment, but then thought, no I'll check out the Comments first.

Excellent job, Megan!

Are these guys Baird and Mireles government workers, or professional genies, or just guys looking for a drinking party in Mexico?

Cheers -- Randy

Chris

The search is still on. They say that they've ruled out the Maurice from Baltimore, and that their guy was born about 1921-22.

Katie

Probably nothing, but I have Herzog/Hertzog ancestors from Germany who immigrated to Cambria County, PA. It's possible he's related to them.

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