RAPOZA, DANIEL, Technical Sergeant, # 31299382, USAAF
Daniel Rapoza was born on 22 March 1923 in Fall River, Massachusetts to Jessie Rapoza (1900- ) (Portugal) and Emily (Correia)Rapoza (1901-1987) (Portugal). Siblings included Victor Rapoza (1921-1999), Alice (Rapoza) Medeiros (1926-2006), Virginia R. Rapoza (1929-2008), and Olivia Rapoza (1936-1947).
He enlisted in the USAAF in Boston, Massachusetts, on 24 February 1943. He was trained in the maintenance and function of the mechanical parts of the B-24 Liberator and earned his crewman wings. He was sent overseas to India. On 5 November 1944, a B-24L Liberator, # 44-41440, assigned to 10th Air Force, 7th Bomb Group, 493rd Bomb Squadron, departed the airfield at Pandaveswar, India, on a bombing mission over coordinates 17º 42’ North & 92º 02’ East. All of the crew were killed in the crash of the B-24L. It was last sighted by 1stLt William T. Makovic, 0-696478, 2ndLt John M. Crowley, 0-712085, and 2ndLt George J. MeNamera, 0-869350. 1stLt Makovic reported that at 1840 hours (IST) he last saw Lt. Cheaney’s B-24. Lt. Cheany was at 2,000’ on a course of 190º at about 160 MPH. Makovic was flying parallel to Cheaney and was about 3-4 miles to Cheaney’s right. The weather worsened for a few minutes. It cleared and at the same moment, Lt. Cheaney’s B-24 veered across in front of him at about an 80º angle and disappeared into clouds to Makovic’s right. It was dark and Cheaney had his lights on. Cheaney’s turn was irregular because the flight plan was to continue on course for another 15 minutes before their first turn, which would be left, not right. There was no distress call and nothing appeared abnormal as to Cheaney’s B-24. A search with Capt. Louis A. Butler, Jr., 0-558867, commanding, was by eight planes on 7 November 1944. After recovery, his remains were buried in the Woodlawn National Cemetery, Elmira, Chemung Co., New York (Sec. C, Grave 3283). He was awarded the Air Medal and the Purple Heart.
His brother, Victor Rapoza, born 15 May 1921, served in the USAAF, TSgt, from 31 October 1942 to 12 May 1945. He died on 2 October 1999 and is buried in the Unitarian Church Cemetery, Dighton, Massachusetts.