Jeremiah J. Reinburg

NAME
Jeremiah Joseph Reinburg
NICKNAME
Jerry
SERVICE NUMBER
O-13411
UNIT
VMF-214
Pilot
HOME OF RECORD
218 North Wilton Street, Philadelphia, PA
NEXT OF KIN
Mother, Mrs. Elizabeth A. Reinburg
DATE OF BIRTH
February 8, 1919
ENTERED SERVICE
August 8, 1941
DATE OF LOSS
January 12, 1943
REGION
Hawaiian Islands
CAMPAIGN / AREA
Oahu, Barber’s Point
CASUALTY TYPE
Non-Battle Death
CIRCUMSTANCES OF LOSS
On 12 January 1943, during a training exercise in Hawaii, Second Lieutenant Reinburg’s aircraft collided with one flown by his squadronmate, Second Lieutenant John R. Fidler. Both pilots jumped from their stricken aircraft.

Reinburg’s parachute harness failed to hold, and he fell to his death. His remains were not recovered.

INDIVIDUAL DECORATIONS
LAST KNOWN RANK
Second Lieutenant
STATUS OF REMAINS
Not recovered.
MEMORIALS
National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific

Biography:
Coming soon. Contact the webmaster for more information about this Marine.

After completing routine firing runs about five miles out to sea, the pilots began joining up on [George] Britt’s wing for the return trip to Ewa…. With three planes now in formation, Britt looked over his left shoulder just as something went terribly wrong.

Lieutenant Jeremiah J. Reinburg had misjudged his high rate of closure and swooped in too fast beside Fidler, who was stunned to see a whirling propeller in front of his left wing. An instant later came a jarring collision as Reinburg’s plane slammed into Fidler’s. Airfram parts flew in all directions. From his position up forward, Britt was relieved to see two parachutes blossom as both pilots jumped from their stricken fighters….

‘After no more than thirty seconds I noticed that something odd was going on. The chute I was circling was not descending at anywhere near the rate the other was. I circled in for a closer look and saw, to my horror, that the chute harness was empty.’

Britt’s interview with the enlisted plane captain who assisted Reinburg into his aircraft revealed Reinburg had a habit of taxiing away from the flight line without securing the leg straps of his parachute harness. The straps crossed below the crotch and were uncomfortable, but they absorbed much of a parachute’s opening shock. Reinburg had bailed out after the collision, but the unsecured harness was torn from his body when the chute opened. As with most fatal accidents, the pilot’s mistakes caused his own demise. It was a harsh lesson for the others, who then began to cinch their own straps a little tighter.

– Bruce Gamble, The Black Sheep, pp. 31-33.