Harrell S. Steed

NAME
Harrell Standard Steed
NICKNAME
Bill
SERVICE NUMBER
263582
UNIT
VMF-214
Pilot
HOME OF RECORD
Milledgeville Road, Augusta, GA
NEXT OF KIN
Wife, Mrs. Eleanor Steed
DATE OF BIRTH
August 8, 1914
in Augusta, GA
ENTERED SERVICE
January 26, 1938
DATE OF LOSS
March 17, 1943
REGION
Solomon Islands
CAMPAIGN / AREA
Russell Islands group
CASUALTY TYPE
Missing
Declared dead March 18, 1945
CIRCUMSTANCES OF LOSS
Technical Sergeant Harrell “Bill” Steed was an enlisted pilot who flew with VMF-214 – the “Black Sheep” – on their first combat tour in the South Pacific.

On 17 March 1943, during his first flight in a war zone, Steed was escorting a DUMBO search plane when he “unaccountably” left the formation and “spun in,” crashing into the sea. He was the squadron’s only fatality on the tour.

Steed was declared dead on 18 March 1945.

INDIVIDUAL DECORATIONS
LAST KNOWN RANK
Technical Sergeant
STATUS OF REMAINS
Not recovered.
MEMORIALS
Manila American Cemetery

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

“The flight was making good progress when disaster struck. Just east of the Russell Islands the last man in the formation suddenly dropped out. Bill Steed, on his first flight since arriving in the South Pacific, inexplicably rolled over, spun in, and vanished beneath the waves. The others searched, but Dave Rankin saw simply ‘a hole in the water’ and that was it…. The entire squadron was disturbed by Steed’s unexplained disappearance, their feelings of loss compounded by troubling questions about what might have happened. No determination could be made, and Steed’s belongings were packed for return to his next of kin. ‘He was a fine young man,’ wrote George Britt later, ‘and his loss was a grievous one for a squadron just starting out in combat.'”

Bruce Gamble, “The Black Sheep: The Definitive History of Marine Fighting Squadron 214 in World War II.”

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