July 14, 1919 – April 2, 1944 (aged 24)
Second Lieutenant and pilot of the B-24H bomber “Miss Behavin’“
Born in Chicago shortly before the end of World War I, Edward A. Fetting signed up to serve in the Air Corps on April 4, 1942, just a few months after the US entered WWII. He was three months shy of his 23rd birthday and starting at the bottom as a private. According to his enlistment record, he had completed high school, was working in a machine shop, was single, and a lean six-feet tall.
Less than 2 years later, he had reached the rank of second lieutenant and was the commanding pilot, flying a B-24 with a crew of ten (including himself) on a bombing mission over Steyr, Austria. On this last mission on April 2, 1944, his plane was seen crashing and was reported as missing in action. An annotation made in August 1945 on the report marks Lt. Fetting and most of his crew MIA/PDD (Missing in action, presumed dead).
I found an Austrian website that discusses the larger campaign Lt. Fetting was a part of and its role in defeating the Nazis, The aim of the site is to aid in identifying all of the aircraft and crew who were shot down over Austria during the war, compiled using public data from many international sources, to create a single, comprehensive data source of this part of the war. It shows that of Lt. Fetting’s crew, eight including him are listed as DED (officially declared dead), one was found seriously injured but alive by civilians who helped him survive, and the tenth was listed as KIA (killed in action) so perhaps his body was found and repatriated.
So it’s probable this marker is a memorial rather than a gravestone. His mother Mary applied for it in 1952, well after the war, perhaps waiting in hopes of his return alive or at least hoping for a body to bury. I was unable to find any other information on Lt. Fetting or his family from either before or after the war.
On their project information page, the Austrian site says: “The operations claimed heavy losses among the bomber crews. After 1945, Allied authorities went on a search for missing members of their armed forces – a search that often continues to this day.”
RIP Lieutenant Fetting and crew of the “Miss Behavin’” Thank you for your sacrifice.
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