Ewald Anton Mast was born on 3 December 1922 in Ottersweiler, Germany and arrived in America aboard the “Deutschland” on 14 October 1929. He was the son of Albert and Rosa Mast. Ewald graduated from Westerly High School, Westerly, Rhode Island in 1940 and entered Rhode Island State College (RISC) in September 1940 with the class of 1944 majoring in Chemistry. He participated in the Army ROTC program while a student at RISC. Ewald left college during his sophomore year and enlisted in the U.S. Army Air Forces on 30 January 1942.
Ewald had officer’s qualifications and had obtained a private pilot’s license while in college; however, he was disqualified for flight training because he was foreign born. Private Ewald A. Mast graduated from the five-week U.S. Army Air Force Basic Training at Keesler Field, Biloxi, Mississippi and the six-week Aerial Gunnery School, Harlingen Army Air Field, Harlingen, Texas where he was awarded his “Gunners Wings” upon graduation on 30 December 1942. Gunnery practice was carried out by having the student’s fire at a sleeve target towed by a single-engine AT-6 Texan plane.
Private Mast was assigned to the 425th Bomber Squadron, 308th Bomber Group, 14th Army Air Force, Livchow Airfield, China. The 425th Bomber Squadron, 308th Bomber Group served in the Burma Theater and flew bombing missions over the South China Sea in B-24 Liberators. On 31 August 1944, Staff Sergeant Mast was the Engineer on his B-24 Liberator which was given a special combat mission to bomb Japanese ships which operated out of Takao Harbor, Taiwan. Taiwan was a colony of Japan from 1895 until the war ended in 1945. His plane was intercepted by a flight of A6M Japanese Zeros and shot down by the enemy aircraft, sending it crashing into the sea after it caught on fire in the sky.
Sergeant Mast and four others were able to bail out before the plane crashed into the sea. Two parachuting airmen were fired upon as they descended, one of them after he had already landed in the water. Sadly, none of the crew of twelve airman were ever seen again. A search team found no trace of them the next day, and all were declared Killed in Action. Staff Sergeant Ewald Anton Mast, U.S. Army Air Forces, along with the other members of the crew of B-24 Liberator, Aircraft #44-40783 are listed on Tables of the Missing at Manila-American Cemetery in the Philippines.
Staff Sergeant Ewald Anton Mast was cited for Gallantry in Action and awarded the Purple Heart and the Air Medal (Posthumously). At the World War II monument in North Stonington, Connecticut, on Armistice Day 1948, Ewald’s father had a large carved ice monument placed in front of it. The ice carving included a jardinière of ice filled with flowers on both sides; and across the top were carved the words “God bless ‘em,” in honor of his son Ewald whose name is on the plaque.
Staff Sergeant Ewald Anton Mast, U.S. Army Air Forces, was a hero in defeating the Japanese Forces during World War II. He is another son of Rhode Island and America who answered the call to duty and gave his life during World War II. He is a heroic member of the “Greatest Generation.”