Wagner, Boyd David “Buzz” born 26-10-1916 in Emeigh, Cambria County, Pennsylvania, the son of Boyd M. Wagner and Elizabeth M. Moody Wagner. He grew up in Nanty-Glo, near Johnstown, and studied aeronautical engineering at the University of Pittsburgh for three years before joining the Army Air Corps. He completed flight training in June 1938 and was assigned to duty in the Philippines with the 24th Pursuit Group. He was soon given command of the 17th Pursuit Squadron . He was nicknamed “Buzz” because it was said he could buzz the camouflage off a hangar roof.
Death and burial ground of Wagner, Boyd David “Buzz”.
Wagner was a First Lieutenant commanding the 17th Pursuit Squadron stationed at Nichols Field on December 8, 1941 when the first Japanese air attacks struck the Phillipines. On December 12, Wagner took off in a Curtiss P-40 on a solo reconnaissance mission over Aparri, where he was attacked by Japanese Zero fighter planes. He dove away from the attacking planes and then returned and shot down two of them. He was attacked by more Zeros as he strafed a nearby Japanese airfield and subsequently destroyed two of these planes as well before returning to Clark Field. On a routine flight in a P-40K from Eglin Field, Florida to Maxwell Field, Alabama on 29-11-1942, age 26, Wagner’s plane disappeared. After an extensive search what was left of the P-40 and Wagner’s remains were found almost six weeks later in January 1943, 25 miles east of Eglin. The cause of the crash, if known, was never revealed. After the crash site was found, partial remains of Wagner were found, in 2008 and returned to Johnstown for burial. An estimated 15.000 to 20.000 mourners attended his funeral at Grandview Cemetery in January 1943.