Lost Hero




BORN DEC. 28, 1914


LOST JUNE 1, 1945


Standing tall in the St. Francis Cemetery in Phoenix, Arizona, is the marble cenotaph memorializing the life and service of Lieutenant Peter E. Coury, who was an airman in World War II serving in the Pacific Theater.  Peter Coury was the son of Elias and Margarita Coury, born December 28, 1914, in Sonora, Arizona.

Coury was assigned to the 676th Bombardment Squadron, which was a unit assigned to the 444th Bombardment Group.  The 676th Bombardment Squadron began their training at the Davis-Monthan Field, Tucson, Arizona, on March 1, 1943, then to Great Bend Army Air Field, in Kansas from August 1943 to March of 1944.

The 676th first trained with the Consolidated B-24 Liberator, then the B-17 Flying Fortress in 1943 to 1944.  They then flew the YB-29 and finally the Boeing B-29 Superfortress aircraft.

Boeing B-29 Superfortress

Their first combat missions were staged from the Charra Airfield in Purulia, West Bengla, India, in the summer of 1944 where they bombed railroad yards at Bangkok, Thailand.   In the spring of 1945, the 444th moved to a West Field Airbase on Tinian Island, one of the three Northern Mariana Islands, to stage operations against the island of Japan.  The 676th Bombardment Squadron engaged in heavy bombardment operations against Japan to destroy their military and industrial capabilities.

On June 1, 1945, Lieutenant Peter Coury was declared “Missing In Action over Pacific aboard U.S. Army Air Corps B-29-35-BW Superfortress #42-24524, named “Super Mouse.” Nine other crewmembers also MIA, while returning from mission over Osaka, Japan.”  Along with his cenotaph in the St. Francis Cemetery at Phoenix, Arizona, his name also appears on the Tablets of the Missing at the Honolulu Memorial in Honolulu, Hawaii.

Army Air Force Engineer’s Wing

Carved into the marble in bas-relief on the gravestone’s flanks are shields each with a Latin cross, symbolizing the Christian faith.  Also on the cenotaph are the Army Air Force Flight Engineer’s Wing and the B-29 Superfortress in which he flew those heroic missions.

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