Francis Kokenge

WWII Death Non Battle

Courier Tribune
8 Sept 1941
page 3

There may be another change at the ACA office if Francis-Kokenge is successful this week in passing the strict physical tests required by the army air corps, Francis wants to enlist and take welding and electrical engineering.

Courier Tribune
May 4, 1942

Francis Kokenge, who had recently been transfered to Harding field, Baton Rouge, La., left Wednesday after spending a week’s furlough with his parents Mr. and Mrs. John Kokenge. He is an aerial mechanic and formerly worked in the Farm bureau office in Seneca.

Courier Tribune
1 Jun 1942
page 2

Francis Kokenge has a 10-day leave from air training at Biloxi, Mississippi.

Des Moines Tribune, 16 Oct 1942

The Minneapolis Star
16 Oct 1942
page 25

Army Names Victims of Transport Crash

Warrensburg, Mo. (AP) The public relations office at this army air base today made public the following list of dead in the crash of a two-motored transport plane yesterday afternoon near Chicago:
Captain C. A. Dafoe, Sedalia, Mo., pilot; Lt. W. Jackson Warrensburg, co-pilot, and Lts. w. A. Cravey, Warrensburg; R. A. Roper, Chicago; P. A. Stenz, Elm Grove, Wis.; W. J. Tichy, Chicago, and O. J. Tompkins, Wascom, Texas and Staff Sgts. Max L. Bybee, Hammond, Ind., Francis A. Kokenge, Seneca, Kans.
The plane had taken off from Warrensburg a short time earlier on a routine training flight.

St. Louis Post-Dispatch
16 Oct 1942
page 2

3 Missourians Among 9 Killed in Army Plane

Transport from Warrensburg, Mo., Crashed while Approaching Chicago Airport

Chicago, Oct. 16 (AP) An Army transport plane crashed and burned within two miles of the Chicago airport yesterday, killing the nine occupants

The plane was on a routine training flight from Warrensburg to Chicago.

Army officers did not disclose details of the crash of the two-motored craft pending an investigation by an Army board of inquiry An inquest was scheduled today and the Coroner said he would seek to impanel a jury of aviation experts for the hearing.

Chicago Tribune
17 Oct 1942
page 22

Army Opens Quiz on Plane Crash that Killed NIne
Scene of Disaster here Kept under guard

An army board of inquiry began an investigation last night of the airplane crash in Thursday’s thick weather which cost the lives of nine occupants of an army transport ship.

Guards kept the curious at a distance from the scene of the wreck near 67th street and Harlem avenue, about two miles southwest of Chicago airport, destination of the plane on its fright from Sedalia, Mo. The board of inquiry was convened by Maj. Clarence Dittman, commanding officer of the army air base at the port, who said the investigation would require several days.
Other members of the board are Capt. Robert M. Monsted and Capt. John H. Eagle of teh Chicago air base.

Courier Tribune
19 October 1942
page 1

Francis Kokenge Killed in Crash of Army Plane
Accident was near a Chicago Airport

Transport was on Routine Flight from Knob Noster, Mo.
Where Kokenge was Stationed, Nine were killed

The Seneca community lost its second youth in World War II birthday when an army air-transport crashed and urned near Chicago, killing its nine occupants, among them Staff Sergeant Francis Kokenge the son of Mr. and Mrs. John Kokenge who live south of Seneca.

The plane was stated to have been on routine flight from Knob Noster, Mo. to Chicago. It fell about two miles west of the Municipal airport at Chicago and burned.

A man working in the vicinity said he heard the sound of a plane passing over at low altitude and then a sharp explosion. The area army public relations office said an arm board of inquire would be called to determine the cause of the accident.

Persons in the area heard the radio news of the crash Thursday night but at that time names of the men were not given. They were made public Friday. The Kokenge family was notified Thursday night.

Sergeant Kokenge was attached to the Sedalia airport near Warrensburg, Mo. He was an air mechanic. His family has not learned any more details of the accident than were given in the papers but they believe the trip to Chicago may have been part of a flight planned to New York. Francis had just made his staff sergeant’s rating a few weeks ago.

Francis was a graduate of the Seneca public high school and was a football player. He worked for two years in the Farm Bureau ACA office and then a little over a year ago enlisted in the air corps. To say he was one of the finest young men of the community is no exaggeration. He was a clean, friendly quiet and hardworking youth, and his promotions in the army show he was doing well in it, too. Francis liked the air mechanic work.

The funeral was planned for this morning, and the mass was offered at 10:00 by the Rev .Matthew Hall, O.S.B. The body was expected to arrive yesterday but by later report, would not reach St. Joseph until sometime today. The Lauer Funeral car is at St. Joseph as htis is written. At 2:30 or later, if there is delay, Father Basil Finken, O.S.B. will give a sermon preceding the burial.

Francis leaves his parents, Mr. and Mrs. John Kokenge, and four brothers and two sisters. Leander is in the army air corps, stationed at Big Springs, Texas. He was able to come home for the service, arriving here yesterday. A sister, Mrs. Ralph Rosengarten, and her husband, Joplin, Mo., also came to be with the family. The other brothers and sister are Robert, John, Max and Mary, of the home.

Courier Tribune
Oct 22, 1942
page 1

Pay Tribute to Sgt. F. A. Kokenge

Four fellow sergeants Attend Service HEre

Four fellow-sergeants, close friends with whom he spent many happy hours, were chosen to attend the funeral services of Staff Sergeant Francis Kokenge Monday. Francis had a birthday October 3rd, two of the other sergeants recently. Sergeant Paul J. Warkolla was delegated by the war department to go form Warrensburg to Chicago to stand guard and accompany the body to Seneca for burial. Sergeant Louis Parkinson, Sergeant Roy Evans and Staff Sergeant Paul Grashan came direct form Warrensburg to attend the funeral.

Staff Sergeant Francis Kokenge son of Mr. and Mrs. John Kokenge, was killed Thursday in a flight from the Sedalia airport at Warrensburg to Chicago, the plane crashing near the Chicago municipal airport. A heavy fog and high tension wires are believed to be contributed to the accident. Nine enlisted men lost their lives. Francis was crushed but not burned.

The requiem mass was read by Rev. Matthew Hall O.S.B. at Sts. Peter and Paul church Monday morning. The church was filled with sympathizing relatives and friends. The body did not arrive until early afternoon, when it was taken to the church for absolution. Rev. Father Basil Finken O.S.B. gave a sermon. At the graveside in Sts. Peter and Paul church, the U.S. flag covering the casket, was presented to the mother by Sergeant Warkolla. Earle W. Taylor Post American Legion firing squad gave the farewell salute and Bill SPringer and Clayton Huerter of the Seneca band, sounded “Taps.” The pallbearers were cousins: Leonard Lohman, Donald Deters, Albert Kokenge, Raymond Kokenge, Emmet Sperfslage and Joe Enneking Jr.

Among relatives who attended were Mr. and Mrs. Ralph Rosengarten, Joplin, Mo.; Private first class Leander Kokenge, Big Springs, Texas; Mr. and Mrs. Fred Gamper, Jr., and family, Hiawatha; Mr. and Mrs. Tony Kokenge, Mr. and Mrs. Henry Kokenge, Maple River, Iowa; Mr ans Mrs. Joe Ebner, Boone, Iowa; Mrs. John Ebner, Heron Lake, Minnesota; Mrs. Anton Kokenge, grandmother and Mrs. Henry Bernholtz ad son LaVerne, Carroll, Iowa; Mr. and Mrs. Henry Deters, Axtell; Mr. and Mrs. Henry Spersflage, Oneida and Mr. and Mrs. Joe Enneking, Kelly.