Ira Leighton Metzker, Jr.
Ira Leighton Metzker, Jr., Staff Sgt., 37222562, Killed In Action.
(CCVM, DJHSP, WWII HL) Leighton Metzker Missing in Action
Was Gunner on Bomber In Raid Over China Territory
Staff Sergeant Leighton Metzker, son of Mr. and Mrs. Ira Metzker of Anthony but formerly of Comanche county, on September 1 was reported missing in action since August 24, the date of a big raid over Japanese-held territory by the U.S. 14th Air Force.
Sgt. Metzker was born on the Biddle Ranch southeast of Coldwater on December 19, 1917, and was graduated from the Wilmore high school in May, 1935. He was an excellent student and even as a youth displayed considerable talent as a writer of poetic verse. He moved with his parents to Arkansas in 1939 and after a few months there they moved to Anthony, Kans., where they continue to make their home.
Leighton worked for two years at the Riley Canaan service station in Anthony, and later opened a cycle repair shop there. In June, 1941, he went to Wichita, working for an oil company, and later as a painter at the Boeing aircraft factory.
Three or four years ago Leighton tried to enlist in the navy but was rejected because of one arm which was broken when he was a boy.
On September 21, 1942, he was inducted and qualified for the army air corps. He was sent to Las Vegas, Nev., for his gunnery training and ranked second in his class in marksmanship. He received his radio training at Salt Lake City and completed his training at the bombardier schools at Tucson, Ariz., and Alamagordo, New Mexico.
On May 15, 1943, he was home for a six day furlough, then was sent to Lincoln, Nebr., and later to Homestead, Fla., where he left for overseas duty. He arrived safely in India and from air bases there attacked Japanese positions in China. The last letter received from him dated August 22. He was a member of a Liberator bomber crew.
Leighton was one of this county's keen-minded young men and his friends were many. While living in Anthony one of his poems won recognition and was published in the Anthony Book of Poems which was displayed at the San Francisco World's Fair.
Like other fine American youths today, Sgt. Metzker was totally devoid of any fear and told his parents while on furlough that he was not afraid to die and wanted them to think the same as he did -- that whatever way it turned out, that was the way it was supposed to be. His employer, Mr. Canaan, who grew to know the boy so well, said of him: "He was always the same -- a good Christian boy who lived it every day, at the same time being full of the joy of living. He has bravely given his life for his fellow men. Sgt. Metzker's uncle, Harrison Metzker, was the only Comanche county soldier killed in action in France during World War I, and who was buried there.
He is survived by his parents, one brother, Jack, and two sisters, Roberta and George Ellen, of Anthony, by two aunts, Mrs. Philo Gregg and Mrs. J.M. Cline, and one great-uncle,Wm. H. Metzker, and by a host of other relatives and friends. The sorrowing relatives have the heartfelt sympathy of all in the loss of this splendid soldier.
-- clipping from a Comanche County, Ks, newspaper, from the collection of Ollie Hackney, courtesy of Bobbi (Hackney) Huck.
LIST WICHITA MAN MISSING
IRA L. METZKER
Staff Sergt. Ira L. Metzker, 25, former Boeing employee and son of Mr. and Mrs. Ira Leighton Metzker, of Anthony, Kas., has been reported missing in the Asiatic area since August 24 by the War Department.
A gunner and radio operator on a Liberator bomber, Sergt. Metzker is a graduate of the Wilmore, Kans. high school and entered the service on September 21, 1942.
He attended gunnery school at Las Vegas, Nev., radio school at Salt Lake City, and bombardier schools at Tucson, Ariz. and Alamagordo, N. Mex.
After being assigned to a Liberator bomber, he was sent from a base in Florida to India and was based there before being stationed in China.
The last word received from him was a letter written from China on August 2.
An uncle, H. C. Metzker, resides at 340 N. Francis.
-- newspaper clipping from the collection of Ollie Hackney, courtesy of Bobbi (Hackney) Huck.
Ira Leighton Metzker, Jr. is listed as from Harper County, Kansas, in the
World War II Honor List of Dead and Missing Army and Army Air Forces Personnel from Kansas. (NWCTM-407-WWIICASARMY-KS)
Iris (Brasher) Metzker, mother of Ira Leighton Metzker, Jr.
Frank Leighton and Lucy William (Allen) Metzker, paternal grandparents of Ira Leighton Metzker, Jr.
The above news articles were transcribed for this site by Shirley Brier.
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World War II Casualties