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Airmen honor fallen hero
The honor guard from Fairchild Air Force Base, Wash., presents the American flag to Amy Berger, Staff Sgt. Cliffor Mast’s next of kin, on Sept. 18, 2010, at Fairchild. Sergeant Mast went missing in action after the aircraft he was on got shot down by enemy fire July 4, 1952. (U.S. Air Force Photo/ Airman 1st Class Natasha E. Stannard)
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Fairchild Airmen honor fallen MIA hero

Posted 11/2/2010   Updated 11/4/2010 Email story   Print story


by Airman 1st Class Natasha E. Stannard
92 Air Refueling Wing Public affairs

11/2/2010 - FAIRCHILD AIR FORCE BASE, Wash.  -- Fairchild Airmen attended a special memorial service for Staff Sgt. Clifford Henry Mast on Sept. 18 at Riverside Memorial Park. Sergeant Mast, RB-29 gunner with the 91st Strategic Reconnaissance Squadron, went MIA when his RB-29 Superfortress was shot down by enemy fire in 1952 during the Korean War.

Amy Berger, Sergeant Mast's next of Kin, asked for Fairchild Airmen to attend and help her put on the ceremony to honor Sergeant Mast.

Sergeant Mast enlisted in the Air Force Oct. 8, 1951 at Fairchild Air Force Base. He joined the 91st Strategic Reconnaissance Squadron, the "Demon Chasers," in May 1952. He shipped out to Japan May 14 of that year.

He was reported as missing in action on July 4, 1952.

"Clifford turned 25 years old and had his picture taken standing at Fairchild Air Force Base, showing the stripes on his sleeve," Mrs. Berger said. "It was the last picture taken of him.

During the Korean War, his mission with the 91st included night reconnaissance flights as an aerial gunner.

"In total, he flew 12 flights with the 91st from May until July 4th," Mrs. Berger said.

His parents purchased a niche with three urns, two of the urns are occupied by his parents, at Riverside Memorial Cemetery, she said.

"The third is Clifford's," Mrs. Berger said. "Though Clifford's urn is empty, I at least know his parents never gave up hope that he would be found."

Mrs. Berger also never gave up hope. From the day she found a POW bracelet from the Vietnam war, at the age of 17, she began searching for answers, she said

"Clifford has been the number one priority in my life since I was 17," she said. "Clifford has always had my full devotion and always will."

Upon finding the bracelet, she began writing the Air Force weekly to find out if his remains had ever been found. Six years later, she read a newspaper article, which had a list of 25 names. These were the names of servicemembers missing in action from the Korean War, she said.

"Without needing the confirmation, I already knew inside that Clifford was among the names," she said. "The Air Force confirmed with me."

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