John Oliver (Jay) Buslee died September 28, 1944 when the B-17 he was piloting, Lead Banana, crashed after a mid-air collision with B-17 Lazy Daisy. His parents were notified shortly thereafter that he was missing in action, but it would be another four months before they received news that he had died in the collision.
Mr. and Mrs. Buslee eventually received Jay’s possessions, only to find that the Air Force ring they had given him as a gift was not among the items returned to them. He must have been wearing the ring on his last mission, but it was not recovered with his body as far as they knew.
Several years later, in 1948, Jay’s ring surfaced. At the time, my dad, George Edwin Farrar, the waist gunner and sole survivor on Buslee’s aircraft, was working for Mr. Buslee and living in the Buslee home. I believe in that situation, he would have been aware of the ring’s discovery, but it’s not anything he ever mentioned to me. He was a traveling salesman and it was the same year he met and courted my mother, and it probably wasn’t as important of a discovery to him as it was to Mr. and Mrs. Buslee.
The surfacing of the ring was one thing. Getting the ring back was another. Distance and politics and the state of the world in the 1940’s made this a very difficult task.
Over the next several weeks I will publish a collection of letters shared with me by John Dale Kielhofer, Jay Buslee’s nephew, and share with you The Story of the Ring.
© Cindy Farrar Bryan and The Arrowhead Club, 2014