James Brownlee “Jim” Rice was born on November 15, 1917 in Evanston, Illinois. He attended Elm Place School, and was a graduate of the Class of 1937 of Deerfield-Shields High School in Highland Park, IL. His father died just as he entered high school, and it took an extra two years for Jim to graduate. He worked at Wolff-Griffis Hardware on Central Street in downtown Wilmette, IL until entering service in the Army Air Corps, which trained him to be a radio operator.
James served in the 86th Troop Squadron, 437th Troop Carrier Group as a Staff Sergeant during World War II. Radio Operator of the C47 #42-108884 "Clay Pigeon", the crew was engaged in a supply mission when the aircraft was shot down by the German Flak while flying over The Netherlands. The aircraft dove into the ground and crashed in a field in Bladel, The Netherlands. Four crew members were killed; only SSGT Bela Benko survived. SSGT is buried in the Zachary Taylor National Cemetery, Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky, USA. Together in the same grave are 1LT Gilmore, SSGT Golden, 1LT Peterson, SSGT Rice, and 2LT Thomas.
Crew of C47 #42-108884 "Clay Pigeon":
Lt Col Ralph E Lehr, Sr - Pilot and 86th Squadron Commander
Capt Phillip F Uhlenbrock - Co-pilot
1st Lt Edward J Peterson, Jr - Navigator
SSgt James B Rice - Radio Operator
SSgt Bela Benko - crew chief, sole survivor
Source of information: www.findagrave.com, www.baaa-acro.com