During World War II the U.S. Army Air Forces (AAF) required group echelon units to submit Missing Air Crew Reports (MACRs) to AAF headquarters within two days after an aircraft or air crew failed to return from a combat mission. AAF HQ directed the various group headquarters to submit a MACR for all incidents involving the loss of air crew members during combat operations irrespective of the number of crew members lost. For example, heavy bomber groups would submit a MACR when an aircraft returned from a mission with fewer than the usual ten crew members. In the event an entire crew failed to return, a report was submitted to AAF HQ describing the events prior to the loss of the aircraft. Likewise, fighter groups would submit MACRs when the pilots of single seat aircraft failed to return after a mission.
The information contained in a typical MACR includes a date, time, and location that the crew and aircraft were last seen or reported missing from the formation. Details about aircraft incidents were taken from statements given by crew members from other aircraft flying in the same formation. These statements usually mentioned whether any parachutes were seen to have opened and how many airmen exited the aircraft before it crashed. The names of the missing air crew member(s) were listed by crew position, rank, serial number, and known status such as MIA or POW.
Additional information included in the MACR is the aircraft AAF serial (tail) number; nickname or squadron identification letter; and the type, model, and serial number of the engine(s) or machine gun(s). The name of the assigned air base and numbered unit (squadron, group, or air force) to which an aircraft belonged also appears in the MACR.
The Air Force Historical Support Division (AF/HOH) in Washington, D.C. maintains MACRs on microfiche. Copies of these reports are provided to veterans and their family members upon written request. When submitting requests, write to the following address: AF/HOH, Reference Section, 3 Brookley Avenue, Box 94, Joint Base Anacostia Bolling, Washington, DC 20032-5000. You may also email your request through our "contact us" message box.
The National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) maintains MACRs on 16 mm microfilm and provides copies to public and private researchers for a nominal fee. When submitting requests for MACRs from NARA, write to the following address: NARA/NNR2, 8601 Adelphi Road, College Park, MD 20740-6001 or call 301-713-7250 ext. 382.
The Air Force Historical Research Agency (AFHRA) at Maxwell AFB, AL may also be of assistance to private and professional researchers trying to locate MACRs.
The AFHRA has several numerical listings compiled from the AAF unit records which may be used to find the corresponding MACR number for crew members failing to return from combat missions when the following information is known: aircraft serial number and type, date when aircrew became missing, assigned unit, machine gun serial number(s), or engine serial number(s).
These numerical listings are also available for purchase on 16 mm microfilm from the AFHRA. When requesting microfilm, use the following address:
600 Chennault Circle
Maxwell AFB, AL 36112-6424.
Consider these guidelines when placing orders for microfilm from AFHRA:
1. AFHRA call number 134.67-1562, microfilm roll A1114, frames 559 to 1137 contain information arranged
numerically by Army Air Forces aircraft serial number.
2. AFHRA call number 134.67-1562A, microfilm roll A1114, frames 1140 to 1479 contain information arranged chronologically by the date when the aircrew member(s) became missing.
3. AFHRA call number 134.67-1562B, microfilm rolls A1114 and A1115 contain information arranged numerically by machine gun serial numbers for European and Mediterranean Theaters of Operations.
a. Volume 1 (serials 648229 to 686963), roll A1114, frames 1482 to 1502.
b. Volume 2 (serials 686968 to 1085953), roll A1115, frames 4 to 755.
c. Volume 3 (serials 1152628 to 1992444), roll A1115, frames 758 to 1394.
4. AFHRA call number 134.67-1562C, microfilm roll A1115, frames 1397 to 1720 contain information arranged in three miscellaneous parts.
Alpha-numerical listing by aircraft type, model, and series.
Numerically by machine gun serial numbers (1087948 to 1090850).
Numerically by engine serial numbers (6263 to 13277).
5. AFHRA call number 134.67-1585, microfilm roll A1116, frames 4 to 651 contain information arranged numerically by engine serial numbers for European and Mediterranean Theaters of Operations.