Staff Sergeant (SSG) Harvey Lee Cartrite was a ball turret gunner in a B-17 Flying Fortress with the 412th Bomber Squadron, 95th Bomber Group, Heavy, in April of 1944. The duty was tough and dangerous. The 412th flew bombing missions almost daily to strike at some of the most valuable targets in the German industrial complex. The casualty rate for the aircrews was high. On April 11, 1944, while flying along the Baltic Coast of Germany on the way to attack a target, Cartrite's plane was shot down by German fighter aircraft. None of the crew survived. Cartrite's body was never recovered, so he was officially listed as missing in action. That status has not changed in the last 75 years. Harvey Lee Cartrite's name appears on the Tablet of the Missing at Cambridge American Cemetery in Cambridge England, according to the American Battle Monuments Commission. He was awarded the Purple Heart and the Air Medal for "meritorious achievement while participating in aerial flight." SSG Cartrite was 23 years old when his plane went down.
Thanks to his younger brother, Kent, a long-time farmer north of Sunray, SSG Harvey Lee Cartrite's life and service will be honored in a service on Saturday, November 23, at 2:00 pm in Sunray in the Family Life Center of the Sunray Baptist Church. The memorial service will be performed by members of the Lubbock and Dumas American Legion and Veterans of Foreign Wars. The ceremony will include a 21 gun salute and Taps, the laying of a wreath, a flag presentation, and roll call, among other things. Brother Ken Houston, pastor of the church, will deliver the eulogy. The ceremony is open to the public, and they are invited to attend.