Sunday, April 23, 2017

Photo Sought for Tarawa MIA Carl M. Shaffer

A photograph of a Pottstown soldier who was killed in the Pacific during World War II is being sought by a foundation trying to identify remains.

Carl M. Shaffer was born pon Feb. 21, 1921 in Pottstown to Herbert Donnell Shaffer and Katherine K. Shaffer, according to the Chief Rick Stone and Family Charitable Foundation, which is seeking a photograph of him as part of its Tarawa Unknowns project.

The foundation says Shaffer was killed in the battle of Tarawa but his remains were never recovered or identified. He is currently an MIA from that action. 

One of the foundation’s missions is to help find, recover, and identify missing American servicemen and women from World War II and return them home to their families.

Shaffer married Helen E. Fox, also of Pottstown, and both attended Pottstown High School. Carl joined the U.S. Army Air Corps prior to September 1942 and was promoted to Staff Sergeant. 

He was killed on Jan. 21, 1944.

At the present time, the foundation's investigators and researchers are in need of a facial photograph of Staff Sgt. Shaffer to utilize a new computerized program which compares the cranial images of remains recovered on the battlefield with a pre-mortem facial photograph of a most likely match.

The foundation has found many references to Staff Sergeant Shaffer in the on-line versions of the local newspaper but no photographs. There is even a reference in a 1959 edition of the paper to something known as “Pottstown Portraits” which the article stated included a photo of Staff Sergeant Shaffer. Unfortunately, no photo can be found attendant to the article.

Any photograph of Shaffer would be helpful.

Do you know him? Do you have a photo?

You can contact the foundation through their web site -- or contact John Armato at the Pottstown School District at 484-256-7491.


  1. Evan, we found a good picture of Carl Shaffer at the Pottstown Historical Society. We have copies of the old Pottstown on Parade magazines, they featured pictures of men from Pottstown killed in WWII. I'll make sure to contact either John Armato or the organization. Thanks, Laura Groth Pottstown Historical Society.

    1. Sp pleased to hear it.
      Thanks for tour help.

  2. Good afternoon Ms. Groth,

    We would greatly appreciate it if you could scan and email us any and all photos that you may have of SSGT Shaffer.

    Thank you for your support of our efforts.

    Our email address

    Best wishes,

    The Board of Directors
    The Chief Rick Stone and Family Charitable Foundation

  3. Hi, Evan, just tried to email you and John Armato, but evidently don't have a current address for you. Now that I'm here, I see that I can email the Chief Rick Stone Foundation directly also.

    I have a group photo from Grace Lutheran Church from Easter 1936 that may have Carl Shaffer in it. (I scanned photos from the Historical Society for the Legendary Locals book, but didn't use all of them.) According to, Mr. Shaffer and his wife, Helen Fox, both grew up on Charlotte Street nearby and were married at Grace Lutheran, so I'm assuming they were church members. The photo from 1936 looks like it may be of a choir or youth group. Once the Chief Rick Stone and Family Foundation gets the Pottstown on Parade photo, maybe this photo can provide additional corroboration or detail if he is in the photo and can be identified.

    Anyway, I sent all this info and the photo to John Armato and will now send to the Foundation. Hope it helps!

    Sue Repko

  4. I love super sleuthing--there is a Cheryl Detweiler, Council VP at Grace Lutheran. She may be the niece of Carl Shaffer. I have reached out to the gmail account on the churches website to ask her to contact me in regards to Carl Shaffer.