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Jack Siens

 

Date and Place of Birth: 1918 Huntington, WV
Date and Place of Death:    September 10, 1943 off coast of St. Eval, England
Baseball Experience: Minor League
Position: Outfield
Rank: Lieutenant Junior Grade
Military Unit: VB-105 US Navy
Area Served: European Theater of Operations

Jack C. Siens, the son of Mr. and Mrs. Larren Turner Siens, was a hard-hitting outfielder for the Marshall College (now Marshall University) varsity team in Huntington, West Virginia, in the late 1930s. After graduating with a Bachelor of Arts degree in June 1939, he signed with his hometown Huntington Aces of the Class D Mountain State League, and batted a superb .315 with 15 home runs and 91 RBIs in 127 games. There were two significant highlights for Siens during the summer of 1939. June 27 was declared "Jack Siens Night" at the Aces' Long Civic Field, and with 1,200 fans in attendance, he contributed three hits to the 4-1 win over the Williamson Red Birds. On July 9, Siens traveled to Cooperstown, New York, as part of a contingent of minor league players representing 41 leagues of the National Association of Professional Baseball for the 100th anniversary of the birth of the national pastime. Split into two teams, the players put on a game at Doubleday Field as the Cartwrights and the Doubledays. Siens was with the Doubledays squad who won, 9-6.

Siens was sold to the Louisville Colonels of the Class AA American Association in September 1939, and assigned to the Madison Blues of the Class B Three-I League for spring training the following year. After a handful of appearances at the start of the season, he was sent to the Owensboro Oilers of the Class D Kitty League, where he played 62 games and batted .304 with 10 home runs. He spent the second half of the season back with Huntington and hit .318 over 52 games.

Siens joined the Navy in April 1941, and trained as a bomber pilot. He was stationed with Bombing Squadron VB-105 at St. Eval in southwest England, where he flew anti-submarine patrols over the English Channel and the Bay of Biscay in a Consolidated PB4Y-1 Liberator. On September 10, 1943 - with Lieutenant Junior Grade Siens as co-pilot to Lieutenant Junior Grade George W. Brown - they took-off for a simulated fighter attack. At 4,000 feet over the Atlantic Ocean, near St. Eval, Siens' Liberator met up with a friendly fighter to commence the simulated attack runs. Brown began evasive action as planned but lost control of the plane and crashed into the sea. All eight crew members were killed. Siens' body was never recovered. He is memorialized at Cambridge American Cemetery in England, and the West Virginia Veterans Memorial in Charleston.

 

Team

League

Class

G

AB

R

H

2B

3B

HR

RBI

AVG

1939 Huntington Mountain State D 127 483 109 152 23 7 15 91 .315
1940 Madison Three-I B - - - - - - - - -
1940 Owensboro Kitty D 62 276 52 84 18 5 10 43 .304
1940 Huntington Mountain State D 52 195 26 62 10 5 1 34 .318

 

PB4Y-1

A Consolidated PB4Y-1 Liberator. The type Lt.(jg) Jack Siens was flying on September 10, 1943

 

Thanks to James E. Casto and Rebecca Settle of the Local History Room at Cabell County Public Library, Nat DeBruin at Marshall University Libraries, and David Sharland at Dunkeswell Memorial Museum for help with this biography.

Date Added March 4, 2012 Updated July 21, 2016

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