|Pilot 2nd Lt. Donald Stookey (POW, executed March 3/4, 1944)
Co-Pilot Lt. Herschel D. Evans (POW, executed March 3/4, 1944)
Engineer S/Sgt Ernest S Roberts, 18069713 (POW, executed) CO
Radio S/Sgt Max Gerstein, 35355778 (POW, executed) IN
Gunner S/Sgt Thomas H Laird, 34444568 (POW, executed) GA
Ditched October 16, 1943
Built by North American as a model D-20. Assigned to the 345th Bombardment Group, 500th Bombardment Squadron. No known nose art or nickname. Modified to a strafer version D-1 at Townsville.
Took off from 17 Mile Drome (Durand) near Port Moresby on a mission over Wewak. Over the target, hit by anti-aircraft fire in the right engine and ditched 3 miles north-east off Cape Moem, remaining afloat for 90 seconds and allowing the crew to escape. Five crew were last seen in life rafts by circling B-25s and P-38s that dropped them rafts.
Fates of the Crew
The entire crew was captured by the Japanese Navy. The enlisted men were executed, possibly on Kairiru Island where they were bayoneted to death or beheaded at the Catholic Mission.
Stookey and Evans were transported to Rabaul and detained as prisoners. On March 3/4, 1944, both were executed at Tunnel Hill or otherwise died or killed.
Recovery of Remains
Postwar, their remains were recovered and transported to to the United States aboard USAT Albert M. Boe.
Stookey and Evans are buried at Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery at section 78 grave 930-934 buried on March 21, 1950. The other crew members Roberts, Gerstein and Laird were officially declared dead on January 22, 1946 and are memorialized on the tablets of the missing at Manila American Cemetery.
Warpath Across The Pacific
pages 61-62, 64, 91, 366, 392, 416
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March 5, 2013
MIA / POW