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  B-25D-1 Mitchell Serial Number 41-30561  
USAAF
5th AF
345th BG
500th BS

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
MACR  935

Aircraft History
Built by North American as a model D-20. Delivered to the U. S. Army. Ferried overseas via Hawaii to Australia.

Wartime History
Assigned to the 5th Air Force, 345th Bombardment Group, 500th Bombardment Squadron. No known nose art or nickname. Modified to a strafer version D-1 by the 4th Air Deport at Garbutt Field near Townsville. When lost, engines R-2600-13 serial number 42-77012 and 42-76928.

Mission History
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 St. John's 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.

Memorials
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.

References
PNG Museum Aircraft Status Card - B-25C Mitchell 41-30561
Warpath Across The Pacific pages 61-62, 64, 91, 366, 392, 416

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Last Updated
February 15, 2014

 

Tech Info
B-25

MIA
POW
5 Prisoners
Executed

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