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|Pilot 1st Lt. William T. Pearson, O-795445 (MIA
/ KIA) NY
Gunner MSgt Donald N. Gamage, 11050806 (MIA / KIA) MA
Crashed February 15, 1944 at 10:00am
Built by Douglas. Delivered to the U. S. Army Air Force (USAAF) as A-20G-20-DO Havoc serial number 42-86616. Disassembled and shipped overseas to Australia and reassembled.
Assigned to the 5th Air Force, 3rd Bombardment Group, 13th Bombardment Squadron. No known nickname or nose art.
On February 15, 1944 took off from Nadzab Airfield piloted by 1st Lt. William T. Pearson on a low level strike mission against Japanese shipping in Kavieng Harbor off Kavieng.
Over the target, this A-20 was reportedly damaged from the explosion of a bomb released by the proceeding plane. Leaving the area, this A-20 was observed with the right engine on fire and right propeller feathered.
At 10:00am crashed into the sea roughly 35 miles south-southwest of Kavieng. On impact, observed to cartwheel and break into three pieces when making a water landing. The pieces sank within three minutes with no apparent survivors. When this aircraft failed to return it was officially listed as Missing In Action (MIA).
After the crash, other A-20s in the formation circled the crash site twice before departing. Afterwards, PBY "Arkansas Traveler" 08139 landed to search for the downed crew but found no trace of the crew.
Nathan G. Gordon, pilot of PBY "Arkansas Traveler" 08139 recalls:
We dropped a smoke bomb at one end, and another down at the far end of where I wanted to land to judge the wind. We were going to land in between the swells. I made a good landing by power stalling the plane. This meant bring it in really slow and cutting the power so the plane drops out of the sky straight down to land in the shortest distance. When the plane hit the water, the crew reported that some rivets had popped out of the bottom pontoon!
I pulled the plane up so that the guys in the fuselage could investigate. There was no sign of the crew, they must have been dead or drowned. We found some debris - oil, dye marker two life jackets and a half inflated raft."
Feb 15, 1944
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