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  A-20G-40-DO "Florida Gator" Serial Number 43-21379 Tail W
5th AF
312th BG
388th BS

Pilot  Major William S. Pagh, O-367251 (MIA / KIA) Fort Myers, FL
Gunner  Sgt. Leonard E. Zelasko, 16146933 (MIA / KIA) Chicago, IL

Crashed  August 11, 1944
MACR  none

Aircraft History
Built at Douglas. Constructors Number 21026. Delivered to the U. S. Air Force (USAAF) as A-20G-40-DO Havoc Serial Number 43-21379. Disassembled and shipped overseas to the South West Pacific Area (SWPA) and resassembled.

Wartime History
On August 10, 1944 assigned to the 312th Bombardment Group, 388th Bombardment Squadron. Assigned to pilot Major William S. Pagh with Crew chief J. S. Wray. Nicknamed it "Florida Gator" after Pagh's home state of Florida with the nose art of an aligator.

Mission History
On August 11, 1944 took off from Hollandia Airfield at roughly 7:30am on a mission against Utarom. Pagh was leading the strike by 24 aircraft from the 387th BS and 388th BS. Over the target, the organization of the mission broke down and A-20s attacked targets individually.

Pagh attacked two barges anchored off Utarom Airfield, Pagh was hit by anti-aircraft fire from a hill at the end of the runway. Other pilots reported the hill looked like a "solid sheet of flames" from anti-aircraft fire. Damaged in the right engine, this A-20 suddenly lost altitude and cart wheeled into the sea near the target.

Both crew were declared dead the day of the mission. Both are memorialized at Manila American Cemetery on the tablets of the missing.

Pagh was posthumously promoted to the rank of Lieutenant Colonel. He earned the Distinguished Flying Cross, Air Medal with Oak Leaf Cluster and Purple Heart, posthumously.

Zelasko earned the Air Medal and Purple Heart, posthumously.

NARA World War II Army Enlistment Records - Leonard E. Zelasko
USAF Serial Number Search Results - A-20G-40-DO Havoc 43-21379
"21379 (312th BG, 387th BS) shot down over Utarom, Dutch New Guinea Aug 11, 1944"
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - William S. Pagh
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - Leonard E. Zelasko
FindAGrave - LtCol William Stanley Pagh (obituary, tablets of the missing)
FindAGrave - Sgt Leonard E Zelasko (tablets of the missing photo)
Rampage of the Roarin' 20s (2009) pages 205 (profile #15), 213, 156, 349, 384-385

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Last Updated
February 18, 2020


Tech Info

2 Missing
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