|Pilot 1st Lt. Frank W. Wells, O-665475 (MIA / KIA, BR)
Gunner SSgt Frederick H. Aeilts (MIA / KIA, BR)
Crashed August 11, 1944
Built at Douglas. Delivered to the U. S. Army Air Force (USAAF) as A-20G-25-DO Havoc serial number 43-9392. Disassembled and shipped overseas to Australia and reassembled.
During February 1944, assigned to the 5th Air Force, 312th
Bombardment Group, 386th Bombardment Squadron. No known nose art or nickname, possibly "Hot Box". Tail letter unknown possibly "G". When lost, this A-20 had engines R-2600-23 serial numbers left 43-103693 and right 43-103710. Nose machine gun serial numbers: 675748. 946658. 675789, 676028, 947010, 114975. Top Turret machine gun serial numbers 114977 and 563450.
On August 11, 1944 at 7:30am took off from Hollandia Airfield piloted by 1st Lt. Frank W. Wells on a mission against Utarom. Wells was leading twenty-four A-20 Havocs from the 387th Bombardment Squadron and 388th Bombardment Squadron.
Over the target, the A-20s bombed, strafed barges and three dropped leaflet around Cape Bitsjaroe, southwest of Utarom. The organization of the mission broke down and A-20s attacked targets individually.
After the mission, other crews recalled hearing distress calls from Wells and that he was "going down", another pilot observed this A-20 a half mile away being targeted by anti-aircraft fire, likely from nearby Kaimana Airfield (Utarom).
This A-20 was presumed to have been shot down or ditched into the sea off the target. Last observed by fellow pilots Hogan and Folmar to the west of Kaimana Bay. When this aircraft failed to return it was officially listed as Missing In Action (MIA).
Recovery of Remains
Postwar, the remains of the crew were recovered, details unknown. Both were transported to the United States for permenant burial.
Both crew were officially declared dead the day of the mission. Both are memorialized at Manila American Cemetery on the tablets of the missing. After the recovery of remains, both were buried in a group burial at Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery in a collective grave at section 82, site 83c.
Rampage of the Roarin' 20's pages 55 (photo), 156-157, 349, 355
FindAGrave - Frederick H. Aeilts (grave photo)
FindAGrave - Frank W. Wells (grave photo)
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February 14, 2020