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360th Service Group
312th BG c1944
|Pilot 2nd Lt. Robert E. Knobloch, O-826365 (MIA / KIA, BR) Pittsburgh, PA
Gunner SSgt John D. Baker, 15063204 (MIA / KIA, BR) Marion County, IN
Crashed November 21, 1944 at 9:35am
Built by Douglas. Delivered to the U. S. Army Air Force (USAAF) as A-20G-25-DO Havoc serial number 43-9419. Disassembled and shipped overseas to the South West Pacific Area (SWPA) and reassembled.
Assigned to the 5th Air Force, 417th Bombardment Group. On March 20, 1944 assigned to the 312th Bombardment Group, 389th Bombardment Squadron. Assigned to pilot Valentine. Nicknamed "Oh Please!" with tail letter "J". Later, assigned to the Far East Air Force - Combat Replacement Training Center (FEAF - CRTC) 360th Service Squadron.
On November 21, 1944 at 7:45am took off from Nadzab Airfield (Nadzab No. 1) piloted by 2nd Lt. Robert E. Knobloch with gunner SSgt John D. Baker armed with 300 pound bombs as one of six A-20s on a training flight to attack a troop concentration near Maprik inland from Wewak.
Over the target at 9:30am, this A-20 was flying at low level at tree top height when the pilot lost control and the aircraft flipped over and crashed at upside down at a speed of 290 mph and exploded on impact at 9:35am. The exact cause of the crash was unknown. When this aircraft failed to return it was officially declared Missing In Action (MIA).
Recovery of Remains
Postwar, the remains of both crew members were recovered and transported to the United States for permanent burial.
Both crew were officially declared dead the day of the mission. On December 1, 1949 both Knobloch and Baker were buried in a group burial at Grafton National Cemetery at section A row 0 site 3.
NARA World War II Army Enlistment Records - Robert E. Knobloch
NARA World War II Army Enlistment Records - John D. Baker
USAF Serial Number Search Results - A-20G-25-DO Havoc 43-9419
Missing Air Crew Report 15298 (MACR 15298)
Weekly Status and Operations Report (Report for Period 19 November - 25 November  page 1 of 2
"The two crew members aboard are presumed to have been killed (see note in Table V). "
"Table V: Plane was strafing about 2-3 miles east of [Maprik] village when it appeared to go out of control turned over on its back, went in, and burst into flames. No ack ack fire was observed by the other elements of the flight. Cause for loss therefore unknown. For the Commanding Officer Major Howard R. Williams, Adjutant"
PNG Museum Aircraft Status Card - A-20G 43-9419
FindAGrave - Robert E. Knobloch (photo, obituary, grave photo)
FindAGrave - John D. Baker (grave photo)
Rampage of the Roarin' 20's pages 365
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