Pacific Wrecks
Pacific Wrecks    
  Missing In Action (MIA) Prisoners Of War (POW) Unexploded Ordnance (UXO)  
Chronology Locations Aircraft Ships Submit Info How You Can Help Donate
 
  A-20G-30-DO Havoc Serial Number 43-9488 Tail V
USAAF
5th AF
417th BG
675th BS

Pilot  2nd Lt. Michael Jovanovich (survived) St. Louis, MN
Gunner  Sgt Jack T. Barr, 33290880 (MIA / KIA) Trauger, PA
Gunner  Sgt Melvin G. Cope, 37225338 (MIA / KIA) Irving, KS

Ditched  April 16, 1944 at 4:55pm
MACR  none

Aircraft History
Built at Douglas. Delivered to the U. S. Army Air Force (USAAF) as A-20G-30-DO serial number 43-9488. Disassembled ans shipped overseas to the South West Pacific Area (SWPA) and reassembled.

Wartime History
Assigned to the 5th Air Force, 417th Bombardment Group "Sky Lancers" (417th BG), 675th Bombardment Squadron. No known nose art or nickname. Tail letter V.

Mission History
On April 16, 1944 took off from Saidor Airfield piloted by 2nd Lt. Michael Jovanovich as one of nine A-20s led by Captain Alfred Moser (C. O. 675th BS) on a low level strike mission against Hollandia. Over the target, several of the nose .50 caliber machine guns failed to fire due to faulty solenoid connectors. Returning from the mission, the formation encountered a severe weather front and bad weather. Seeing chaos on the ground at Saidor Airfield from other aircraft that force landed, the nine A-20s from the 675th Bombardment Squadron proceeded to Finschafen Airfield, including this aircraft.

Out of fuel, Jovanovich climbed to 1,500' and gave his gunners the option of bailing out, but both chose to stay with the plane. Prior to landing, Jovanovich feathered both propellers and opened the canopy. This A-20 ditched into medium swells approximately 35 miles northwest of Finschafen. Afterwards, this mission was dubbed "Black Sunday".

Fates of the Crew
Jovanovich was unhurt and managed to exit and inflate his life raft. Returning to the aircraft, Jovanovich tried to open the gunner's hatch but was unable to do so before the plane sank after roughly 45 seconds afloat. His two gunners were presumed to have drowned inside the aircraft and went down with it as it sank.

Rescue
Soon afterwards, Jovanovich was rescued by a U. S. Navy (USN) PT Boat and transported to Fischafen.

Memorials
Both gunners were officially declared dead the day of the mission. Both earned the Air Medal and Purple Heart, posthumously. Both are memorialized at Manila American Cemetery on the tablets of the missing.

References
NARA World War II Army Enlistment Records - Michael Jovanovich

USAF Serial Number Search Results - A-20G-30-DO Havoc 43-9488

"9488 (417th BG, 675th BS) in accident Apr 16, 1944 during infamous Black Sunday mission to Hollanida in landing it sea. 2 KIA, 1 rescued."
PNG Museum Aircraft Status Card - A-20G Havoc 43-9488
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - Jack T. Barr
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - Melvin G. Cope
FindAGrave - Sgt Jack T Barr (tablets of the missing photo)
FindAGrave - SSgt Melvin Gerold Cope (photo, obituary, tablets of the missing photo)
FindAGrave - Melvin Gerold Cope (photo, memorial marker photo)
Black Sunday (2000) by Michael Claringbould pages 75, 97

Contribute Information
Are you a relative or associated with any person mentioned?
Do you have photos or additional information to add?

Last Updated
February 14, 2020

 

Tech Info
A-20

MIA
MIA
2 Missing
  Discussion Forum Daily Updates Reviews Museums Interviews & Oral Histories  
 
Pacific Wrecks Inc. All rights reserved.
Donate Now Facebook Twitter YouTube Instagram