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James P. Larronde
|Pilot Major Floyd W. Rogers, O-022494 C.O. 8th BS (MIA / KIA) AR
Gunner Cpl Robert E. Nichols, 11016184 (MIA / KIA) VT
Crashed July 29, 1942
Inbound to the target, one A-24 aborted the mission, and seven remaining A-24s proceeded to bomb Japanese transports 20 miles north of Gona, 1 1/4 miles form shore. The convoy was protected by A6M2 Zeros from the Tainan Kōkūtai which intercepted the A-24s as they started their dives.
The A-24s dive-bombed in two waves. The first wave: A-24 41-15797 (this aircraft), A-24 piloted by Hill (heavily damaged and force lands at Fall River) and A-24 piloted by Raymond Wilkins (the only aircraft to return to 7-Mile). The second wave: A-24 41-15819, A-24 41-15766, A-24 piloted by Cassels and A-24 piloted by Parker all four were shot down. The Kotoku Maru, was hit once at the No. 5 hatch by the second wave, forcing its troops to unload and leave its cargo undelivered. The Japanese ships all return to Lae.
This A-24 went down after being hit by machine gun fire and several 20mm cannon hits from attacking A6M2 Zeros, causing the plane to catch fire and crash into the sea.
After the mission, Roger's was credited with bombing the Kotoku Maru hitting the No. 5 hatch, but this claim was likely for the A-24s in the second wave.
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