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Larronde March 1942
|Pilot 2nd Lt. Henry G. Swartz, O-430040 (MIA / KIA) Terry, MO
Gunner Sgt. John J. Stephenson, 19019475 (MIA / KIA) Forsyth, MO
MIA April 7, 1942
Built by Douglas. Constructors Number 931. Delivered to the U. S. Army Air Force (USAAF) as A-24 Dive Bomber serial number 41-15798. On October 21, 1941 at Savannah, GA. On January 2, 1942 assigned to Project "X". On January 7, 1942 at McCellan Airfield. On January 8, 1942 disassembled disassembled then shipped overseas to "Sumac" Australia and reassembled.
Assigned to the 5th Air Force (5th AF), 3rd Bombardment Group (3rd BG), 8th Bombardment Squadron (8th BS). This aircraft had an unknown tail code (two digits). No known nose art or nickname.
On April 7, 1942 took off from 7-Mile Drome near Port Moresby piloted by 2nd Lt. Henry G. Swartz as one of nine A-24 Dive Bombers led by 1st Lt. Robert G. Ruegg on a bombing mission against Lae. This was 2nd Lt. Swartz's first combat mission. Inbound to the target, the A-24's were escorted by six Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) No. 75 Squadron P-40E Kittyhawks.
Over Lae, this A-24 was last seen diving on an anti-aircraft gun position. None of the formation saw this aircraft going down or crash. It seems almost certain that Swartz was shot down by intercepting A6M2 Zeros. When this aircraft failed to return it was officially listed as Missing In Action (MIA).
Both crew are memorialized at Manila American Cemetery on the tablets of the missing.
Swartz was officially declared dead on December 17, 1945. He earned the Silver Star and Purple Heart, posthumously. He also has a memorial marker at Custer County Cemetery in Miles City, MT.
Stephenson was officially declared dead on November 19, 1945. He earned the Silver Star and Purple Heart, posthumously. He also has a memorial marker at Forsyth Cemetery in Forsyth, MT.
Are you a relative of Swartz or Stephenson? Contact Us.
NARA World War II Army Enlistment Records - Henry G. Swartz
USAF Serial Number Search Results - A-24-DE Dauntless 41-15798
"USAAF version of SBD-3 / 15798 (3rd BG, 8th BS) shot down 20 mi N of Buna Jul 29, 1942. Pilot KIA"
PNG Museum Aircraft Status Card - A-24 Dauntless piloted by Swartz
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - Henry G. Swartz
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - John J. Stephenson
FindAGrave - Henry George “Heinie” Swartz, Jr (tablets of the missing photo)
FindAGrave - Henry George “Heinie” Swartz, Jr (photo, memorial marker photo)
FindAGrave - Sgt John J Stephenson (tablets of the missing photo)
FindAGrave - John J Stephenson (memorial marker photo)
Thanks to Edward Rogers for additional information
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