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  A-24 Dive Bomber Serial Number 41-15819  
5th AF
3rd BG
8th BS

Click For Enlargement
US Army c1940

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James Larronde c1942
Pilot  Captain Virgil A. Schwab, O-023021 (MIA / KIA) NE
Gunner  Sgt. Philip H. Childs, 6971021 (MIA / KIA) Timpson, Texas

Crashed  July 29, 1942
MACR  none

Aircraft History
Built by Douglas. Delivered to the U. S. Army at Savannah, GA on October 21, 1941. Next to PHAD on November 2, 1941. Assigned to Project "X" on January 2, 1942. Disassembled on January 8, 1942 transported with the Pensacola Convoy to Brisbane and reassembled.

Wartime History
Assigned to the 3rd Bombardment Group, 8th Bombardment Squadron. No known nose art or nickname.

Mission History
On July 29, 1942 one of eight A-24s that took off from 7-Mile Drome near Port Moresby piloted by Cassels on a mission to dive bomb Japanese ships off Gona. They were escorted by P-39 Airacobras from the 41st Fighter Squadron flying top cover, and 8th Fighter Group, 80th Fighter Squadron P-39s flying close escort.

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 (shot down), 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 (this aircraft), 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.

Both crew were officially declared dead on December 1, 1945. Both are memorialized on the tablets of the missing at Manila American Cemetery. Schwab has a memorial marker at Hooper Cemetery in Hooper, NE. Childs has a memorial marker at Mount Olive Cemetery in Timpson, TX.

Both earned the Silver Star for prior missions against Lae during April 7-13 and the Purple Heart (posthumously) the mission they were lost.
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - Virgil A. Schwab
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - Philip H. Childs
FIndAGrave - Capt Virgil A Schwab (photo, memorial marker photo)
FindAGrave - Sgt Philip Howell Childs (photo)
FindAGrave - Philip H Childs (memorial marker photo, photo)
PNG Museum Aircraft Status Card - A-24 Dauntless 41-15819
Thanks to Edward Rogers and Larry Hickey for additional information

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Last Updated
February 14, 2020


Tech Info

2 Missing

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