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  B-17E Flying Fortress Serial Number 41-2505  
USAAF
5th AF
19th BG
30th BS

Former Assignments
7th BG
9th BS

Click For Enlargement
Brian Bennett 1986

Click For Enlargement
Evans October 5, 2011
Pilot  1st Lt. Daniel W. Fagen, O-398681 (MIA / KIA, BR) Oklahoma City, OK
Co-Pilot  2nd Lt Robert R. Meyer, Jr., O-416325 (MIA / KIA, BR) AL
Navigator  2nd Lt. Ralph Howard, O-431678 (MIA / KIA, BR) CA
Bombardier  2nd Lt. Jim Sam Grant, O-419265 (MIA / KIA, BR) AR
Crew  
Sgt Joe A. Carter, 6579316 (MIA / KIA, BR) Linn County, OR
Gunner
 Sgt Edward L. Hargrove, 6580643 (MIA / KIA, BR) Imperial County, CA
Gunner
 Sgt Paul A. Reimer, 6580519 (MIA / KIA, BR) Riverside, CA
Gunner
 Sgt Elton J. Rose, 6241916 (MIA / KIA, BR) CA
Crashed  April 25, 1942 at 4:46am
MACR  15500

Aircraft History
Built by Boeing at Seattle. Constructors Number 2316. This was the first B-17E built with a Sperry ball turret and the 113th B-17E model built. On January 14, 1942 delivered to the U.S. Army Air Force (USAAF) as B-17E Flying Fortress serial number 41-2505. When lost, engine serial numbers and .50 caliber machine gun makers and serial numbers not listed in Missing Air Crew Report 15500 (MACR 15500).

Wartime History
Assigned to the 7th Bombardment Group (7th BG), 9th Bombardment Squadron (9th BS). No known nose art or nickname. Flown from the United States via the Africa Route to Java. Afterwards, evacuated to Australia.

On February 10, 1942 assigned to the 19th Bombardment Group (19th BG), 30th Bombardment Squadron (30th BS). No known nose art or nickname.

On April 24, 1942 took off took off from Cloncurry Airfield piloted by 1st Lt. Daniel W. Fagen as one of four B-17s led by Major Montgomery mission that first landed at Garbutt Airfield at Townsville for a briefing and to have bombs loaded. In the middle of the afternoon, took off from Garbutt Airfield and flown northward landing at 7-Mile Drome near Port Moresby in the early evening to avoid Japanese air raids with a mission planned early the next morning.

Mission History
On April 25, 1942 at 3:30am took off from 7-Mile Drome near Port Moresby piloted by 1st Lt. Daniel W. Fagen on a bombing mission against Rabaul. After take off, this bomber was heard circling Port Moresby then heading away. When this bomber failed to return, it was officially listed as Missing In Action (MIA). It was presumed lost over the Coral Sea. In fact, crashed at 4:46am into the southeastern upper slopes of Mount Obree killing the entire crew on impact.

Search

During November 1942 while the searching for C-47 "Flying Dutchman" 41-18564, this B-17 was seen from air, but identity of wreckage was not determined. The aircraft was described as complete from the trailing edge of the wing to the tail.

After the loss of this B-17 the Meyer family offered a reward of one million dollars to find bomber, but were discouraged by U.S. Army's Missing Air Crew Report 15500 that presumed the bomber was lost over the Coral Sea.

During March 1961, the wreck was again spotted from the air during a search for missing Piaggio P.166 "Mount Clarence" VH-PAU.

Wreckage
This B-17 cashed into the southeastern upper slopes of Mount Obree at an elevation of roughly 9,000' killing the entire crew on impact.

On September 2, 1961 a team from U.S. Army consisting of Lt. Joseph Wheeler and Sergeant Henry Paolillo with Australian Patrol Officer (Kiap) David Marsh trekked to the aircraft crash sites reported during the search for Piaggio P.166 "Mount Clarence" VH-PAU. Arriving at this aircraft, the team identified it as B-17E 41-2505 based off serial number "12505" still visible on the tail. Marsh who gave erroneous information that the plane was associated with a B-17 which a war correspondent had bailed out. The team incorrectly concluded the crew bailed out and survived.

During 1984, Bruce Hoy modern history curator from the PNG Museum convinced U.S. Army CILHI that this crash site was worthy of another investigation. With the assistance of Saunom villagers, a helicopter pad was cleared on a ridge above the wreck at an elevation of 11,000'. On June 15, 1986 Bruce Hoy landed at the pad and walked to the crash site to reconfirm the site.

Recovery of Remains
On July 5, 1986 a team from U.S. Army CILHI flew by helicopter to the helipad and trekked to the crash site with an eight man team, including Bruce Hoy from the National Museum and Art Gallery (NMAG) / PNG War Museum. After establishing a camp, the team began clearing the site and mapping the locations of the various parts of the aircraft. By early afternoon, the first portions of remains had been located. Three days were spent in searching the area, during which the remains of four others were located.

On June 19, 1987 a second team from U.S. Army CILHI flew to the crash site and performed a recovery of the remains and located the rest of the crew when the cockpit section was found in the bed of a small stream. Many personal effects were also recovered, including wallets, a camera with spare lenses, knives from Mindanao, and the remains of wrist watches. No dog tags were found. The cockpit clock was stopped at 04:46, confirming the precise time of the crash. The team worked the crash site until July 12, 1987.

The left waist gun .50 caliber machine gun was recovered from the aircraft and the U.S. Army CILHI team member with Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) experience field stripped the weapon and one night and fired the gun over a ridge using ammunition found at the site. Later, this machine gun was flown out aboard a helicopter and donated to the PNG War Museum.

During 1990, the entire crew was officially identified by the Department of Defense (DoD). Three of the crew: Fagen, Hargrove and Reimer could not be individually identified.

Memorials
The entire crew was officially declared dead April 26, 1943. All are memorialized at Manila American Cemetery on the tablets of the missing. After the remains of the crew were recovered, a rosette was added next to each name.

Fagen earned the Air Medal and Purple Heart, posthumously. On November 15, 1990 Fagen was buried at Arlington National Cemetery in a group burial at section 60 site 4072 with Hargrove and Reimer.

Meyer earned the Air Medal and Purple Heart, posthumously. He also is memorialized at the Independent Presbyterian Church in Birmingham, AL on the war memorial. On November 15, 1990 Meyer was buried in Arlington National Cemetery at section 60 site 4069.

Howard earned the Air Medal and Purple Heart, posthumously. He also has a memorial marker at Golden Gate National Cemetery at section MA site 19. On November 15, 1990 Howard was buried in Arlington National Cemetery at section 60 site 4070.

Grant earned the Air Medal and Purple Heart, posthumously. He also has a memorial marker at Grants Chapel Cemetery in Bonnerdale, AR. On November 15, 1990 Grant was buried in Arlington National Cemetery at section 60 site 4071.

Carter earned the Air Medal and Purple Heart, posthumously. On November 15, 1990 Carter was buried in Arlington National Cemetery at section 60 site 4067.

Hargrove earned the Silver Star, Air Medal and Purple Heart, posthumously. On November 15, 1990 Hargrove was buried at Arlington National Cemetery in a group burial at section 60 site 4072 with Fagen and Reimer.

Reimer earned the Silver Star and Purple Heart, posthumously. On November 15, 1990 Reimer was buried at Arlington National Cemetery in a group burial at section 60 site 4072 with Fagen and Hargrove.

Rose earned the Air Medal and Purple Heart, posthumously. On November 15, 1990 Rose was buried in Arlington National Cemetery at section 60 site 4068.

Relatives
Mrs Fagen-Plover (widow of Daniel W. Fagen who remarried after his death)

Douglas Wilcox (nephew of Jim Grant)
"I was present along with other family members at Arlington National Cemetery in the internment of the crew that perished."

References
Reportedly, Grant had dream in 1942 about the name "Owen Stanley Mountains".
NARA World War II Army Enlistment Records - Robert R. Meyer
USAF Serial Number Search Results - B-17E Flying Fortress 41-2505
"2505 delivered Portland Jan 14, 1942. First E-model with Sperry ball turret. Assigned to 7th BG, 9th BS Java. Transferred to 19th BG, 30th BS Feb 10, 1942. Crashed into Mt Obree in New Guinea Apr 25, 1942. 8 KIA. MACR 15500. Wreck discovered in 1986."
Missing Air Crew Report 15500 (MACR 15500) created retroactively circa 1945-1946, lists loss location as over the Coral Sea [sic, Mt. Obree]
Arlington National Cemetery ANC Explorer - Daniel W. Fagen (group burial photo)
Arlington National Cemetery ANC Explorer - Robert R. Meyer (grave photos)
Arlington National Cemetery ANC Explorer - Ralph Howard (grave photos)
Arlington National Cemetery ANC Explorer - Jim S. Grant (grave photos)
Arlington National Cemetery ANC Explorer - Joe A. Carter (grave photos)
Arlington National Cemetery ANC Explorer - Edward L. Hargrove (grave photos)
Arlington National Cemetery ANC Explorer - Paul A. Reimer (grave photos)
Arlington National Cemetery ANC Explorer - Elton J. Rose (grave photos)
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - Daniel W. Fagen '"remains recovered"
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - Robert R. Meyer, Jr. '"remains recovered"
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - Ralph Howard '"remains recovered"
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - Jim S. Grant '"remains recovered"
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - Joe A. Carter '"remains recovered"
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - Edward L. Hargrove '"remains recovered"
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - Paul A. Reimer '"remains recovered"
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - Elton J. Rose '"remains recovered"
FindAGrave - 1Lt Daniel White Fagen (tablets of the missing photo)
FindAGrave - 1LT Daniel White Fagen (group burial photo)
FindAGrave - 2Lt Robert R Meyer, Jr (tablets of the missing, war memorial)
FindAGrave - 2LT Robert R Meyer, Jr (Arlington grave photo)
FindAGrave - 2Lt Ralph Howard (tablets of the missing)
FindAGrave - Lieut Ralph Howard (Golden Gate National Cemetery memorial marker photo)
FindAGrave - Ralph Howard (Arlington grave photo)
FindAGrave - 2Lt Jim Sam Grant (tablets of the missing photo)
FindAGrave - Jim Sam Grant (Grants Chapel Cemetery memorial marker photo)
FindAGrave - 2LT Jim S Grant (Arlington grave photo)
FindAGrave - Sgt Joe A Carter (tablets of the missing photo)
FindAGrave - Joe A Carter (Arlington grave)
FindAGrave - Sgt Edward L Hargrove (tablets of the missing photo)
FindAGrave - Sgt Edward L Hargrove (group burial photo)
FindAGrave - Sgt Paul Arlis Reimer (group burial photo)
FindAGrave - SSgt Elton J Rose (news, tablets of the missing photo)
FindAGrave - SSGT Elton J Rose (Arlington grave)
PNG Museum Aircraft Status Card - B-17E Flying Fortress 41-2505
Bruce Hoy Diary October 31, 1987 (reference to coins recovered from 41-2505)
Paradise Magazine "Fortress on Mt. Obree" by Bruce Hoy via Wayback Machine June 21, 2006
Fortress Against The Sun (2001) pages 170, 386 (Appendix B: 41-2505)
Thanks to Bruce Hoy and Brian Bennett for details on the discovery and recovery of remains

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Last Updated
October 1, 2021

 

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