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Testimony of Paul J. Cascio, Jr.
Radio operator B-17E "Flagship Texas No. VI / Strip-Straffer" 41-9207 and Prisoner Of War (POW)

Formerly T/Sgt., in the presence of Richard E. Hallam, Special Agent, 109th Counter Intelligence Corps Detachment, 2nd Army, 24 June, 1947.

I was born on 2 January 1922, in Masontown, Pennsylvania. I am married, and a graduate of the Baltimore Vocational School. I am a bricklayer's apprentice. I arrived in San Francisco on 15 October 1945 aboard the Admiral Hughes.

I was shot down on 1 June 1943 on New Britain Island, near Rabaul, and was captured by a Japanese ground force on June 7, 1943. I was taken to Rabaul on 21 June 1943 where I remained for 21 days. I was transferred to Truk on July 17, 1943, remained eleven days, and was sent to Ofuna Camp, where I remained until March 14, 1944. I was next sent to Ashio where I remained from March 15, 1944 until September 4, 1945.

On 1 June 1943 I was radio operator on a B-17, 64th Bomb Squadron, 43rd Group, stationed at Port Moresby. We were flying alone on a reconnaissance flight and at 1410, after six hours in flight, encountered 12 Jap fighter planes which attacked us. We were hit in a gas tank near #2 engine, which caused a fire. Lt. Naumann, our pilot, ordered the crew to prepare to bail out. Since the fire could not be controlled, we were ordered to abandon ship. As soon as the order was given, the ship exploded, causing it to take a climb. The explosion threw me out of the plane at about 6,000 feet and I did not see any of the other crew members leave the plane. I fell about 4,000 feet before I pulled the rip cord and landed in a tree in a conscious condition. From my position I could see and hear a Jap plane strafing but did not see the target. The plane crashed several miles from where I landed in the jungle.

Upon hitting the ground, after bailing from the plane, I sprained my ankle. Two days later I came across two of our dead crew members; one, Lt. Lewis, the navigator, and the other, the bombardier whose name I have forgotten. Their bodies were not near the scene of the crash, and were in a mutilated condition.

On the third day, I came to a village of friendly natives, who took me into another district. Here I found Lt. Naumann, T/Sgt. Fox and Cpl. Green. We stayed with the natives until 6 June 1943, when we were taken to the coast and turned over to the Japanese. The Japs took all four of us to an outpost, where there were seven enlisted men and one officer. We remained here for fourteen days, and were tied to stakes for the first two days. In the officer's absence the enlisted men slapped and hit us with gun butts; however, in his presence we were treated fairly, but never were given neither food nor medical attention. I do not remember any of our captor's names.

On 12 June 1943 T/Sgt. Fox, who was severely burned, and Cpl. Green, who was shot in the knee, were taken by the Japs to what they claimed was a hospital in Rabaul. Fox and Green were never heard from again.

On 21 June 1943 Lt. Naumann and I were taken by boat to Rabaul, where I remained for 21 days. Prior to our arrival there I was blindfolded and bound. On reaching the camp, I was tied to a post at the mess hall for approximately 12 hours, during which time I was stoned by passers-by and kicked by the guards. I contracted malaria, but received no medical treatment despite frequent requests. After 21 days, I was sent to Truk Island, where I first received medical aid. While at Rabaul, Lt. Naumann and I were treated alike. He told me that all of the crew members had been killed either in the explosion or following crash, except the four of us previously mentioned. I did not see or hear from Naumann after leaving Rabaul and since my release as a POW, have not heard from any crew members. I believe I am the only survivor of the incident.

I was a new member of the crew and therefore have forgotten the names of victims, with the exception of Lt. Lewis, the navigator. The survivors were Lt. Ernest A. Naumann, the pilot, T/Sgt. Thomas Fox, the engineer, Cpl. Charles Green, the tail gunner and myself. Lt. Naumann was uninjured, Fox was severely burned and Green had been shot in two places in his knee. Fox and Green were taken from the outpost where we were first held on or about 10 June 1943. I did not see them again and believe they died from their wounds. In January 1944 while I was being held at Ofuna, I heard through Lt(jg) Stephen A. Nyarady, Navy [pilot TBF Avenger 23973 crashed November 11, 1943] that Lt. Naumann left Rabaul on December 3, 1943 with seventeen other prisoners of war in a small boat but that they were never heard from again.

Lt. JG Stephen A. Nyarady, 1144 Tiffany Street, Bronx, New York informed me at Ofuna that he was present at Rabaul on 3 December 1943 when Lt. Naumann and 17 others were sent away in a small boat.

Paul J. Cascio
26th August 1947 41-9207 64 BOMB SQUADRON 43 BOMB GROUP

Case File 51-92, Records Group 153
United States National Archives, College Park, Maryland

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