|Pilot 1st Lt. Francis E. Manion, O-403487 (survived)
Co-Pilot 1st Lt.
Andrew B. O'Hara (survived)
Navigator Lt. Eugene J. Walker (WIA injured arm, survived)
Bombardier Lt. Gordon L. Boegler (WIA broken pelvis, survived)
Engineer Sgt George F. Pollock, Jr. (survived)
Crew Sgt. Weldon J. Cox (WIA, broken ankle, survived)
Crew Sgt. Floyd L. Ingold (WIA, fractured back and injured knee, survived)
Photographer Sgt. John A. Boiteau (WIA, broken arm, survived)
Force Landed September 6, 1943
Built by Consolidated at San Diego. Delivered to the U. S. Army. Ferried overseas via Hawaii to Australia.
Assigned to the 5th Air Force, 90th Bombardment Group, 319th Bombardment Squadron "Asterperious". Assigned to pilot Hal Hevener.
Nicknamed "Scorpion". The nose art depicted a scorpion painted in yellow holding a red, white and blue aerial bomb in both claws. An American flag was painted on the nose wheel hub. Below the cockpit was a scoreboard was painted in yellow with bomb markings indicating combat missions and eight silhouettes of planes for enemy fighters claimed plus two ships. When lost, this bomber had flown a total of 36 bombing mission over New Guinea.
Hal Hevener adds:
"I was 1st pilot on "Scorpion" from December 1942 to September 1943 when I returned stateside. Altogether, I flew 36 missions, 360 combat hours; we shot down eight Zekes (got credit for only six) lost one engineer to enemy fire, and one navigator (killed with another crew). I was in Brisbane waiting to fly a "War-Weary" home when I got word that a new crew had crash-landed "Scorpion" on the beach. I flew B-24D "Star Duster" 41-23869 home, along with two other bombers: B-24D "The Eager Beaver" 41-23849 and B-24D "Mister Butcher" 41-24045. We arrived at Hamilton Field at the end of November. and discovered we weren't off the hook until we delivered all three planes to Hill Field, Utah, so we did, and no we did not fly under the Golden Gate Bridge, as it was worth your wings if you did!! But we were all singing "California Here I Come" over the Command Channel, which probably made the flight controllers a little unhappy!"
On September 6, 1943 took off from 5 Mile Drome (Ward) near Port Moresby piloted by 1st Lt. Francis E. Manion on a reconnaissance mission against a Japanese convoy. Damaged and low on fuel, this B-24 force landed on the beach near Finschafen. Five of the crew were injured in the crash.
After the crash, an observation plane piloted by a U. S. Army Major spotted this B-24 landed on the beach nearby. While attempting to take off again, the observation plane crashed. Afterwards, the Major with Sgt Pollock attempted to walk to safety to find help. Meanwhile, the bomber was spotted and reported by another B-24.
After ten days, the entire crew were rescued by U. S. Navy (USN) PT-Boats. The entire crew returned to duty thirty days later.
During the crash landing, the nose section of this bomber was crushed. The rest of the B-24 survived largely intact. Sometime after the rescue of the crew, the bomber was salvaged and 85% was recovered for use as spare parts including the tails and wing flaps and control surfaces. The remainder of the aircraft was likely left at the crash landing site.
O'Hara passed away on October 1, 1992. On May 24, 1993 he was buried at Evanston City Cemetery in Evanston, UT at plot: 1-00-117-04.
Manion achieved the rank of Captain in the USAAF and earned the Distinguishing Flying Cross (DFC) and Air Medal for his World War II service. He passed away on November 4, 1993 and was buried at Greenwood Cemetery in New Orleans, LA.
Pollock continued into the U. S. Air Force (USAF) and served in the Korean War and Vietnam. He retired as a Chief Master Sergeant and passed away on November 29, 1997. He is buried at Florida National Cemetery at section 3C, row 8C, site 23.
Jon Andrew O'Hara (son of O'Hara, deceased October 12, 2010)
90th Bomb Group Message Board - 1st Lt Andrew B. O'Hara
"I am looking for anyone that might have known my father, 1st Lt. Andrew B. O'Hara -- 5th Air Force -- Jolly Rogers -- "Asterperious" bomb group. I only have a few items to go from, he was a Pilot and flew the B24 Eight Ball on a mission over Wakde Island Apr. 17, 1944 which I have a in flight picture of. He also was shot down and crashed the B24 Scorpion -- some where on the beach close to Finschafen, and the crew and he were rescued a few days later at night by the Navy PT Boats. Time frame not known,but I have pictures of the crash site and a few items signed by the crew. I also have his flight jacket with the Asterperious, and Jolly Rogers patch on it. He passed away along time ago and I would appreciate any info one might have. Thank you Col. Jon A. O'Hara USMC Retr." [Deceased October 12, 2010 buried Visalia Public Cemetery in Visalia, CA at section H, tier 13, grave 243. Reference: FindAGrave - Jon Andrew O'Hara]
PNG Museum Aircraft Status Card - B-24D Liberator piloted by Manion (lists date as September 7, 1943)
Legacy of the 90th Bomb Group page 97
The Jolly Rogers page 196 incorrectly states crashed landing on the beach at Buna [sic, Finschafen] and five lost [sic, wounded]
FindAGrave - Francis E Manion, Sr (obituary, grave photo)
FindAGrave - Lieut Andrew B. "Andy" O'Hara (grave photo)
FindAGrave - George Frederick Pollock, Jr
Orlando Sentinel "War Hero Loved Military But Put His Family 1st Pollock" December 1, 1997
Thanks Edward Rogers for research and analysis.
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February 4, 2018