USAAF May 15, 1944
|Pilot 1st Lt. John H. Savarese, Jr., O-799874 (KIA, BR) New Orleans, LA
Co-Pilot 2nd Lt James T "Jack" Wright, O-675150 (KIA, BR) Wabash County, IN
Bombardier 1st Lt Jeff D. Montgomery, Jr., O-671477 (KIA, BR) Morris County, TX
Navigator 1st Lt Carl F. Gutman, O-673552 (KIA, BR) Lorain County, OH
Radio TSgt George L. Ford, 31162257 (KIA, BR) Cambridge, MA
Engineer TSgt Edward J. Protz, 33314122 (KIA, BR) Philadelphia, PA
Gunner SSgt Clifford P. Dockendorf, 37305778 (KIA, BR) Stearns County, MN
Gunner SSgt William B. McLain, 14131560 (KIA, BR) Lucedale, MS
Gunner SSgt James E. Neilson, 33278599 (KIA, BR) Allegheny County, PA
Photographer SSgt Joe H. Gandara, 15102289 (KIA, BR)
Gunner SSgt Albert Goulet, 32497779 (survived) Cleveland, OH
Crashed May 15, 1944
Built by Consolidated at San Diego. On February 2, 1944 accepted by the U.S. Army Air Force (USAAF) as B-24J-130-CO Liberator serial number 42-110051. Delivered February 3, 1944 to Tuscon, AZ for modification. On February 17, 1944 flown to Hamilton Field to the 4th Air Force. On February 24, 1944 flown to Santa Ana, CA and remained until March 17, 1944.
On March 20, 1944 ferried overseas via Hickam Field then across the Pacific before arriving in Australia on March 31, 1944. Assigned to the 5th Air Force, 90th Bombardment Group, 320th Bombardment Squadron. No known nose art or nickname. When lost, engine and weapon serial numbers unknown.
Pilot Savarese had flown the previous day's mission and was not scheduled to fly on May 15, 1944 but his good friend Captain Andy S. Muri was leading the 320th Bomb Squadron and Savarese wanted to fly with him. That morning, he flew with men who were not his regular crew. Co-pilot Wright was from Lt. Herbert T. Goodrich's crew. The enlisted men were from Lt. Robert O. Bostwick's crew. Joe Also aboard was a photographer, Gandara.
On May 15, 1944 took off from Nadzab Airfield on bombing mission against the Sawar and Maffin Bay area. After takeoff the No. 2 engine caught fire, and the bomber climbed high enough to salvo its bombs, but the left wing caught the ground causing it to cartwheel, crash and explode on impact. The entire crew was killed in the crash with the exception of gunner Goulet, who survived.
Those killed in the crash were officially declared dead the day of the mission and their remains were recovered at buried at Nadzab. Postwar, they were exhumed and transported to Manila and the United States for permanent burial according to their families wishes.
Five are buried at Manila American Cemetery including: Gutman at plot D row 11 grave 47, Ford at Plot C Row 2 Grave 43, Protz at Plot A Row 14 Grave 201, Dockendorf at Plot C Row 13 Grave 45 and McLain at McLain.
The remainder of the crew are buried in private cemeteries in the United States:
Savarese is buried at
Valence Street Cemetery in New Orleans, LA.
Wright is buried in Fairview Cemetery in Servia, IN.
Montgomery is buried in Snow Hill Cemetery in Cason, TX.
Neilson is buried at Allegheny County Memorial Park, Allison Park, PA.
Gandara is buried at Fort Sam Houston National Cemetery in San Antonio, TX.
Sole survivor Albert Goulet passed away on July 19, 1971. He is buried at Long Island National Cemetery at plot 2R, grave 1563.
Note, this bomber's serial number is sometimes incorrectly listed as B-24J Liberator serial number 42-110058 [sic]
NARA World War II Army Enlistment Records - Albert Goulet
Individual Aircraft Record Card (IARC) - B-24J Liberator 42-110051
Newspaper Article, April 1948: "James T. Wright's body was returned to N. Manchester for burial. He was killed in his plane as he was taking off on a flying mission from a New Guinea airfield in 1945 [sic 1944]. He had always wanted to fly and was taught by his brother John Henry Wright who had a private airfield near Servia. He was the son of Galen and Olive Fouts Wright. Burial was in Fairview. Servia, Indiana."
USAF Serial Number Search Results - B-24J-130-CO Liberator 42-110051
"110051 (90th BG, 320th BS) crashed on takeoff from Nadzab, New Guinea May 15, 1944. All 10 crew killed"
Legacy of the 90th Bombardment Group page 116 (photo)
FindAGrave - John H Savarese (photo)
FindAGrave - James T Wright (grave photo)
FindAGrave - Lieut Jeff Davis Montgomery, Jr (grave photo)
FindAGrave - 1Lt Carl F Gutman
FindAGrave - TSgt George Leo Ford (grave photo)
FindAGrave - TSgt Edward J Protz
SSgt Clifford P Dockendorf
FindAGrave - William B. McLain
FindAGrave - James E Neilson
FindAGrave - Joe H Gandara (photo, grave photo)
FindAGrave - Albert Goulet
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February 14, 2020