|Pilot 1st Lt. Harry L. McDonald, O-726439 (MIA / KIA) MO
Co-Pilot 2nd Lt. Fred A. Couse, O-728597 (MIA / KIA) FL
Navigator 2nd Lt. Arthur Bloch, O-790207 (MIA / KIA) NY
Bombardier 2nd Lt. Edgar M. Haas, O-729438 (MIA / KIA)
Engineer T/Sgt Walter A. Falta, 31136006 (MIA / KIA) MA
Asst Engineer Cpl Frank J. Knight, Jr., 15068330 (MIA / KIA) KY
Radio T/Sgt Keith W. Sauer, 20926761 (MIA / KIA) ID
Asst Radio Cpl Roland W. Bernier, 31109749 (MIA / KIA) NH
Tail Gunner Cpl Harold H. Langrock, 32313868 (MIA / KIA) NY
Gunner S/Sgt Roy H. Tuttle, 19053463 (MIA / KIA) CA
MIA August 30, 1943 at 16:25
Built by Consolidated. Assigned to the U. S. Army. Ferried overseas via Hickam Field to the South Pacific.
Assigned to the 13th Air Force, 307th Bombardment Group, 372nd Bombardment Squadron. No known nickname or nose art. When lost, engines R1830-43 serial numbers: 42-42500, 42-43068, 42-58847, 42-42756. Weapon serial numbers unknown.
On August 30, 1943 this bomber was one of twenty-four B-24 from the 307th Bombardment Group that took off from Carney Field (Bomber 2) on Guadalcanal on a bombing mission against Kahili Airfield on southern Bougainville. The formation of twenty-four bombers was led by the 5th Bombardment Group. Leading the 372nd Bombardment Squadron was Major Marshall T. Voss. Escorting were USAAF and USN fighters.
Twenty-two minutes after the bomb run, while flying at 8,000' this B-24 was reportedly hit on the left wing near the No. 1 engine, causing it to catch fire and spread towards the No. 2 engine. Possibly, an attacking Zero dropped a bomblet onto the formation that impacted this plane.
Damaged, this bomber dove down to 5,000', where it flatted out before going into a flat spin three times before the tail assembly broke off. Three or four parachutes were seen to open before the bomber impacted the ocean sinking immediately into the sea west of Baga Island (Mbava) and Vella Lavella.
Fates of the Crew
Three or four parachutes were seen to open before the bomber impacted the ocean and immediately disappeared, leaving a 60-70' oil slick on the surface of the sea. One of the crew was observed splashing in the sea and a parachute a quarter mile away and one chute at 800' when a Zero attempted to strafe the parachute, but was driven off by gunners from the B-24 piloted by Lt. Faucett. Afterwards, the man in the cute appeared to be dead in his chute.
Immediately, Lt. Faucett's B-24 dove down and dropped their life raft within 200' of the man observed in the water. Afterwards, his crew earned the Silver Star and Distinguished Flying Cross (DFC) for their actions.
The crew was officially declared dead the day of the mission. All are memorialized on the tablets of the missing at Manila American Cemetery. Bernier also has a memorial marker at the New Hampshire State Veterans Cemetery in Boscawen, NH at section 3, row A, site 7.
Tom McDonald (nephew Harry McDonald):
"I have the MACR from the national Archives and the reports of the other crews that witness the downing. My brother found a picture of the crew shortly before they left on their last mission. Lt. Harry McDonald is back row left he carries a .45 that my dad had traded to him for his .38 (the .45 had a habit of jamming in the jungles)."
Lois Wienshienk (niece of Arthur Bloch):
"My brother (also Arthur Bloch) and I would be so grateful if you could include his picture."
The Kansas City Star "The Four McDonald Brothers Serve Their Country" November 1, 1942
Missing Air Crew Report (MACR) 489
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - Harry L. McDonald
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - Fred A. Couse
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - Arthur Bloch
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - Edgar M. Haas
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - Walter A. Falta
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - Frank J. Knight, Jr.
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - Keith W. Sauer
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - Roland W. Bernier
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - Harold H. Langrock
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - Roy H. Tuttle
FindAGrave - 1Lt Harry L Mcdonald (tablets of the missing photo)
1Lt Fred A Couse (photo)
FindAGrave - 2Lt Arthur Bloch (tablets of the missing photo)
1Lt Edgar M Haas (tablets of the missing photo)
FindAGrave - TSgt Walter A Falta
FindAGrave - Corp Frank J Knight, Jr
FindAGrave - TSgt Keith William Sauer (tablets of the missing photo)
FindAGrave - Corp Roland W Bernier (tablets of the missing)
FindAGrave - Roland W Bernier (memorial marker)
Corp Harold H Langrock
FindAGrave - SSgt Roy H Tuttle
The Long Rangers page 70
Thanks to Tom McDonald for additional information
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February 14, 2020