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  B-24D-60-CO "The Swan" Serial Number 42-40475  
USAAF
5th AF
43rd BG
63rd BS

Click For EnlargementUSAAF Sept 1943

Click For Enlargment
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John Douglas 2002

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Justin Taylan 2003
Pilot  Captain Robert L. Coleman, O-789137 (MIA / KIA) Wilmington, DE
Co-Pilot  2nd Lt. Kenneth L. Cassidy, O-802017(MIA / KIA) Worcester, MA
Bombardier  2nd Lt. Irving Schechner, O-673737 (MIA / KIA) Brooklyn, NY
Navigator  1st Lt George E. Wallinder, O-662400 (MIA / KIA) San Antonio, TX
Engineer  TSgt Paul Miecias, 32302997 (MIA / KIA) Piscataway, NJ
Gunner  SSgt Albert J. Caruso, 32464441 (MIA / KIA) Kearny, NJ
Gunner  TSgt William L. Fraser, 17035405 (MIA / KIA) Maplewood, MO
Gunner  SSgt Robert E. Frank, 32303093 (MIA / KIA) Plainfield, NJ
Gunner  TSgt Robert C. Morgan, 16039363 (MIA / KIA) Flint, MI
Gunner  Pvt Joseph Thompson, 19039138 (MIA / KIA) Compton, CA
Observer  2nd Lt Ronald F. Ward, O-736737 (MIA / KIA) Cambridge, MA
Crashed  December 3, 1943
MACR  1459

Aircraft History
Built by Consolidated at San Diego. Delivered to the U. S. Army Air Force (USAAF) as B-24D-60-CO Liberator serial number 42-40475. This B-24 was equipped with radar.

Wartime History
Assigned to the 1st Sea Search Attach Group, 2nd Sea Search Attack Squadron at Langley Field in Virginia and trained to use radar for anti-shipping searches and strikes. Assigned to Project Number 96189R under the command of Lt. Col Edward W. Scott. On October 1, 1943 departed the United States and ferried overseas via Hickam Field then across the Pacific to Australia.

On October 21, 1943 this B-24 arrived at at 7-Mile Drome near Port Moresby on October 21, 1943. There, it was assigned to the 43rd Bombardment Group, 63rd Bombardment Squadron. Nicknamed "The Swan". When lost, engines R-1850-43 serial number CP300163, CP300168, CP300258 and CP300286. Weapon serial numbers noted in Missing Air Crew Report 1459 (MACR 1459).

Mission History
On December 3, 1943 took off from Horanda No. 4 Airfield near Dobodura piloted by Captain Robert L. Coleman on an armed reconnaissance mission over the Bismarck Sea. Reported as missing between Dobodura and Hanover Island off the northwestern coast of New Britain in the Bismarck Sea. At 0035/L this B-24 radioed "Why aren't lights on?", presumably because it could not find Dobodura. This was the last message from this bomber and further attempts to establish radio contact failed. In fact, this bomber crashed near Deboin on Cape Ward Hunt killing the entire crew.

Search
For two days, Allied aircraft searched its last reported position north of Cape Gloucester, but failed to locate any trace of the aircraft.

Wreckage
Since the war, this crash site was known to local people. During December 2000, reported to John Douglas. Deboin villagers provided the dog tag of Robert E Frank and a description and photographs of the wreckage during February 2001. The B-24 was positively identified using the tail serial number. Afterwards, John Douglas reported the discovery at the April 2001 CILHI PNG MIA Conference and informed Pacific Wrecks.

During 2001, a team from U. S. Army CILHI visited Deboin by helicopter but were unable to locate the wreck during their initial visit. In fact, another village to the south were the landowners and also knew about the crash site.

Afterwards, John Douglas was contacted by Sandy Smith, the daughter of one of the crew members, who had been to a 43rd Bomb Group reunion and learned about the discovery of her father's plane and asked John Douglas to take photos of the wreckage for her. In May 2003 a John Douglas wreck tec visited crash site and took photographs for her.

During June 2003 or July 2003 another group "MIA Hunters" hired a local person to visit the crash site . At one time, the group claimed credit for locating the wreck on their website, which is incorrect. The site was first located in 2000 and reported by John Douglas to U. S. Army CILHI.

Recovery of Remains
During April 2004, this crash site was the focus of a complete JPAC recovery operation and seven bodies were recovered, and personal items including dog tags, two rings and other personal effects. Dental records, mDNA, other forensic identification tools and circumstantial evidence were used to make identifications for all eleven crew members.

During 2007, this crash site was again investigated by JPAC.

On April 25, 2008 the Department of Defense (DoD) announced the crew were identified.

Memorials
The entire crew was officially declared dead on January 20, 1946. The entire crew was memorialized at Manila American Cemtery on the tablets of the missing. After the remains of the crew were indentified, a rosette was placed next to each name.

A memorial marker was placed for the crew at Arlington National Cemetery at section 60 site 8770 with the inscription "aircraft mishap - New Hanover Island January 20, 1946". After the recovery of remains the entire crew were buried on August 27, 2008.

Cassidy also has an individual burial at Arlington National Cemetery at section 60 site 8773.

Miecias also has a memorial marker at Holy Redeemer Cemetery and Mausoleum in South Plainfield, NJ.

Caruso also has a memorial marker at Calvary Cemetery in Cherry Hill, NJ.

Fraser also has an individual grave where some of his remains were buried at Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery at section 70 site 16191 with the epitaph "mission accomplished".

Morgan also has an individual grave where some of his remains were buried at Great Lakes National Cemetery at section 1 site 1168.

Thompson also has an individual grave where some of his remains were buried at Arlington National Cemetery at section 60 site 877?.

Ward also has an individual grave where some of his remains were buried on August 27, 2008 at Arlington National Cemetery at section 60 site 877?.

Relatives
Sandy Smith (daughter of Joseph Thompson)

Carolyn Fox (cousin once removed of Joseph Thompson)
"[Pvt. Joseph Thompson] is a cousin once removed of my husbands. We were contacted by his daughter Sandy Smith in December 2002. David and LeRoy Minter have given blood samples for the mDNA match when they do get Joseph's remains recovered. B-24D 42-40475 went down Dec 03, 1945 over Papua New Guinea and has been found by one of John Douglas' wreck tecs. I'm trying to get the government more interested in recovering the remains of Joseph and his crew mates. We want to bring him home."

Chris Gauld (grandson of Paul Miecias)
"My grandmother is Jennie M. Gauld, who lives in Greenbrook, NJ. She is Paul Miecias sister. She is 90 years old and the only surviving direct member of his family."

References
NARA World War II Army Enlistment Records - Robert L. Coleman
NARA World War II Army Enlistment Records - Kenneth L. Cassidy
NARA World War II Army Enlistment Records - Irving Schechner
NARA World War II Army Enlistment Records - George E. Wallinder
NARA World War II Army Enlistment Records - Paul Miecias
NARA World War II Army Enlistment Records - Albert J. Caruso
NARA World War II Army Enlistment Records - William L. Fraser
NARA World War II Army Enlistment Records - Robert E. Frank
NARA World War II Army Enlistment Records - Robert C. Morgan
NARA World War II Army Enlistment Records - Joseph Thompson
NARA World War II Army Enlistment Records - Ronald F. Ward
USAF Serial Number Search Results - USAF - B-24D-60-CO Liberator 42-40475
"40475 (43rd BG, 63rd BS) lost on recon mission over Bismarck Sea from Dobodura, New Guinea Dec 3, 1943. MACR 1459 12 crew MIA. Wreck not found until 2001."
Missing Air Crew Report 1459 (MACR 1459)
PNG Museum Aircraft Status Card - B-24D Liberator 42-40475
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - Robert L. Coleman "remains have been recovered"
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - Kenneth L. Cassidy "remains have been recovered"
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - Irving Schechner "remains have been recovered"
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - George E. Wallinder "remains have been recovered"
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - Paul Miecias "remains have been recovered"
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - Albert J. Caruso "remains have been recovered"
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - William L. Fraser "remains have been recovered"
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - Robert E. Frank "remains have been recovered"
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - Robert C. Morgan "remains have been recovered"
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - Joseph Thompson "remains have been recovered"
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - Ronald F. Ward "remains have been recovered"
FindAGrave - Capt Robert Lee Coleman (tablets of the missing photo)
FindAGrave - Capt Robert Lee Coleman (group burial photo)
FindAGrave - 2Lt Kenneth Ludlow Cassidy (tablets of the missing photo)
FindAGrave - Kenneth L. Cassidy (group burial photo, individual burial photo)
FindAGrave - 2Lt Irving Schechner (tablets of the missing photo)
FindAGrave - Irving Schechner (group burial photo)
FindAGrave - 1Lt George E Wallinder (tablets of the missing photo)
FindAGrave - 1LT George E Wallinder (group burial photo)
FindAGrave - TSgt Paul Miecias (tablets of the missing photo)
FindAGrave - TSGT Paul L Miecias (group burial photo)
FindAGrave - Paul Miecias (memorial marker photo)
FindAGrave - SSgt Albert J Caruso (tablets of the missing photo)
FindAGrave - SSGT Albert J Caruso (group burial photo)
FindAGrave - TSgt William Lee Fraser (tablets of the missing photo)
FindAGrave - TSGT William Lee Fraser (group burial photo)
FindAGrave - TSGT William Lee Fraser (grave photo)
FindAGrave - Robert E. Frank (tablets of the missing photo)
FindAGrave - Robert E. Frank (group burial photo)
FindAGrave - TSgt Robert C Morgan (tablets of the missing photo)
FindAGrave - TSGT Robert C Morgan (group burial photo)
FindAGrave - TSGT Robert C Morgan (photo, grave photo) date of death listed as December 4, 1943 [sic]
FindAGrave - Pvt Joseph Thompson (tablets of the missing photo)
FindAGrave - PVT Joseph Thompson (group burial photo, individual burial photo)
FindAGrave - 2Lt Ronald F Ward (tablets of the missing photo)
FindAGrave - 2LT Ronald F Ward (group burial photo, individual burial photo)
JPAC News Release "MIA Search & Recovery Teams Deploy to PNG" March 5, 2004
Post Courier "Fallen soldiers return home" April 20, 2004
Telegram "2nd Lt. Cassidy, lost in crash of WWII bomber, identified" April 26, 2008
NY Daily News "Brooklyn hero from WWII is found at last" April 26, 2008
DoD News Release "Missing WWII Airmen are Identified" April 25, 2008
Thanks to John Douglas, Sandy Smith, Carolyn Fox and Chris Gauld for additional information

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Last Updated
December 1, 2020

 

Tech Information
B-24

MIAMIA
11 Missing
Resolved

Dogtag
Robert E. Frank Dog Tag
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