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  B-24D-115-CO "Shack Rat" Serial Number 42-40918  
USAAF
5th AF
90th BG
320th BS

Click For Enlargement
Brian Bennett 2007
Pilot  1st Lt Jack E. Volz, O-735707 (MIA / KIA) IN
Co-Pilot  2nd Lt Martin P. Murray, O-797914 (MIA / KIA) Lowell, MA
Navigator  2nd Lt Regis E. Dietz, O-798766 (MIA / KIA) PA
Bombardier  2nd Lt William J. Shryock, O-739001 (MIA / KIA) IN
Observer  2nd Lt Edward J. Lake, O-669326 (MIA / KIA) NY
Engineer  TSgt Hollis R. Smith, 18136424 (MIA / KIA) AR
Radio  TSgt Robert S. Wren, 9114505 (MIA / KIA) WA
Gunner  SSgt Frederick E. Harris, 31133505 (MIA / KIA) MA
Gunner  SSgt Berthold A. Chastain, 34266040 (MIA / KIA) GA
Gunner  SSgt Clyde L. Green, 33296638 (MIA / KIA) PA
Tail Gunner  SSgt Claude A. Ray, 18085253 (MIA / KIA) KS
Photographer  SSgt Claude G. Tyler, 33200253 (MIA / KIA) MD

MIA  October 27, 1943
MACR  963

Aircraft History
Built by Consolidated at San Diego. Constructors Number 1995. Delivered to the U. S. Army Air Force (USAAF) as B-24D-115-CO Liberator serial number 42-40918. Ferried overseas via Hickam Field then across the Pacific to Australia.

Wartime History
Assigned to the 5th Air Force, 90th Bombardment Group, 320th Bombardment Squadron. Nicknamed "Shack Rat". When lost, engines R-1830-43 serial numbers 42-87514, 42-37673, 42-87690 and 42-86832.

Mission History
On October 27, 1943 took off from 5-Mile Drome near Port Moresby on a reconnaissance mission. Seven hours into the mission were directed to return to. Last contact was at 2:30pm when ordered to land at Dobudura due to bad weather at Port Moresby. Fighter Sector Command was tracking an aircraft in the Huon Bay area when it disappeared off the scope. In fact, this B-24 crashed in the Sarawaget Mountain Range in Morobe Province in bad weather.

Search
After being declared missing, two B-24s searched the north coast of New Guinea from Tami Island to Cape Nelson. Others searched New Britain to the Huon Gulf, without results.

Wreckage
A local found a dog tag from one of the crew members and part of a wallet with a portion of Volz's ID card still inside and legible. These personal effects were presented to U. S. Army CILHI during their visit to PNG around 2002.

Recovery of Remains
During March 2005, JPAC conducted an IE at the crash site. A full three month recovery mission was conducted during January-March 2007 recovering remains and personal effects. Later, the entire crew was identified using mDNA and their identification was officially announced on March 3, 2010.

Memorials
The entire crew was officially declared dead October 28, 1944. All are memorialized on the tablets of the missing at Manila American Cemetery.

After being identified, Claude A. Ray was buried on October 27, 2010 at Riverside National Cemetery. Murray was buried in Marshfield, MA on April 16, 2011.

A memorial service for the others will be conducted at Arlington National Cemetery in May 2011. There will be one burial site for the remains and personal effects of those who could not be identified with a tombstone, bearing the names of all the airmen.

Relatives
Burt Risser (nephew of Claude A. Ray)
"He was nicknamed 'Bud'."

References
USAF Serial Number Search Results - B-24D-115-CO Liberator 42-40918
"40918 (90th BG, 320th BS, "Shack Rat") lost on recon flight from Wards Drome New Guinea Oct 27, 1943. MACR 963. Crashed in Sarawaget Mountain Range in Morobe Province in bad weather. All 12 crew MIA. Human remains found in 2007."
Missing Air Crew Report 963 (MACR 963)
PNG Museum Aircraft Status Card - B-24D Liberator 42-40918
Legacy of the 90th Bomb Group (1997) page 70
Fallbrook Village "Soldier's Remains found after MIA 67 years" October 21, 2010
Los Angeles Times " WWII airmen laid to rest 67 years later" October 27, 2010
Washington Post "WWII aviator's long journey" to home" October 27, 2010
DPMO Recently Accounted For - Volz Crew March 3, 2010
Photos exist for at two other B-24's nicknamed "Shack Rat" but neither is this aircraft

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Last Updated
February 14, 2020

 

Tech Information
B-24

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