5th BG c1944
Fred Olsson Oct 1, 2007
|Pilot 2nd Lt. Wills Finks, Jr., O-696349 (survived) Tarrant, TX
Co-Pilot 2nd Lt. Jack S. Scott, O-765328 (survived)
Navigator 2nd Lt. Harold A. Haugrud, O-707913 (MIA / KIA) Pelican Rapids, MN
Bombardier 2nd Lt. Carl P. Swadley, O-752965 (MIA / KIA) TX
Engineer SSgt Mangus R. Schuldt, 39558691 (survived)
Asst Engineer Sgt Charles Tashjian, 31258464 (survived) Middlesex County, MA
Radio SSgt Anthony A. Marisi, 32797423 (survived) New York, NY
Asst Radio Sgt Joe P. Carlisle, 20816281 (survived)
Gunner Cb24-droopsnoot-nicknamepl James H. Cook, 38511816 (survived)
Gunner Cpl Forest W. Harris, 37502843 (MIA / KIA) KS
Photographer Sgt Ralph R. Kincaid, 37476544 (MIA / KIA) Buffalo County, NE
Crashed June 17, 1944
Built by Consolidated at San Diego. Constructors Number 2323. Delivered to the U. S. Army Air Force (USAAF) as B-24D-150-CO Liberator serial number 42-41246. Ferried overseas via Hickam Field across the Pacific to the South Pacific.
Assigned to the 13th Air Force, 5th Bombardment Group "Bomber Barons", 31st Bombardment Squadron. Nicknamed "Dropsnoot" on the left side of the nose. No known nose art. When lost, engines R-1830-43 serial numbers CP-307828, 41-43482, CP-308261 and CP-307828. Armed with ten .50 caliber machine guns makers and serial numbers not listed in Missing Air Crew Report 11968 (MACR 11968).
On June 17, 1944 took off from Momote Airfield on Los Negros Island piloted by 2nd Lt. Wills Finks on a bombing mission against against Eten Island (Target D-11) in Truk Lagoon. This B-24 was flying in the first element, the no. 3 position. The weather was visibility unrestricted with 4/10 coverage cumulus and stratus clouds to 5,000' and from 2,000' to 8,000' 5/10 coverage.
At 10:40am, twenty-five minutes from the target, pilot Finks reported that he was returning to base due to a fuel shortage. At 3:30pm Finks called for a bearing and was given a course of 95 degrees, but was not heard from again. Last contacted by radio by Ray C. Stubblefield.
At approximately 4;00pm, the engines began to sputter and cut out due to lack of fuel and the crew bailed out over the Hermit Islands during the span of four minutes. The empty B-24 continued to fly onward to the south.
Fates of the Crew
All crew members bailed out and their parachutes deployed. All landed in rough seas with white caps in an area approximately two miles wide to the southeast of Jalun Island.
Four of the crew could not swim and likely drown at sea: Haugrud,
Swadley, Harris and Kincaid. All four remain listed as Missing In Action (MIA) to this day.
The rest of the crew aided each other and managed to reach land in the Hermit Islands. Three days later, they found friendly natives who provide them food and shelter. With their help the surviving crew searched the outer atoll area for the four missing men using a native canoe without results.
Fourteen days after bailing out, (other sources state 9 days later) the crew was rescued by a PBY Catalina, that sighted them the day before their rescue. Afterwards, the Catalina searched the entire atoll for the four missing crew without success, then returned to base in the Admiralties. Back at base, the seven surviving crew were debriefed and returned to duty.
The four missing crew members: Haugrud, Swadley, Harris and Kincaid were officially declared dead the day of the mission and remain listed as Missing In Action (MIA). Each earned the Air Medal and Purple Heart, posthumously. All four are memorialized at Manila American Cemetery on the tablets of the missing.
Haugrud also has a memorial marker at Pelican Rapids Veteran's Memorial in Pelican Rapids, MI.
Swadley also has a memorial marker at Southland Cemetery in Grand Prairie, Texas.
Kincaid also has a memorial marker at Kearney Cemetery in Kearney, NB.
Tashjian passed away January 28, 2006. He is buried at Linwood Cemetery in Haverhill, MA.
After the crew bailed out, this B-24 continued to fly southward until it crashed into a hillside in New Guinea to the south of Wewak impacting at an elevation of 1,027' / 313m.
On October 1, 2007 Fred Olsson visited
the crash site and photographed the wreckage including the tail with the yellow stenciled serial number with the digits "240" [42-40???] and "2412" [42-412??]
. In December 2007, Fred Olsson reported the site to JPAC but did not receive any response. Afterwards, he reported the discovery to Pacific Wrecks.
Fred Olsson adds:
"The landing gear and lights wreckage in front of this about ten metres uphill. The tail is very large and about 150 metres behind. Wreckage in four main sections oriented nearly NS with front end pointing south. Very little has been scavenged from the wreck because of its remote location. Just a couple of bits of metal for native barbeques. The villagers are ready to assist in any way and they have a chopper pad now cleared about two miles down river."
The partial serial number
42-40??? (last three digits unknown) and 42-412?? (last three digits unknown) could correlate to several different B-24 Liberators, including several that remain listed as Missing In Action (MIA). Therefore, the crash site was treated as a potential MIA site.
On July 1, 2008 the crash site was again reported to JPAC by Justin Taylan on behalf of Fred Olsson. Afterwards, a team from JPAC investigated the site and located the complete serial number, confirming the identity of the bomber. Since no missing personnel were associated with the crash, no further investigations were made.
NARA World War II Army Enlistment Records - Will S Finks Jr
NARA World War II Army Enlistment Records -
NARA World War II Army Enlistment Records - Anthony A. Marisi
NARA World War II Army Enlistment Records - Joe P. Carlisle
USAF Serial Number Search Results - B-24D-150-CO Liberator 42-41246
"41246 (5th BG, 31st BS, "Droop Snoot") lost Jun 17, 1944. MACR 11968"
Missing Air Crew Report 11968 (MACR 11968) created June 18, 1944
(Page 4) Crew bailed out, abandoning ship over Mingo Island [sic Ninigo Island bail out was over Hermit Islands]
PNG Museum Aircraft Status Card - B-24D Liberator 42-41246
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - Harold A. Haugrud
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - Carl P. Swadley
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - Forest W. Harris
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - Ralph R. Kincaid
FIndAGrave - Harold A Haugrud (grave photo)
FindAGrave - Carl Page Swadley (grave photo)
FindAGrave - Corp Forest W Harris (tablets of the missing photo)
FindAGrave - Ralph Roland Kincaid (tablets of the missing photo, memorial marker photo)
FindAGrave - Charles Tashjian (photo, grave photo)
Thanks to Fred Olsson for additional information
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June 29, 2019