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|Pilot 1st Lt. Fred H. Carter, O-740056 (MIA / KIA) Sacramento, CA
Co-Pilot 2nd Lt. Arthur E. Cole Jr., O-679715 (MIA / KIA) North Bonneville, WA
Navigator 1st Lt. Frank B. Mitchell, O-670780 (MIA / KIA) Fruita, CO
Bombardier 1st Lt Jack Edward Daniel, O-668706 (MIA / KIA) Blacksburg, SC
Engineer TSgt Claude L. Locke, 35209813 (MIA / KIA) Saint Marys, WV
Assist. Engineer SSgt Leon Roberson, 37102692 (MIA / KIA) Searcy, AR
Radio TSgt Leo E. Fontaine, 11033879 (MIA / KIA) Hartford, CT
Assist. Radio SSgt Russell J. Picard, 18149304 (MIA / KIA) Lake Charles, LA
Gunner Sgt Charlie C. Plott, 19018059 (MIA / KIA) Dallas, TX
Armorer Gunner SSgt Edward J. Shahan, 38187482 (MIA / KIA) Shreveport, LA
Observer 2nd Lt. William D. Baldwin, O-743807 (MIA / KIA) Bellflower, CA
Crashed February 12, 1944
Built by Consolidated at San Diego. Constructors Number 2388. Delivered to the U. S. Army Air Force (USAAF) as B-24D-160-CO Liberator serial number 42-72818. 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 R-1830-65 serial numbers: 42-9028. 42-89961, 42-90012, 42-90462. Weapon serial numbers not noted in Missing Air Crew Report 2282 (MACR 2282).
On February 12, 1944 took off from Munda Airfield on New Georgia piloted by 1st Lt. Fred H. Carter a bombing mission against Rabaul. During the bomb run at 12:01pm, this bomber was hit by anti-aircraft fire causing a large hole halfway down the fuselage roughly 5' long by 1.5-2' wide.
Damaged, this B-24 broke from the formation and was observed to dive to roughly 2,000' making a long, slow left turn with white smoke coming from the no. 1 engine. Around 1,000' with two engines smoking, one on each wing, it rolled over into a cloud. One or possibly two parachutes were seen before it exploded in a bright orange flash and crashed near Wunawatang Plantation northwest of Vunakanau Airfield. Other B-24s in the formation believed they saw gunners on the ground firing at the parachute while it descended.
This B-24 crashed into a forested area near Wunawatang Plantation at roughly Lat 4.20 Long 152.09. Afterwards, the remains of the crew were buried at the crash site either by the Japanese or local people.
Recovery of Remains
Postwar, the crash site was visited by Allied remains recovery teams on at least three occasions.
The first visit was by two Australians who visted the crash site and recovered the remains of four of the crew.
During February 1948, American Graves Registration Service (AGRS) Search and Recovery Expedition Number 2 visited the crash site and recovered the remains of some of the crew.
On June 17, 1949 another team from AGRS returned and recovered additional remains. Afterwards, the recovered remains were transported to the United States for permanently burial.
The entire crew was officially declared dead the day of the mission. After the recovery of remains, the crew were buried at Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery at section 79 site 78-80. Daniel also has a memorial marker at Oakland Cemetery in Gaffney, SC.
Mark Daniel Hicks (nephew of Jack Edward Daniel)
"My uncle, Jack Edward Daniel, was the bombardier on this plane. The plane was called the 'Wicked Wench'. I have photos and much history on Jack's crew. I have the MACR and the Search and Recovery report. I have visited the crew burial at Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery. I have written a 300+ documentary on his lift, his military life, and his death. It is a tremendous story. I have every letter that he wrote home. The love for his family is tremendous. I have been in contact with those who were eyewitnesses of his plane going down."
USAF Serial Number Search Results - B-24D-160-CO Liberator 42-72818
"72818 (307th BG) lost Feb 12, 1944. MACR 2282."
Missing Air Crew Report 2282 (MACR 2282)
American Graves Registration Service (Pacific Zone) "293.9 (Carter, Fred H., Jr.) June 17, 1949
"Your attention is invited to the inclosed report of investigation on New Britain conducted by Search and Recovery Expedition Number 2 from this headquarters [American Graves Registration AGRS] during February 1949 aboard LST 711.
This report concerns the recovery of remains from a crashed B-24 aircraft, AAF serial number 42-72818."
PNG Museum Aircraft Status Card - B-24D Liberator 42-72818
"The Last Mission" research by Mark Hicks
FindAGrave - Lieut Fred H. Carter, Jr (photos, group burial photo)
FindAGrave - Lieut Arthur E Cole, Jr (photos, group burial photo)
FindAGrave - Frank B Mitchell (photos, group burial photo)
FindAGrave - Lieut Jack E Daniel (photos, group burial photo)
FindAGrave - Lieut Jack E. Daniel (memorial marker photo)
FindAGrave - Claude L Locke (photos, group burial photo)
FindAGrave - Leon Roberson (photos, group burial photo)
FindAGrave - Leo E Fontaine (photos, group burial photo)
FindAGrave - Russell J Picard (photos, group burial photo)
FindAGrave - Sgt Charlie Carter "Jake" Plott (photos, group burial photo)
FindAGrave - Edward J Shahan (photos, group burial photo)
FindAGrave - Lieut William D Baldwin (photos, group burial photo)
Thanks to Brian Bennett, Daniel Hicks and Pete Johnston for additional information
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