|Pilot 1st Lt. Bennett G. Wilson, O-384791 (MIA / KIA) MO
Co-Pilot 2nd Lt. Luther P. Smith, Jr., O-427778 (MIA / KIA) MS
Bombardier T/Sgt Luther B. Word, Jr., 6973540 (MIA / KIA) Dublin, GA
Engineer Cpl Leaburn D. Myers, 14029318 (MIA / KIA) TN
Radio Sgt. Lloyd M. Bailey, 504710 RAAF (MIA / KIA) Southbrook, QLD
Turret Gunner Cpl. Henry R. Sheppard, 6973526 (MIA / KIA) GA
Crashed May 25, 1942
Built by North American in Inglewood, California, the seventeenth B-25C produced. Delivered to the U. S. Army. Ferried overseas via Hawaii to Australia.
Assigned to the 5th Air Force, 3rd Bombardment Group, 90th Bombardment Squadron. No known nickname or nose art.
On May 25, 1942 took off from 7-MIle Drome near Port Moresby for a bombing mission against Lae Airfield and installations at Lae. Following the bombing run, the formation was intercepted by A6M2 Zeros of the Tainan Kokutai near Lae. One of five 3rd BG B-25 shot down on this strike.
The entire crew was officially declared Missing In Action (MIA). The American crew members were listed as MIA and officially declared dead the day on December 4, 1945 and are memorialized on the tablets of the missing at Manila American Cemetery. Australian Bailey was declared dead the day of the mission and is memorialized on the Lae Memorial, panel 7.
T/Sgt Luther B. Word, Jr. was awarded the Silver Star for actions on April 29, 1942 while a crew member on a reconnaissance mission over Buna. He was the only son of Mr. & Mrs. Luther Word of Dublin, Georgia.
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RAAF Status Card: "Last seen losing altitude in the vicinity of Lae Airdrome, and it is believed that both engines had been put out of action by Japanese gun fire. Believed to have crashed in the vicinity of the airdrome."
90th Bomb Group History
PNG Museum Aircraft Status Card - B-25C Mitchell 41-12450
Thanks to Edward Rogers for additional information
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February 14, 2020