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38th BG c1942
Dan Gillan 2007
|Pilot 1st Lt. Terrence J. Carey, O-433651 (POW, KIA executed) Fargo, ND
Co-Pilot 2nd Lt. Lauren S. Meader, O-725629 (MIA / KIA) CA
Navigator 2nd Lt. Philip E. Germain, O-437349 (MIA / KIA) Wallingford, CT
Bombardier 2nd Lt. Kenneth M. Caisse, O-659517 (MIA / KIA) Portland, OR
Radio-Gunner Sgt Paul D. McElroy, 14036314 (MIA / KIA) GA
Gunner Pfc Richard J. Conlon, 37081314 (MIA / KIA) ND
Photographer S/Sgt John A. Pagliuso, 6976910 405th BS (MIA / KIA) NY
Crashed October 5, 1942 at 8:00am
On September 5, 1942 took off from Horn Island Airfield on a flight to 7 Mile Drome near Port Moresby to stage for a bombing mission against Buna. After landing at 7 Mile Drome, this B-25 experienced engine trouble before take off and was grounded.
Outbound, the bombers reached the north coast of New Guinea and patrolled the sea off Buna and spotted smoke from two Japanese destroyers escorting a large transport, Yamaura Maru. After radioing the convoy's location, both bombers attacked.
Unseen were eighteen A6M2 Zeros from the Tainan Kokutai and 3rd Kokutai were providing top cover for the convoy. This B-25 attempted to make a bomb run from 4,000' but was intercepted by six Zeros that began making firing passes from the rear. Last seen in a steep dive trying to escape. It is unknown if it released any bombs. They were never seen again and failed to return to base. The entire crew was listed as Missing In Action (MIA).
Fates of the Crew
One of the survivors, believed to be Carey was led to Higaturu, and beheaded by the Japanese or a New Guinea native named Parere. His remains were buried in a shallow grave.
The captured Japanese diary of Kurazo Uchida from the Japanese Army, 15th Pioneers noted in his diary on October 5, 1942 that a twin enemy aircraft was "shot down 1,000 meters from our work area. Only one body [was found] others seem to be in the ground". Eight machine guns were recovered from the crash.
After the Allies reoccupied the area, natives told the Australian authorities they visited the aircraft wreckage and found two of the crew alive. Parere was apprehended, tried and executed by the Australian administration for the crime of murder.
Recovery of Remains
An isolated shallow grave was found containing a headless skeleton "in the vicinity of Soroputa" no personal belongings were found with the remains. Nearby, but not associated with the grave was Lt. Carey's officer identification bracelet. These remains were disinterred and designated unknown X-133 and temporarily in the USAF Cemetery Finschafen No. 2 (Finschafen Cemetery) at grave 3492. Although the remains were believed to be Lt. Carey, but were apparently lost by the US Army or accidentally buried as an unknown, as he is still listed as Missing In Action (MIA) today.
The fates of the remainder of the crew has never been determined. On June 29, 1949 they were officially declared non-recoverable. All are still listed as Missing In Action (MIA).
Caisse has a memorial marker at Willamette National Cemetery in Portland, OR at Section MA Site 48.
This aircraft wreck was investigated by the US Army after the occupation of the area, and noted as "the wreckage of a burned out Allied plane (probably American) was discovered near the village of Soroputa" (sic, Soputa?). At the time, natives claimed two parachutes were still in the trees, but could not be located. They also claimed two of the crew were found alive and one (Carey) was taken alive to Higaturu and never seen again.
During April 1986, David Pennefather visited this crash site and noted the tail number ending in '701', who reported the wreck to Bruce Hoy, PNG Museum who relayed the discovery to US Army CILHI via a letter.
On December 15, 1986 the crash site was surveyed by US Army CILHI representatives: Sgt Nash and Sgt Baughman. They were shown the wreckage and told of a burial site. The report concluded, "It is suggested that the recommendation of Mr Hoy to consider the crash site as a war grave continue until further research and documentation can be obtained from the Casualty Data Section, USA CILHI."
During early November 2007, the wreckage was rediscovered by Paul Ekman and Daniel Gillan and identified by the tail serial number ending in '701'.
Daniel Gillan adds:
On November 13, 2007 Cyclone Guba made landfall in Oro Province causing torrential rains and flooding. Afterwards, most of the wreckage was covered by landslides and sediment. Likely, the site will be uncovered in the future due to erosion.
During July 2010 a team from JPAC landed nearby by helicopter and performed an investigation at the crash site including the use of a metal detector.
Caisse Dog Tag
Shane Elliott adds:
Paul Terence Carey (nephew of Terrence J. Carey)
Diana Lufbery Stickle (niece of 2nd Lt. Philip E. Germain)
My late wife's uncle, Ist Lt Philip E. Germain, who's B-25 plane was shot down in the Pacific on October 5,1942 will bcome "One of The Chosen One's" on May 23,2014 at 1:00pm. Although his remains were never recovered, he is going to receive a full military memorial service and a memorial grave marker in Arlington. If Phil had lived he would have been 97 this July. Diana had this as one of the last things she wanted to complete on her bucket list. As time ran out on her, I got it done for her this month. It only took 72 years to get 1ST Lt Philip E. Germain the recognition he deserves. "
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