|Pilot 1st Lt. Harlan H. Peterson (MIA / KIA) IA
Co-Pilot 2nd Lt. Lloyd S. Durmeyer (MIA / KIA) LA
Radio T/Sgt William J. Schneider, 36228290 (MIA / KIA) WI
Engineer S/Sgt Willie F. Free,14138218 (MIA / KIA) GA
Gunner S/Sgt Micahel R. Korczynski, 12027061 (MIA / KIA) NY
Photographer S/Sgt Fred W. Behling, 12038642 5th Combat Camera Unit (MIA / KIA) NJ
Crashed October 18, 1943
Built by North American Aviation (NAA). Constructors Number 87-8221. Delivered to the U. S. Army Air Force (USAAF) as B-25D-5 Mitchell serial number 41-30056. Ferried overseas via Hickam Field then across the Pacific to Australia.
Assigned to the 5th Air Force, 345th Bombardment Group, 500th Bombardment Squadron during March 1943 Assigned to pilot by Dougherty with crew chief Jones. Nicknamed "Sorry Satchul". Converted to D-1 strafer at the 4th Air Depot at Garbutt Field in Townsville. When lost engine R-2600-13 serial numbers (left) 41-26570 and (right) 41-28624, weapon serial numbers unknown.
On October 18, 1943 took off from Dobodura piloted by Peterson on a bombing mission against Rabaul without fighter escort. Aboard was photographer SSgt Behling from the 5th Combat Camera Unit (5th CCU). Over the target, this B-25 along with B-25D "Tondelayo" 41-30669 and B-25D "SNAFU" 41-30054 attacked a 6,000 ton ship off Vunapope. Reportly, the turret gunner Korczynski shot down two attacking fighters before their bomber's left engine was hit and they dropped out of formation. After sucessfully ditching in St. Georges Channel, the bomber was strafed by 7-8 enemy fighters. The entire crew was killed. The 500th BS received a distinguished unit citation for this mission.
The entire crew was officially declared dead on January 14, 1946. All are memorialized on the tablets of the missing at Manila American Cemetery.
USAF Serial Number Search Results - B-25D-5 Mitchell 41-30056
"30056 (345th BG, 500th BS) lost Oct 18, 1943, Papua New Guinea. MACR 987"
Missing Air Crew Report 987 (MACR 987) created October 22, 1943
Gunfight at Rabaul pages 24-28
PNG Museum Aircraft Status Card - B-25D Mitchell 41-30056
Warpath Across The Pacific pages 49, 68-69, 194, 366, 391
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March 30, 2020