|Pilot 2nd Lt. George P. Voitier, O-750489 (MIA / KIA) Farmerville, LA
Co-Pilot 2nd Lt. Carl D. Broman, O-756167 (MIA / KIA) Lakewood, CO
Engineer S/Sgt Arnold A. Smith, 31155960 (MIA / KIA) Kly, VT
Radio TSgt Americo Santillo, 32377601 (MIA / KIA) Auburn, NY
Gunner SSgt Dean S. Kraps, 36459297 (MIA / KIA) MI
Photographer SSgt Don F. Estep, 6294063 (MIA / KIA) Fort Smith, AR
Crashed August 13, 1944 at 12:21pm
Built by North American. Delivered to the U. S. Army Air Force (USAAF) as B-25D-5 Mitchell serial number 41-30084. Ferried overseas via Hickam Field then across the Pacific to the South West Pacific Area (SWPA).
On May 17, 1944 assigned to the 345th Bombardment Group, 501st Bombardment Squadron. Nicknamed "Hung Lo".
On August 13, 1944 one of six bombers that took off from Mokmer Drome on Biak on a strike mission against Lolobata village west of the Loelie River on on Halmahera. After strafing the target and a lugger, the formation passed over an anti-aircraft gun position and this B-25 was hit in the left engine at low altitude. Damaged, the left wing struck the sea and snapped off, then the right wing hit and the tail broke off as it crashed into the shallow water of Wasile Bay roughly 90 yards off shore. The crash site was off the eastern shore of Wasile Bay and the Kali Tiga River.
Fates of the Crew
The remaining B-25s circled for 90 minutes to protect the crew. At least three crewman survived the
ditching. Two were on the wing and waved to the other B-25s and a third was wounded getting first aid. Low on fuel, the B-25s departed and the crew were never seen again. Presumably, all were captured by the Japanese and otherwise killed or died. Reportedly, one was buried on the beach.
Air-Sea Rescue was notified at 15:30 and OA-10 Catalina "Daylight 12" was ordered to the area, arriving after dark but failed to locate the crew. The next day, all aircraft in the area were advised to keep a look-out for this B-25 crew, but no search was possible due to bad weather. On August 15, OA-10 Catalina "Daylight 1" searched, but made nil sighting. The next day, missions and further searches were impossible due to bad weather. During one of the searches, a Catalina pilot sighted two empty life rafts and debris, possibly this aircraft in the area of the crash, but no other trace was found.
The entire crew was officially declared dead on February 26, 1946. All are memorialized on the tablets of the missing at Manila American Cemetery.
Mike Fields (nephew)
Warpath Across The Pacific 178, 179, 371, 388
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - George P. Voitier
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - Carl D. Broman
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - Arnold A. Smith
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - Americo Santillo
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - Dean S. Kraps
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - Don F. Estep
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February 14, 2020