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John L. Fabale
Crash Lands In The Jungle

John L. Fabale passed away in 1974. This article was sent by his son, John Fabale Jr. It was orginally published in a US Army-Air Force periodical and Stanley Works Company newsletter. Also, thanks to his daughter Linda McMasters for additional information.

John FabaleA five-day, 50 mile journey through the New Guinea jungle on foot and by native canoe has brought First Lieutenant John L. Fabale of New Britain, CT to saftey after he crash-landed his B-25 medium bomber. At the time of the forced landing Fabale and his crew and passenger list of nine were within 15 miles of hostile natives, and only 22 miles from Jap units still holed up in [ Wewak ] area of New Guinea.

B-25D "The Wolf Pack" Serial 41-30099

All Air Force personnel aboard the plane were members of the Air Apaches, hard-hititng bomber-strafer outfit which has been hounfing the Japs for 17 months from New Guinea right up to the fringes of the Philippines.

When the engines suddenly failed as the plane was flying across a valley over dense tropical jungle, Lieutenant Fabale located the only clearing and skillfully set the plane down in a kunai grass marsh. No one was injured during the landing.

After staying in the plane that night, a search party the next day located natives only a few miles away. Though of a remote tribe with but a smattering of pidgin, universal Pacific language, the natives proved friendly, especially after gifts of clothing, fish hooks and razor blades. Passed from village to village by canoe and jungle trails the party of Americans after five days arrived at an Australian rescue outpost.

Though their feet were constantly soaked from jungle much, and despite mosquitoes, minor cuts and scratches, ans a strict ration of cigarettes and one meal of emergency rations per day, all reached saftey in good shape save for loss of wieght.

A pleasant surprise awaited Fabale upon his return to his unit. During his absence he had been promoted from Second Lieutenant to First Lieutenant.

A son of Mr. and Mrs. Lousi Fabale of 242 Burritt Street, New Britain, CT, Lieutenant Fabale graduated from New Britain High School in 1939. Before entering the Army Air Force in April, 1943, he was employed at the Stanley Works, in Dept. 56. Upon completing his flying training, he was commissioned in March 1943. Lieutenant Fabale was sent overseas in February this year, and joined the Air Apaches in March. Since then he has completed 36 missions during 250 air hours, and has been awarded the Air Medal. A brother, Seaman Second Class Dominic A. Fabale is in the Navy.

During their 17 months in the Southwest Pacific the Air Apaches, a topnotch unit of the Fifth Air Force, have compiled a score of 163 enemy vessels sunk, plus 218 Nip planes destroyed on the ground and another 99 in the air.

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