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The regular crew was 1st Lt. Ralph G. Wallace, co-pilot 2nd Lt. Edward J. Hick, engineer SSgt Weldon Isler, radio SSgt Burton E. Eaton and turret gunner SSgt John A. Murphy. Known combat missions include: September 27, 1943 against Wewak, with with Wallace piloting October 12, 1943 over Wewak (one Zero claimed), with with Wallace piloting.
On October 18, 1943 took off from Dobodura on a bombing mission over Rabaul without fighter escort. Over the target, this B-25 plus along with B-25D "Sorry Satchul" 41-30056 and B-25D "SNAFU" 41-30054 attacked a 6,000 ton ship off Vunapope. One of its engines was shot out, and the bomber engaged in a seventy-five minute aerial battle with a reported fifty Japanese fighters as it returned to base. Both of the wing men in the flight were shot down. During the escape, turret gunner Murphy was credited with five victories, plus four others credited that crashed into the sea, attempting to attack the bomber skimming the surface of the ocean, and misjudging their attacks. It successfully returned to base with heavy damage. The 500th BS received a distinguished unit citation for this mission, and this was the most famous mission for "Tondelayo".
Extensive damage kept it out of action for six months as the wing and both engines were replaced. "Tondelayo" became the most famous in the 345th BG, and at one time there was even discussion of bring the aircraft back to the United States for a war bond tour.
Instead, it rejoined the 500th BG in the middle of May 1944 after its repairs. Flown by 1st Lt. Frederick W. Dick and crew chief T/Sgt Walter W. Sabo and Puckett. Known combat missions include: July 30, 1944 piloted by Dick against Halmahera. August 9, 1944 piloted by Bagshaw against Wasile Bay. Also September 16, 1944 piloted by Dick against Gorontalo. It flew combat missions until fall of 1944, when the unit was equipped with new B-25J Mitchells.
This bomber was regulated to non-combat missions, stripped to natural metal finish and all armament removed and assigned to the 501st BS, but served as a hack for the entire 345th BG. Nicknamed "Chow Hound" with a cartoon of the Disney character Pluto carrying picnic basket. Assigned to T/Sgt Adolp K. Singerman. Preformed 'fat cat' runs from Australia to Biak where the 345th Bombardment Group was based at the time.
Out of fuel, it force landed on the beach at Catanduanes Island on March 30, 1945. The bomber touched down in the sea and skidded across the beach until finally impacting into a small hill. All of the crew were injured in the crash, except Mazerolle One of the crew members was severely injured in the crash, and it took hours of work with the plane's fire ax to cut into the wreckage to free the trapped passengers.
The island was mostly controlled by Filipino guerrillas, who took the crew to Tilod, where they were fed and injuries treated. The next day, part of the crew was taken by canoe to a nearby town where they attended a parade and party, before being then taken to Leyte with guerrillas in a sailboat canoe, but were met by a US Navy destroyer and picked up.
Pilot Cavins stayed behind with the wounded passenger Peters, and after the rest of the crew was picked up by destroyer, a PBY Catalina was dispatched to Tilod to pickup them up. It failed to reach them until April 4t, 1945 transported the crew to San Marcelino Airfield. Ironically, the PBY's nose wheel failed to extend, and force landed, but no one was hurt in that crash.
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