|Pilot F/O Delbert L. Campbell, T-120120 (survived)
Co-Pilot 2nd Lt William B. Keneally, O-672128 (survived)
Navigator / Bombardier 1st Lt Walter E. Fuller, O-415762 (MIA / KIA) New Bedford, MA
Radio T/Sgt Anthony Suszko 33231687 (survived)
Gunner S/Sgt Philip J. Mocha Jr., 13008443 (WIA, survived)
Crashed October 18, 1943 at 3:00pm
Built by North American in Inglewood, California as a B-25C-10 at a cost of $135,803.00. Delivered to the U. S. Army on January 4, 1943 and the same day flown to the Douglas Tusla modification center. On January 9, 1943 flown to Tucson, AZ. On January 12, 1943 flown back to Douglas Tusla modification center. On February 2, 1943 flown to Kellogg Airfield in Battle Creek, MI. On February 28, 1943 flown to McClellan Airfield. On March 18, 1943 ferried overseas piloted by 2nd. Lt. Paul A. Waalkes via Hickam Field on a ferry flight to Australia arriving on March 26, 1943.
Assigned to the 5th Air Force, 38th Bombardment Group, 405th Bombardment Squadron on April 18, 1943. Nicknamed "Daisy Mae" in capital letters with the nose art of a girl wearing a blouse and skirt standing on her toes. Converted to model C-1 strafer variant at the 4th Air Depot at Garbutt Field near Townsville.
Afterwards, this B-25 operated from 17-Mile Drome (Durand) near Port Moresby.
On May 12, 1943 flew its first combat mission. This B-25 flew a total of at least ten combat missions prior to being lost.
When lost, engines R-2600-13 serial numbers: 41-31179 and 41-30567. Weapons aboard were .50 caliber machine guns serial numbers 103639, 237420, 449212, 450375, 356973, 416885, 343206, 456717, 198064 and 669724. Also, .30 caliber machine guns serial numbers 33429 and 121471. Small arms aboard were a Thompson submachine gun serial number 490418 and two Springfield .30 caliber rifles M1903 serial numbers 1039917 and 2238857. This B-25 was officially condemned due to accident on October 19, 1943.
On October 18, 1943 took off from 17-Mile Drome (Durand) near Port Moresby on "Mission #290 AA" a bombing mission against Tobera Airfield near Rabaul. On the return flight, it became lost in bad weather and clipped a ridge. Pilot Campbell climbed to 17,000' and ordered the crew to bail out. Campbell was the last parachute out, landing about 12 miles northeast of Rorona (Rarona) near 30 Mile Drome (Rogers). Just as he left the bomber, it ran out of gas, and started in a diving turn. When this B-25 failed to return, it was officially declared Missing In Action (MIA).
When reported as missing,
B-25s from the 38th Bombardment Group supervised a general search for this bomber and also notified 5th Fighter Command. Due to the bad weather, no search was initiated until October 19, 1943 when a B-25 searched from Yule Island to the west towards the mountains, south to Rorona and over the sea and along the southern coastline. No trace of the B-25, the crew or parachutes were observed. During the afternoon, three other B-25s from the 822nd Bombardment Squadron also searched without result. On October 20, 1943 another B-25 searched without result. Also, a Tiger Moth and Piper L-4 Cub searched the Rorona area. Also, ANGAU personnel and natives at Rorona searched on foot.
Fates of the Crew
After bailing out, 1st Lt Walter E. Fuller was never seen again and remains Missing In Action (MIA).
The other four members of the crew were rescued.
Natives found Sgt Mocha in the jungle northwest of Rarona
with a broken right ankle and a fractured spine which caused a complete paralysis of both his legs. He refused to be moved until natives made a stretcher to transport him and provided him food and water. Afterwards, natives carried Mocha by stretcher to 30 Mile Drome (Rogers). On arrival, his serious condition was assessed and a C-47 Dakota was dispatched to transport him back to Port Moresby where he was admitted to the 171st Hospital.
The other three survivors: Campbell, Keneally and Suszko walked into a rubber plantation roughly five miles northwest
of Rarona and were taken to 30 Mile Drome (Rogers) on October 19, 1943 and returned to duty.
Fuller was officially declared dead the day of the mission. He is memorialized on the tablets of the missing at Manila American Cemetery.
Individual Aircraft Record Card (IARC) - B-25C Mitchell Serial Number 42-32262
Missing Air Crew Report 962 (MACR 962)
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC)
- Walter E. Fuller
FindAGrave - 1Lt Walter E Fuller
PNG Museum Aircraft Status Card - B-25C Mitchell 42-32262
Sun Setters of the Southwest Pacific Area pages 228, 230, AII-6, AII-15
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February 14, 2020