|Pilot 2nd Lt. John H. Carroll Jr., O-765225 (MIA / KIA) Portland, OR
Co-Pilot 2nd Lt William H. Gill, O-759587 (MIA / KIA) Wauwatosa, WI
Radio S/Sgt Edward Gerstenzang, 12082898 (MIA / KIA) New York, NY
Gunner Sgt Alva F. Gumlaw, 32373733 (MIA / KIA) Schuyler Falls, NY
Gunner Sgt Charles W. Lunsford, 35730036 (MIA / KIA, BR) Hickman, KY
MIA November 12, 1944
Built by North American. Delivered to the U. S. Army. Ferried overseas across the Pacific.
Assigned to the 13th Air Force, 42nd Bombardment Group, 390th Bombardment Squadron. No known nose art or nickname.
On November 12, 1944 took off from Sansapor Airfield in western New Guinea on a low level bombing and strafing mission against Pegun Island (Mapia) in the Mapia Island Group. This B-25 was part of the first element.
Over the target, as the first element made a bomb run over Pegun Island (Mapia).
This B-25 was believed to have been shot down by anti-aircraft fire and crashed onto the island.
2nd Lt John W. Beach via Missing Air Crew Report 15273 (MACR 15273) page 7:
"We were to make a wide circle and come in from the east after the first element until they dropped their bombs but looked away for a few seconds. When I looked back at the island, I saw a large column of black smoke. As part of our mission, we made a strafing run from south to north. When we passed over the black smoke I saw one part of a wing with the United States Air Force insignia (star). Being very low, I did not see any sign of anyone leaving the area. In my opinion, the plane was completely demolished."
2nd Lt. William R. Fry via Missing Air Crew Report 15273 (MACR 15273) page 8:
"We were engaged in a low altitude bombing and strafing mission over Pegun Island. We were in right echelon during the run. We had dropped our bombs and started strafing the island. Traces off my right wing caused me to look back. I immediately saw the last plane on fire and making a climbing turn to the right. I had the impression that the left rudder and part of the left elevator were gone. The plane seemed to stall out and do a slow roll to the right until it was on its back. It was just a mass of flame as it started to dive and I lost sight of it. I didn't see any one leave the ship."
Sgt Donald R. Fletcher via Missing Air Crew Report 15273 (MACR 15273) page 9:
"When I first saw Lt. Carroll's plane, we were going in on our target run with our bomb-bay doors open. I saw Lt. Carroll drop his bombs just before reaching the shore. He was on our right wing at a distance of approximately 75 feet, a hundred yards back, and about 30 or 50 feet below us. Soon after our run I again saw Lt. Carroll's plane but this time it was on fire, and climbing. Fire was coming to of the plane's bomb bay but the only apparent damage I could see was that only the frame work was left on the nose. After climbing to about 500 feet turning over on his back and hanging like that for a second, the plane nosed down, hitting the ground at a ninety degree angle. The plane exploded when it hit the ground. It is my opinion that no one survived the crash."
When this B-25 failed to return the entire crew was declared Missing In Action (MIA).
This B-25 crashed on Pegun Island (Mapia). The crash site was visited either during the U. S. Army landing on the island during November 1944 or postwar during the late 1940s by Army Graves Registration Service (AGRS).
Recovery of Remains
When the crash site was located, the remains of three of the crew were recovered. Later, using dental charts the remains of Lunsford, Vozniak and Scott were identified.
The entire crew was officially declared dead the day of the mission. Four of the crew: Carrol, Gill, Gerstenzang and Wallock are memorialized on the tablets of the missing at Manila American Cemetery. Gill also has a memorial marker at Arlington Park Cemetery in Greenfield, WI.
Postwar, the remains of Lunsford, Vozniak and Scott were identified and transported to the Philippines and United States for permanent burial.
Scott was buried at at Manila American Cemetery at Plot A Row 3 Grave 40.
Lunsford is buried during 1948 at Hickman City Cemetery in Hickman, KY.
Vozniak was buried in 1948 at Saint Marys Ukrainian Catholic Cemetery in Elkins Park, PA at plot A, 5, 107-1 PAS.
Carl Snow (relative of John H. Carroll, Jr.)
Austin Hawkinson (great nephew of William Gill)
"William Gill is my great uncle. His brother was also killed in a crash in the European theater and I have spent time the last 13 or so years just trying to find out what I can about both wrecks."
NARA World War II Army Enlistment Records - William H. Gill
World War II Army Enlistment Records - Nicholas S. Vozniak
Missing Air Crew Report 15273 (MACR 15273) does not list passengers aboard aircraft
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - John H. Carroll Jr.
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - William H. Gill
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - Edwards S. Gerstenzang
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - Alva F. Gumlaw
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - Verner B. Scott Jr. date of death listed as August 19, 1944
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - Daniel F. Wallock date of death listed as August 19, 1944
FindAGrave - 2Lt John H Carroll, Jr (photo, tablets of the missing photo)
FindAGrave - 2Lt William H Gill (photo, tablets of the missing)
FindAGrave - William H. Gill (memorial marker photo)
FindAGrave - SSgt Edwards S Gerstenzang (tablets of the missing photo)
FindAGrave - Sgt Alva F Gumlaw (tablets of the missing photo)
FindAGrave - Charles W Lunsford, Jr (Hickman City Cemetery)
NARA U.S., Headstone Applications for Military Veterans, 1925-1963 - Charles W. Lunsford
Thanks to Mickey Beard, Carl Snow and Austin Hawkinson for additional information
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February 14, 2020