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  B-26 "Lil Deicer" Serial Number 40-1390  
5th AF
22nd BG
408th BS

Former Assignments
18th RS

Click For Enlargement
Justin Taylan 2006
Pilot  2nd Lt. Robert "Bud" M. Rye (KIA, BR) AR
Co-Pilot  Lt. John A. Phipps (KIA, BR) IN
Passenger  Lt. Jack W. Oliver (KIA, BR) KS
Bombardier  Lt. James W. Currie (KIA, BR) MN
Engineer  S/Sgt. George H. Bullock (KIA, BR) NY
Crew Chief  T/Sgt. John E. Cunningham (KIA, BR) NY
Engineer  Cpl. Duward R. Davis, Jr. (KIA, BR) KS
Mechanic  Cpl. Joseph A. Kovach (KIA, BR) NJ
Crashed  May 15, 1942
MACR  none

Aircraft History
Built by Martin in Baltimore, Maryland. Delivered to the U.S. Army Air Force (USAAF) as B-26 Marauder serial number 40-1390. Assigned to the 22nd Bombardment Group (22nd BG), 18th Reconnaissance Squadron (18th RS)and sent overseas to Australia. On April 22, 1942 the redesignated 408th Bombardment Squadron (408th BS). Nicknamed "Lil Deicer". Ferried overseas via Hickam Field piloted by 1st Lt. Dill B. Ellis then across the Pacific to Amberley Field near Brisbane arriving February 22, 1942.

Wartime History
On May 4, 1942 took off on its first bombing mission against Vunakanau Airfield near Rabaul.

Mission History
On May 15, 1942 in the late afternoon took off from Reid River Airfield piloted by Lt. Robert M. Rye on a ferry flight bound for Townsville. During take off an engine failed causing it to crash off the eastern edge of the runway. The entire crew was killed on impact.

The crash site remains with small pieces of debris in situ.

Recovery of Remains
The remains of the crew were recovered and transported to the United States for permanent burial.

The entire crew was officially declared dead the day of the mission.

Three of the crew are buried at National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific (Punchbowl). Phipps at section F site 17, Oliver at section B site 395 and Currie at section B site 316-S.

Rye is buried at Oakland Cemetery in Russellville, AR.

Currie is buried at Fort Snelling National Cemetery at section B, site 316-S.

Bullock is buried at Calvary Cemetery in Utica, NY.

Cunningham is buried at Calvary Cemetery in Woodside, NY at section 47, plot 129, grave 14.

Davis was buried on March 14, 1949 at Ridge Park Cemetery in Marshall, MO.

Kovach is buried at North Hardyston Cemetery in Hamburg, NJ.

NARA World War II Army Enlistment Records - John A. Phipps
NARA World War II Army Enlistment Records - Jack W. Oliver
NARA World War II Army Enlistment Records - James W. Currie
NARA World War II Army Enlistment Records - George H. Bullock
USAF Serial Number Search Results - B-26 40-1390

"1390 (22nd BG, 33rd BS) crashed on takeoff at Reid River, Australia May 15, 1942. 8 killed"
FindAGrave - Lieut Robert Henry “Bud” Rye (photo, grave photos)
FindAGrave - John Aden Phipps (grave photo)
FindAGrave - Jack Ward Oliver (photo, grave photo)
FindAGrave - 2LT James William Currie (grave photo)
FindAGrave - George H. Bullock (grave)
FindAGrave - TSGT John E Cunningham, Jr (grave photo)
FindAGrave - Corp Durward Rucker Davis, Jr (grave photo)
FindAGrave - Corp Joseph A. Kovach (grave photos)
Revenge of the Red Raiders (2006) page 504

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Last Updated
June 5, 2021


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