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  B-26 Marauder Serial Number 40-1400  
5th AF
22nd BG
33rd BS

Pilot  Captain William A. Garnett, O-21982 C.O. 33rd BS (MIA / KIA) Gainesville, TX
Co-Pilot  2nd Lt Frank A. Corts, O-420576 (MIA / KIA) NY
Navigator 2nd Lt Newell A. Wells, O-433117 (MIA / KIA) TX
Bombardier  2nd Lt William Crooks, O-432968 (MIA / KIA) AR
Engineer  Cpl Sanger E. Reed, 6990404 (POW, survived) IN
  SSgt Theron K. Lutz, 6833758 (POW, survived) NJ
Gunner  Cpl Reese S. Davies, 6991607 (MIA / KIA) OH
Crashed  April 18, 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 40-1400.

Wartime History
Assigned to the 22nd Bombardment Group (22nd BG), 33rd Bombardment Squadron (33rd BS). No known nickname or nose art. Assigned to 2nd Lt. James W. Oliver who flew overseas via Hickam Field across the Pacific arriving at Amberly Field near Brisbane on April 2, 1942. This B-26 flew its first combat mission on April 10, 1942.

On April 17, 1942 took off from Antil Plains Airfield and staged through Garbutt Field near Townsville then took off for 7-Mile Drome near Port Moresby and spent the night parked at the airfield.

Mission History
On April 18, 1942 at 7-Mile Drome pilot Captain William A. Garnett (C.O. 33rd Bombardment Squadron) was scheduled to lead the mission against Rabaul but the both engines failed to start. The other five B-26s departed as planned, but on the way to the target, three aborted due to bad weather and returned to base. The two remaining bombers attacked alone, with B-26 40-1486 bombing Lakunai Airfield and B-26 "Shittenengitten" 40-1404 bombing Komaki Maru in Simpson Harbor.

Meanwhile, at 7-Mile Drome, the crew drained the batteries and attempting to start the engines then hand cranking each engine before they finally started. An hour behind schedule, this B-26 proceeded to the target alone. Arriving after the other two others had bombed around noon, this B-26 was intercepted by two Tainan Kokutai (Tainan Air Group) A6M2 Zeros and attacked from the rear by A6M2 Zero piloted by Lt(jg) Junichi Sasai. Hit the left engine and set it on fire, Garnett ordered the crew to bail out. Only Lutz and Reed managed to bail out before the plane completely on fire crashed into the sea near shore. The other five crew members were killed in the crash.

Fates of the Prisoners
Lutz and Reed bail out, their parachutes opening just before landing, Lutz landed in the sea and was taken ashore by a native in a canoe. Reed touched down on land, hid his parachute and reached the shore then ran along the beach. Both were captured by the Japanese Army and became Prisoners Of War (POW)s and transported to Rabaul where they were interrogated by an officer who shouted and beat them. Later they were held in a cage, interrogated further and threated with death.

After roughly two months, they were placed aboard an aircraft carrier, but offloaded when it sortied for the Battle of the Coral Sea. Instead, they were put aboard a cargo ship and transported to Tokyo and detained at Ofuna Camp. Later, confined at a baseball stadium at Yokohama and later worked at Asano Ship Works and oil pressing plant and brick works. A year later, Reed was transfer and officially listed as a POW and was held in Yokohama and later transfered to Niigata and reunited with Lutz and both worked at stevedores.

At the end of the war, Lutz was liberated from Tokyo POW Camp (Shinjuku). Reed was liberated from the Yacht Club Camp (Civilian Internment Camp) along Tokyo Bay. Both were the only 22nd Bombardment Group airmen who were captured and survived Japanese captivity.

The five crew killed in the crash were officially declared dead the day of the mission. Garnett, Corts, Wells, Crooks and Davies are memorialized on the tablets of the missing at Manila American Cemetery.

Garnett earned the Air Medal and Purple Heart, posthumously.

Corts earned the Air Medal and Purple Heart, posthumously.

Wells earned the Air Medal and Purple Heart, posthumously.

Crooks earned the Air Medal and Purple Heart, posthumously. He also has a memorial marker at Granger City Cemetery in Granger, TX at section 7.

Davies earned the Air Medal and Purple Heart, posthumously. He also has a memorial marker at Ferncliff Cemetery in Springfield, OH in the World War II section.

USAF Serial Number Search Results - B-26 40-1400
"1400 (22nd BG, 408th BS [sic]) shot down by A6M2 flown by Lt Jg Junichi Sasai of Tainan Kokutai Apr 18, 1942 in attack on Rabaul. 4 KIA, 3 POW. 5 KIA, 2 POW also quoted."
PNG Museum Aircraft Status Card - B-26 40-1400
NARA WWII POW Data File - Theron K. Lutz
NARA WWII POW Data File - Sanger E. Reed
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - William A. Garnett

American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - Frank A. Corts
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - Newell A. Wells
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - William Crooks
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - Reese S. Davies

FindAGrave - Capt William Ames Garnett (tablets of the missing)
FindAGrave - 2Lt Frank A. Corts (tablets of the missing)
FindAGrave - 2Lt Newell A. Wells (tablets of the missing)
FindAGrave - Lieut Newell A. Wells (memorial marker photo)
FindAGrave - 2Lt William Crooks (tablets of the missing photo)
FindAGrave - Sanger E. Reed (photo)
FindAGrave - Theron K. Lutz (grave photo)
FindAGrave - Corp Reese S. Davies (tablets of the missing)
FindAGrave - Corp Reese S. Davies (memorial marker photo)
Revenge of the Red Raiders (2006) pages 74, 76, 83 (Garnett photo) 471-472, 499

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Last Updated
June 5, 2021


Tech Info

5 Missing
2 Prisoners
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