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John Douglas 2008
|Pilot 1st Lt. Duncan A. Seffern, O-431539 (survived) WI
Co-Pilot 2nd Lt. James A. Michael, O-431469 (MIA / KIA) OK
Bombardier Sgt Paul L. Ramsey (survived)
Navigator 2nd Lt. Carroll W. Casteel, O-433977 (MIA / KIA) Oakland, MD
Gunner Tom Riley (survived)
Radio Sgt Kenneth R. Gundling (survived)
Engineer Sgt George T. Rickman (survived)
Passenger Vern Haugland (survived) Litchfield, MN
Crashed August 7, 1942
Over the Coral Sea a half hour from their destination the flight encountered bad weather. This bomber and B-26 "Dixie" 40-1496 attempted to fly above the weather, but the entire New Guinea area covered in cloud. Both bombers became separated from each other and both were lost.
Rescue of the Crew
Michael and Haugland found each other on Mount Suckling. They separated on August 16, 1942, in hopes one would find help sooner. Haugland found a village in early September and was later taken to a missionaries then to Abau Island then back to Port Moresby on September 23rd, weighing only 90 pounds (down from 165). After August 16, Michael was never seen again and remains Missing In Action (MIA).
Rickman bailed out with minor wound to his lip and after being caught in a tree. He walked to a village and was rescued by a RAAF Tiger Moth returned to Port Moresby in a week, the first person from the crew to return.
Riley landed near the summit of Mount Suckling and reached a village after ten days without food on the mountain. After recovering in the village he was taken to Wanagilla Mission and met Reverend Dennis J. Taylor. When Japanese forces were reported to have landed at Gona, they left the mission and trekked for two weeks to an outpost and were evacuated by boat from Abau Island to Port Moresby arriving on September 30.
Gundling was wounded bailing out, breaking three ribs and puncturing his lung when his chute opened and dislocated his shoulder, and had to snap it back into place himself. He found a village after sixteen days in the jungle. Treated by an Australian soldier, he was sent to another village and by boat to Port Moresby and recovered in the hospital there.
Ramsey found a village after eight days, before he was found by a patrol officer and returned to Port Moresby.
Seffern spent six days in the jungle before finding natives and an Australian patrol officer. Taken to Abau Island, he was later returned by boat to Port Moresby on August 29. A week later, he returned to flying combat missions. On January 10, 1943 Seffern was killed piloting B-26 "Diana's Demon" 40-1495 that crashed during take off.
Michael also has a memorial marker at Temple Masonic Cemetery in Temple, OK.
Haugland passed away on September 15, 1984. He passed away in Reno, NV attending an Eagle Squadron Association, writing a trilogy about their service. His widow completed the third of the series. His cremated remains were scattered over the Pacific Ocean by an Eagle Squadron pilot. Haugland's papers are available at the Maureen and Mike Mansfield Library, Archives and Special Collections, The University of Montana.
Rickman passed away December 24, 1987. He is buried at Appomattox Cemetery in Hopewell, VA.
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