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  C-47-DL "Maxine" Serial Number 41-18585 Tail VH-CFL
USAAF
5th AF
374th TCG
6th TCS

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AWM October 1942

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Justin Taylan 2003
Pilot  2nd Lt. Wilson C. Cater, O-789685 (KIA / BR) Jackson, MS
Co-Pilot  SSgt Glenn E. Webb, 20823453 (MIA / KIA / BR) Wetumka, OK
Crew Chief  MSgt Donald A. Mackey, 6846419 (KIA / BR) Chambersburg, PA
Crashed  October 16, 1942
MACR  none

Aircraft History
Built by Douglas. Constructor number 4710. On September 11, 1942 delivered to the U.S. Army Air Force (USAAF) as C-47-DL Skytrain serial number 41-18585. Ferried overseas via Hickam Field across the Pacific to Australia.

Wartime History
On October 3, 1942 assigned to the 5th Air Force (5th AF), 374th Troop Carrier Group (374th TCG), 6th Troop Carrier Squadron (6th TCS). Nicknamed "Maxine" (in quotations) painted in white on the left side of the nose. Australian call sign VH-CFL.

During the middle of October 1942 operated from 5 Mile Drome (Ward) near Port Moresby flying Australian Army 2/6th Independent Company soldiers and equipment to Wanigela Airfeld.

Mission History
On October 16, 1942 took off from 5 Mile Drome (Ward) near Port Moresby piloted by 2nd Lt. Wilson C. Cater loaded with cargo on a mission to air drop food and supplies to Australian Army soldiers on the Kokoda Trail in the Owen Stanley Range in New Guinea. When this aircraft failed to return, it was officially listed as Missing In Action (MIA). Officially condemned October 18, 1942.

Wreckage
This C-47 crashed into a stream bed near Bodinumu west of Kagi on the Kokoda Trail. During 1980, the crash site was rediscovered by local people. In November 1981 the community reported the crash site to PNG Museum modern history curator Bruce Hoy.

Recovery of Remains
After the crash, Australian Army soldiers recovered the remains of Cater and Mackey. During late 1942, the remains of Cater and Mackey were buried in Australia. Postwar, their remains were exhumed and transported to Hawaii and the United States for permanent burial. Webb remained listed as Missing In Action (MIA).

On April 18, 1982, a team from U. S. Army Central Identification Laboratory Hawaii (CILHI) investigated the wreck and exhumed the remains of one crew member, thought at the time to have been SSgt Glenn Webb, who had been buried by villagers following the crash.

On January 20, 1999 another team from U. S. Army Central Identification Laboratory Hawaii (CILHI) again returned to the site and did additional recovery work and declared the site closed.

On September 3, 2009 Webb was officially identified by the Department of Defense (DoD).

Justin Taylan adds:
"In July 2003 I visited this site. The cockpit and forward half of the fuselage is crumpled and buried by erosion. The tail section is present fairly intact. The tail serial number and traces of the original paint were present at the crash. The fuselage door was missing, maybe removed prior to take off. Among the cargo were weapons, as the remains of a BAR from the wreck Bodinumu villagers remember the airplane circling the area once and dropping supplies. On a second run, the aircraft crashed, landing in a stream bed. Villagers went to the crash site and attempted to help the crew, but found them all dead, and buried them near the stream."

Memorials
The entire crew was officially declared dead the day of the mission. Each crew member earned the Purple Heart, posthumously.

Mackey was buried at National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific in Plot D, Row 0 Grave 281.

Cater is buried at Eastern Cemetery in Forest, Mississippi.

Webb was memorialized at Manila American Cemetery on the tablets of the missing, after he was identified a rosette was added next to his name. He also has a memorial marker at Wetumka Cemetery in Wetumka, OK. On September 3, 2009 Webb was officially identified by the Department of Defense (DoD). On November 19, 2010 the remains identified by the DoD were buried at Wetumka Cemetery, OK.

On November 16, 2011, unidentified remains associated with all three crew were buried in a group burial at Arlington National Cemetery at section 60 site 9888.

Relatives
Mark Coussan (grandson in law of 2nd Lt Wilson C. Cater):
"God Bless this website. My wife has been looking for her Grandfather her whole life. Not even her mother knew of his final destination. 2nd Lt Wilson C. Cater is her grandfather and we would like to know how we can locate his remains? Your website shows he’s buried in Vicksburg National Cemetery in Mississippi but their website doesn’t show his name listed. My wife would like to conduct a proper funeral and offer her condolences."

Christine Warnock (granddaughter of MSgt Donald A. Mackey):
"I just returned from Arlington, where my grandfather and the other two crew members were honored with a full military."

Teresa Weisinger (niece of SSgt Glenn Webb):
"I am a niece of SSgt. Glenn E. Webb who was killed in the wreck. SSgt. Webb's remains have been found and he is to be repatriated to Oklahoma next week to be interred here in Wetumka on November 19, 2010 after 68 years!"

Wayne Watts adds:
"SSgt. Webbs only surviving Sister passed away several years ago and left her quest to find her Beloved Brother to her Daughter, Teresa of Wetumka. Teresa has recently been contacted about the location of her Uncle Glenn Webb and is at this time awaiting the arrival of his remains that are currently in Hawaii. Teresa has recently found someone still in Wetumka who knew her Uncle and in doing research, found an old newspaper clipping of when her Uncle was a Boy Scout, being credited with saving the life of a young man who was severely hurt."

References
USAF Serial Number Search Results - C-47-DL Skytrain 41-18585

"18585 (MSN 4710) to USAAF Sep 11, 1942 - 5th AF, Australia Oct 03, 1942. Condemned Oct 18, 1942 (Accident)."
PNG Museum Aircraft Status Card - C-47 41-18585
FindAGrave - LT Wilson Clyde Cater (grave photo)
FindAGrave - Wilson Cater (Arlington group burial)
Arlington National Cemetery (ANC Explorer) - Wilson Carter (group burial photo)
American Battle Monuments Commission (AMBC) - Glenn E. Webb
FindAGrave - SSgt Glenn E Webb (tablets of the missing)
FindAGrave - Sgt Glenn E Webb (photo, memorial marker / grave photo)
FindAGrave - Sgt Glenn E. Webb (Arlington group burial)
Arlington National Cemetery (ANC Explorer) - Glenn E Webb
FindAGrave - Donald A. Mackey (grave photos)
FindAGrave - Sgt Donald A Mackey (Arlington group burial)
Arlington National Cemetery (ANC Explorer) - Donald A. Mackey
Allied Air Transport Operations South West Pacific Area in WWII Volume 1 (2000) page 347
The Oklahoman "State WWII soldier's remains will rest in Va" November 16, 2011, page 2A
Thanks Rachel Phillips / JPAC, Bruce Hoy, Teresa Weisinger and Mark Coussan for additional information

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Last Updated
October 16, 2021

 

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