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|Pilot 1st Lt. Allan S. Harrison, III, O-21213 (MIA / KIA) Houston, TX
Crashed February 11, 1944
Allan S. Harrison III was the only child of Cora M. and Allan S. Harrison II, who was a Proctor & Gamble salesman, and grew up on Lidstone Street in Houston, Texas. He attended Stephen F. Austin High School and attended ROTC then attended the University of Houston. During the Pacific War joined the United States Marine Corps Reserve (USMCR) and entered flight school in Corpus Christi, Texas. Afterwards, assigned to the Pacific.
On January 9, 1944 he claimed a Zero probable. On January 23, 1944 he claimed two Zeros and Hamp. Finally on February 4, 1944 he claimed one Zeke. In total, 4 aerial victories and a probable. Before he was lost, he flew a total of ten combat missions in the South Pacific.
Built by Vought. Assigned to the U. S. Navy (USN) as F4U-1A Corsair bureau number 55908. Disassembled and shipped overseas and reassembled.
Assigned to the United States Marine Corps (USMC), Marine Air Wing 2 (MAW-2), Marine Air Group 12 (MAG 12) to Marine Fighting Squadron 212 "Hell Hounds / The Musketeers" (VMF-212). No known nickname, nose art or squadron number (including the number 3).
On February 11, 1944 took off at 9:50am from Piva South Airfield (Piva Yoke) on Bougainville piloted by 1st Lt. Allan S. Harrison, III as one of twenty-six Corsairs led by Major Elwood on a mission to escort SBD Dauntless dive bombers against Tobera Airfield with a secondary target of Vunapope south of Rabaul.
By 9:50am, the Corsairs rendezvoused with the SBDs but three Corsairs aborted the mission due to mechanical problems. The formation approached the target area from 13,000' arriving over Kabanga Bay with half cloud cover over the primary target, the formation made a right turn to the secondary target of a supply area at Vunapope. The SBDs conducted their dive bombing runs and caused two large fires on the docks.
Returning, to west of Tobera Airfield. the formation was intercepted by 15-20 A6M Zeros that dove from above making angled passes from all directions. The escorting Corsairs engaged in dog fights with the enemy aircraft. This Corsair was last seen at 10:55am over Bitagalip with a Zero on its tail. When this aircraft failed to return it was declared Missing In Action (MIA).
Harrison was officially declared dead on January 17, 1946. He earned the Distinguished Flying Cross (DFC), Air Medal with gold star and Purple Heart, posthumously. Harrison is memorialized at Manila American Cemetery on the tablets of the missing.
In fact, this Corsair crashed near Warangoi. During the crash, the aircraft was badly broken up and scattered by the impact.
During 1983, visited by Brian Bennett who located the aircraft bureau number and partial squadron number "3" on the wheel spat and bureau number 55908 on the oil cooler. Afterwards, Bennett reported the crash site to the. Central Identification Laboratory Hawaii (CILHI). The piece of wreckage with the identifying numbers was recovered and later donated to the collection of the Kokopo Museum. By the 2000s, the crash site was partially scrapped.
Brian Bennett adds:
"I found this site back about 1983 and had advised CILHI. The part serial number was not 'stolen'. I showed them the wheel spat with the partial aircraft number 3 on it at the Kokopo Museum several years ago , they even took photos."
Recovery of Remains
Between 1984–2006, this crash site was visited by U. S. teams on at least two occasions.
In July 1984, a team from CILHI visited the crash site and performed a recovery, coded 07CIL84.
During May 2008, a team from Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command (JPAC) lead by U. S. Army Major George Eyster visited the crash site.
Harrison is memorialized on the tablets of the missing at Manila American Cemetery. He has a memorial marker at Forest Park Cemetery in Houston, TX.
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