|Pilot 2nd Lt Harry F. Harrison, Jr. O-671650 (MIA / KIA) TX
MIA May 21, 1944 at 8:00am
Built by Bell in Buffalo, New York. Delivered to the U.S. Army Air Force (USAAF) as P-39Q-5-BE Airacobra serial number 42-20351. Disassembled and shipped overseas to the South West Pacific Area (SWPA) and reassembled.
On November 24, 1943 assigned 5th Air Force, 71st Tactical Reconnaissance Group (71st TRG), 82nd Tactical Reconnaissance Squadron (82nd TRS). Assigned to Lt. William A. Shomo with crew chief Ralph Winkle of Milwaukee. Nicknamed "Snooks" and painted in yellow on the right side on the nose. This aircraft was one of six that bore this nickname.
In late November, 1943 operated from Horanda Airfield near Dobodura. On January 1, 1944 this Airacobra had an engine change, performed by crew chief Ralph Winkle and MSgt W. E. Ursprung.
On March 12, 1944, this Airacobra made a belly landing on Marston Mat / Pierced Steel Planking (PSP). Afterwards, repaired and returned to flying. When lost, engine V-1710-85 serial number 42-98196. Weapon serial numbers noted in the Missing Air Crew Report (MACR).
On May 21, 1944 took off 2nd Lt Harry F. Harrison, Jr. from Saidor Airfield on a mission to strafe anti-aircraft positions in the Hansa Bay area. Last seen preparing to make a pass at several huts on Awar Point at about 8:00am. Last seen three miles from the target, heading inland. When this aircraft failed to return it was officially declared Missing In Action (MIA).
After the attack, Captain Moody called for everyone to head home but Harrison failed to answer.
The other planes in the formation flew back to the shoreline, checked the sea, circled the plantation, searched for an hour, until their fuel ran low - but saw no trace of the plane.
On May 22, 1944, a search was conducted over a fifty mile radius from Awar Point by 18 Airacobras from the 82nd Tactical Reconnaissance Squadron, but no trace of pilot or plane was found.
Harrison was officially declared dead on February 7, 1946. He earned the Air Medal and Purple Heart, posthumously. He is memorialized on the tablets of the missing at Manila American Cemetery.
NARA World War II Army Enlistment Records - Harry F. Harrison, Jr.
USAF Serial Number Search Results - P-39Q-5-BE Airacobra 42-20351
"20351 (71st FG) lost May 21, 1944. MACR 5063"
Missing Air Crew Report 5063 (MACR 5063)
History 82RS Frame 357 A0912
RAAF Position approximately 04.07-144.52. Last sighted one mile out to sea NE Awar Point.
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) Harry F. Harrison Jr.
2Lt Harry F Harrison, Jr (tablets of the missing photo)
M/Sgt. W.E. Ursprung Journal
"January 1 - NEW YEARS DAY - worked all day changing engine on S/Sgt. Winkle's plane "Snooks". Lt. Shomo was his pilot.
May 21 - Lt. Harris failed to return from morning mission. Shot down over Hansa Bay. He was flying S/Sgt Winkles ship 'Snooks'."
PNG Museum Aircraft Status Card - P-39Q Airacobra 42-20351
Rocky Boyer's War (2017) by Allen D. Boyer mentions this loss
"Also dead on a low-level mission was Lt. Harry F. Harrison of the 82nd Squadron. He had been the last plane in a four-man flight attacking Awar Plantation at Nubia, up at the north end of Hansa Bay, strafing the airstrip and the plantation buildings. It was eight in the morning and they were lingering over the area - which may have been unwise. Flight leader Captain Moody called for everyone to head home. Moody's wingman answered, and Lieutenant Borders answered, but not Harrison. His P-39 had vanished. They flew back to the shoreline, checked out to sea, circled the plantation, searched for an hour, until their fuel ran low - but saw no oil slicks on the bay or ocean, no scorched crashed site in the palm trees."
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February 23, 2021