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  R4D-5 Bureau Number 39086  
USMC
MAW-1
MAG-25
VMR-153

Former Assignments
VMJ-152

PacificWrecks.com
USN c1943
Pilot  1st Lt. James A. Walker, O-21235 USMCR (KIA, BR) Huffman, AR
Co-Pilot  1st Lt. Donald M. Wilkie, O-20918 USMCR (KIA, BR) NY
Crew  Sgt Richard C. Roos. 420355 USMC (KIA, BR) Canton, IL
Crew  Cpl John H. Chapman, 423156, USMC (KIA, BR) Littlefield, TX
Crew  Cpl Oscar R. Mueller, 525545 USMCR (KIA, BR) Darien, WI
Crew  Pfc. Kenneth E. Singley, 903823 USMCR (KIA, BR) Zion Grove, PA
Crew  T3 Eugene T. Barr, 33240056, 801st MAET Squadron AAF, SCAT Medical (KIA, BR) PA
Crew  ? (survived)
Passenger  ? (KIA / BR)
Passenger  ? (KIA / BR)
Passenger  ? (KIA / BR)
Passenger  ? (KIA / BR)
Passenger  ? (KIA / BR)
Passenger  ? (KIA / BR)
Passenger  ? (KIA / BR)
Passenger  ? (KIA / BR)
Passenger  ? (KIA / BR)
Passenger  ? (KIA / BR)
Passenger  ? (KIA / BR)
Passenger  ? (KIA / BR)
Passenger  ? (survived)
Passenger  ? (survived)
Crashed  October 7, 1944 at 3:00pm


Aircraft History
Built by Douglas. Constructors Number 13855. Delivered to the U. S. Army Air Force (USAAF) as C-47A-60-DL Skytrain serial number 43-30704. On May 9, 1942 assigned to the U. S. Navy (USN) as R4D-5 bureau number 39086.

Wartime History
Assigned to the U. S. Marine Corps (USMC) to Marine Air Wing 1 (MAW-1), Marine Air Group 25 (MAG-25), Marine Utility Squadron 152 (VMJ-152). No known nickname, nose art or squadron number.

On February 17, 1944 at 5:52am took off piloted by Stewart, Roche, Goodman, Moore and Larsen with passengers on a flight to Guadalcanal landing at 1:52.

Next, assigned to Marine Transport Squadron 153 (VMR-153). No known nickname, nose art or squadron number.

Mission History
On October 7, 1944 took off piloted by 1st Lt. James A. Walker with twenty-two aboard including eight crew and fourteen passengers (names unknown). Flying in heavy rain, this aircraft crashed on a mountain on the southern tip of Vella Lavella. Three survived the crash: one crew member and two passengers. Everyone else aboard died in the crash.

Fates of the Crew
Afterwards, the three survivors were rescued.

Search
During the month of October, Marine Air Group 25 Headquarters Squadron made a search from Tontouta Airfield to Vella Lavella for this aircraft. By October 15, 1944 an administrative report on the crash was submitted to Solomons Combat Air Transport Command (SCATC).

Recovery of Remains
After the crash, the remains of the crew and passengers killed were recovered and buried on Vella Lavella. Postwar, their remains were exhumed and transported to the United States and Philippines for permanent burial.

Wreckage
This aircraft crashed on a mountain on Vella Lavella, roughly one mile inland from the southern tip and three miles south of Barakoma Airfield.

Memorials
The crew and passengers killed in the crash were officially declared dead the day of the crash.

Walker was buried at Mount Zion Cemetery in Steele, Missouri.

Wilkie earned the Purple Heart. He was buried at Manila American Cemetery at plot D row 8 grave 36.

Roos was buried on February 7, 1949 at Greenwood Cemetery in Canton, IL at plot 453, Division M.

Chapman was buried on February 6, 1949 at Littlefield Cemetery in Littlefield, TX.

Mueller is buried at Darien Cemetery in Darien, WI.

Singley is buried at Mount Zion Lutheran Cemetery in Zion Grove, PA.

Barr is buried at Paxtang Cemetery in Paxtang, PA at Grandview Lawn site 351.

Reference
NARA World War II Army Enlistment Records - Eugene T. Barr
USAF Serial Number Search Results - C-47A-60-DL Skytrain 43-30704
"30704 (MSN 13855) to USMC as R4D-5 BuNo 39086"
Navy Serial Number Search Results - Douglas R4D-5 39086
"39086 (MSN 13855) ex USAAF 43-30704. With VMR-153, hit mountain top near Vella Lavella Oct 7, 1944. 19 killed."
USN Overseas Aircraft Loss List October 1944 - R4D-5 39086
NARA "Marine Transport Squadron 153 (VMR-153)" August 1944–February 1945 page 75
(Page 75) "Personnel Killed Reference Ltr. Comscat 15 October 1944.
Cause: R4D5, 36B555 (Bureau Number 39086) crashed and burned on southern tip of Vella Lavella, Solomons at a point one mile inland and three miles south of Barakoma Airdrome, at approximately 1500 LST, October 7, 1944.
Opinion: That the pilot failed to realize his position with respect to altitude, the proximity of Vella Lavella Island, and reduced visibility due to heavy rain, and flew into the southern tip of the island."
NARA "Marine Transport Squadron 153 (VMR-153)" October 1944 page 3
(Page 3) "On 6 October 1944 [sic, 7 October 1944], airplane R4D-5 39086, belonging to VMR One-Fifty-Three, crashed on Vella Lavella Island, British Solomon Islands. The administrative report of this crash was submitted by Solomon Combat Air Transport Command on 15 October 1944. The plane carried eight crew members and fourteen passengers. One crew member and two passengers survived while all other personnel aboard perished in the crash. The accident was caused by flight into the southern tip of Vella Lavella Island in heavy rain."
NARA "Squadron Activities: Marine Air Group 25 Marine Headquarters Squadron" October 1944 page 4, 5
(Page 4) "Also, a search hop to Vella LaVella, Solomon Islands, for plane, R4D-5, (39086)."
(Page 5) "On 6 October 1944 [sic, 7 October 1944], airplane R4D-5 39086, belonging to VMR One-Fifty-Three, crashed on Vella Lavella Island, British Solomon Islands. The administrative report of this crash was submitted by Solomon Combat Air Transport Command on 15 October 1944. The plane carried eight crew members and fourteen passengers. One crew member and two passengers survived while all other personnel aboard perished in the crash. The accident was caused by flight into the southern tip of Vella Lavella Island in heavy rain."
US Marine Corps Casualty Indexes - James Arden Walker
The Courier News "Lieut. Walker Dies In Crash In Solomons" October 25, 1944 page 1
The Morning Avalanche "Reburial Services Are Held For Levelland War Veteran" February 8, 1945 page 5
FindAGrave - Lieut James Arden Walker (photo, grave photo)
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - Donald Mowatt Wilkie
FindAGrave - 1Lt Donald Mowatt Wilkie (photo)
FindAGrave - Sgt Richard Charles Roos (obituary, grave photo)
FindAGrave - Corp John Henry Chapman (obituary, grave photo)
FindAGrave - Corp Oscar R Mueller (grave photo)
FindAGrave - Kenneth E Singley (grave photo)
FindAGrave - Eugene T Barr (grave photo)

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Last Updated
October 6, 2019

 

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