|Pilot Lt(jg) Joseph G. Nason, 117057 (POW, survived) Westborough, MA
Gunner ARM3 Thomas E. Furlong, Jr., 6069046 (MIA / KIA) MA
Crashed October 23, 1943
Built by Douglas at El Segundo. Constructors Number 1181. Delivered to the United States Navy (USN) as SBD-3 Dauntless bureau number 03359.
Assigned to Composite Squadron 38 (VC-38). No known nickname or nose art.
On October 23, 1943 took off from Munda Airfield on New Georgia piloted by Lt(jg) Joseph G. Nason and gunner ARM3 Thomas E. Furlong, Jr. on their first combat mission
on a dive bombing mission against Keita Airfield on Bougainville. Wile dive bombing an anti-aircraft position near Keita Airfield, this aircraft was hit by anti-aircraft fire and caught fire. Nason bailed out virtually over Keita Airfield. Furlong was not seen to escape the stricken aircraft and was presumed to have been killed when it crashed.
Fate of the Pilot
Nason landed unhurt and managed to evade capture for a week until captured by the Japanese and became a Prisoner Of War (POW). He was transported by boat along the eastern coast of Bougainville to Buka then put aboard a Japanese destroyer and taken to Rabaul and detained at the Rabaul Prisoner Compound. During early 1944, moved to Tunnel Hill POW Camp.
During captivity, Nason was subjected to harsh treatment and neglect. He was used in a malaria experiment conducted by a Japanese doctor. Although sick and suffering from malnutrition and beri-beri, Nason survived captivity until the end of the Pacific War. In early September 1945 he was liberated by Australian forces.
Furlong was officially declared dead the day of the mission. He is memorialized on the tablets of the missing at Manila American Cemetery.
Nason attended law school and worked as a corporate lawyer at State Mutual Life Assurance Co from 1950-1982 until he retired and also served as a board member of Westborough Savings Bank. In 1977, he and his wife worked for the Peace Corps on Saipan. On October 12, 2012 he passed away at UMass Memorial Healthcare University Hospital, Worcester, MA. On October 16, 2012 he was buried at Pine Grove Cemetery in Westborough, MA.
Navy Serial Number Search Results - SBD-3 Dauntless bureau number 03359
USN Overseas Aircraft Loss List October 1943 - SBD piloted by Nason
NARA World War II Prisoners of War Data File - Joseph G Nason
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - Thomas E. Furlong Jr.
ARM3 Thomas E Furlong, Jr
FindAGrave - Joseph Gates Nason
Horio You Next Die! by Joseph G. Nason details his wartime experiences and experiences as a POW
Worcester Telegram & Gazette "Joseph Nason" October 13, 2012
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February 18, 2020