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|Pilot MSgt Howard Harvey Hicks, 266771 (KIA / BNR) CO
Gunner Cpl James M. Lasseigne (rescued)
Crashed June 2, 1943
Built by Douglas at El Segundo. Constructors Number 1867. Delivered to the U. S. Navy (USN) as SBD-3 Dauntless bureau number 10697.
Assigned to the U. S. Marine Corps (USMC) to 1st Marine Air Wing (MAW-1), Marine Air Group 11 (MAG-11), Marine Scout Bombing Squadron 132 (VMSB-132) "Crying Red Asses". No known nickname, nose art or squadron number.
On June 2, 1943 took off from Bomber 1 Airfield (Palikulo Field, Fighter 1) piloted by MGUN Kenneth L. Gordon on Espiritu Santo as one of twenty SBDs on a search mission for SBD 10338 piloted by Dieffenbach that ditched.
One of twenty SBDs that took off from Bomber 1 Airfield (Palikulo Field, Fighter 1) on Espiritu Santo on a search mission for SBD 10338 piloted by Dieffenbach that ditched.
This aircraft was led by SBD 06962 piloted by Gordon on a sector search for the missing aircraft. Neither heard the message to return to base when the aircraft was found. Both searched until their fuel became low, then returned to Espiritu Santo.
Blown off course by a tropical storm, the pair attempted to determine their location and radioing their position to base. They were approximately 35 miles northwest of Fighter 1 on a heading of 135 degrees, near Piapouria. SBD 06962 piloted by Gordon began to circle to the right to loose altitude while this aircraft made a circle to the left and crashed into a hill.
Hicks circled to the left over the sea, leveled off too
soon and stalled. This SBD nosed into the ocean off Point Cumberland and pilot Hicks died in the crash and his body never surfaced.
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October 20, 2020
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