|Pilot Major Earl P. Paris (rescued)
Gunner TSgt A. F. Christenson (rescued)
Crashed December 1, 1943
Built by Douglas at El Segundo, California. Delivered to the U. S. Navy (USN) as SBD-5 Dauntless bureau number 11002.
On December 1, 1943 took off from Munda Airfield on New Georgia piloted by Major Earl P. Paris on a bombing mission against Chabai in northern Bougainville. The formation included forty-eight SBD Dauntless dive bombers plus twenty-four TBF Avengers.
The target was covered by clouds. Instead, the bombers proceeded southward to perform a strike on supply areas on Ballale Island instead. During the attack, this SBD was possibly seen to crash. Only one parachute was observed opening. When it failed to return, both crew were reported Missing In Action (MIA).
Fates of the Crew
In fact, both crew landed in the sea off Tomase Island. On December 4, 1943 their location was reported as Tomase Island located between the Shortland Islands and Fauro Islands.
On December 7, 1943 PBY Catalina commanded by LCDR. G. E. Garcia (C. O. of VP-23) took off on a mission to rescue the crew. The Catalina landed off Tomase Island at 7:55am and sucessfully rescued both of the crew then took off five minutes later and proceeded to Rendova Harbor landing at 9:20am.
Pilot's name might have been spelled 'Faris'.
Thanks to Jim Sawruk for rescue information
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June 29, 2019