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|Pilot 1st Lt. Major F. Alford Jr. O-21643 (MIA / KIA) DeRidder, LA
Gunner Cpl Gene T. Baur, 493366 (MIA / KIA) Saint Joseph, MO
MIA June 16, 1944
Built by Douglas Aircraft Company in El Segundo. Constructors Number 5541. Delivered to the United States Navy (USN) as SBD-5 Dauntless bureau number 36913.
Assigned to the U.S. Marine Corps (USMC) to Marine Scout Bombing Squadron 235 (VMSB-235) "Death Angels". No known nickname or nose art. Squadron number 145.
On June 16, 1944 at 8:10am took off from Piva North Airfield (Piva Uncle) on Bougainville Island piloted by 1st Lt. Major F. Alford Jr. armed with a single 1,000 pound bomb with a 1/10 second delay fuse as one of eighteen SBDs led by Captain Elmer F. Brooks on a dive bombing and strafing mission against gun positions and supply areas to the west of Simpson Harbor off Rabaul. The formation also included twelve TBF Avengers. The weather was scattered cumulus clouds at 1,800' to 3,000' over the target with ceiling and visibility unlimited.
Over the target, the formation made a high speed approach from 14,700' from north to south with pushover at 9,000' at the start of the dive bombing run, bomb release at 1,800'. This SBD was flying at the rear of the section and experienced heavy anti-aircraft fire was believed to have crashed or ditched into Simpson Harbor off Rabaul. When this plane failed to return it was officially declared Missing In Action (MIA).
Both were officially declared dead on June 17, 1945. Alford earned the Air Medal and Purple Heart, posthumously. Baur was entitled to the Purple Heart, posthumously. Both are memorialized at Manila American Cemetery on the tablets of the missing.
Navy Serial Number Search Results - SBD-5 Dauntless 36913
NARA "Marine Scout Bombing Squadron Two Thirty Five Combat Tour of Duty 1 June 1944 to 30 June 1944" page 11-12, 36-37
(Page 12) "Pilot: Alford Gunner: Baur - Fist Lieutenant Major Alford and Corporal Gene T. Baur are missing in action. This plane, was flying in the rear section of the strike and was believed to have gone into Simpson Harbor, Rabaul. A heavy barrage of anti-aircraft fire encountered from Rabaul Town and Hospital Ridge. See mission report."
(Page 37) "Observations (3) The plane piloted by Lieutenant Alford with Corporal Baur as radio gunner is missing in action. A TBF pilot reports that an SBD plane turned right into Simpson Harbor, to make water landing, bounce and to sink. No one was observed to leave the plane."
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - Major F. Alford Jr.
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - Gene Tyre Baur
FindAGrave - 1Lt Major F Alford, Jr (photo, tablets of the missing)
FindAGrave - Corp Gene Tyre Baur (photo, tablets of the missing)
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February 27, 2022
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