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  SBD-5 Dauntless Bureau Number 54217 Number 155
USMC
MAW-2
MAG 21
VMSB-241

Pilot  2nd Lt. Howard J. Schroeder, O-028350 (MIA / KIA) Wauwatosa, WI
Gunner  Sgt Robert W. Carman, 455524 (MIA / KIA) Detroit, MI
MIA  May 30, 1944


Aircraft History
Built by Douglas at El Segundo. Constructors Number 5731. Delivered to the U. S. Navy (USN) as SBD-5 Dauntless bureau number 54217. Disassembled and shipped overseas to the South Pacific and reassembled.

Wartime History
Assigned to the U. S. Marine Corps (USMC), Marine Air Wing 2 (MAW-2), Marine Air Group 21 (MAG-21), Marine Scout Bombing Squadron 241 (VMSB-241). No known nickname or nose art. Squadron Number 155.

Mission History
On May 30, 1944 at 8:00am took off from Emirau Airfield piloted by 2nd Lt. Howard J. Schroeder armed with a single 1,000 pound bomb plus two wing mounted 100 pound bombs as one of twenty-nine SBDs on a dive bombing mission led by Major James A. Feeley, Jr. against Kavieng Airfield at Kavieng on New Ireland. The formation also included TBF Avengers targeting the runway. Inbound, the weather was clear with cumulus cloud base at 1,500' with the tops at 15,000' on the way to the target.

Over the target by 9:45am, anti-aircraft fire was described as concentrated, intense and accurate including heavy anti-aircraft fire (fused to explode at low altitude) plus automatic anti-aircraft fire. Over Kavieng Airfield, the SBDs targeted anti-aircraft positions around the runway. This aircraft made a dive bombing attack and strafing run, this aircraft was hit by anti-aircraft fire and observed to dive into the sea roughly one mile west of North Cape.

When this aircraft failed to return it was officially listed as Missing In Action (MIA). Also lost was SBD-5 36630 (crew rescued) and SBD-5 36661 (pilot rescued, gunner MIA).

Memorials
Both crew members were officially declared dead the day of the mission. Schroeder earned the Distinguished Flying Cross (DFC) and Purple Heart, posthumously. Carman earned the Air Medal and Purple Heart, posthumously. Both are memorialized at Manila American Cemetery on the tablets of the missing. Carman also has a memorial marker in Decker Cemetery in Millbrook, MI.

Relatives
John Carman (cousin Robert Carman)

References
Navy Serial Number Search Results - SBD-5 Dauntless 54217
USN Overseas Aircraft Loss List May 1944 - SBD-5 Dauntless 54217

NARA "Marine Scout Bombing Squadron 241 VMSB-241 War Diary May 1944" page 10, 33
(Page 10) "30 May 1944 - Major Feeley led a most hazardous strike on the Kavieng Airdrome. Thirty SBDs took off at 0800 and before they returned at 1050 we faced the tragic news of the loss of one pilot and two gunners as well as three aircraft. Lt. Howard J. Schroeder, USMCR., formally of the RCAF, is missing in action after being hit over his target which was delivering heavy, intense and accurate fire. He salvoed his bombs directly over the target after his pullout held a straight and level course at an altitude of 100-200 feet. Approximately one mile from shore just west of North Cape he suddenly dropped one wing and dove into the sea. It can safely be assumed that either his controls cables were severed by shrapnel or that he personally was hit. His outstanding skill, competence as well as consistent daring won his great respect from his numerous friends in the squadron. His gunner, Sergeant Robert W. Carman, USMCR., who has served the squadron from January, 1943 to this date and who has been Lt. Schroeder's gunner during both his combat tours, is also missing in action."
(Page 32) "Damage to planes: Three planes lost: Plane #155 was hit and dove into the sea one mile from the coast, 270° from North Cape.
Personnel Casualties: Lt. Howard J. Schroeder, USMCR., (Formally of the RCAF), missing in action after making a confirmed direct hit on a gun position. Was last seen diving into the sea from an altitude of 100-200 ft one mile from shore just west of North Cape. His skills, consistent daring and outstanding bravery during his two periods of combat won him a fitting place on the Honor Roll of the squadron and have substantially contributed to it's record of heroism." Sgt Robert W. Carman, (455524), USMCR., Lt. Schroeder's radio gunner, also missing in action."
(Page 33) "Plane: 155 Pilot: Schroeder, H. J. Gunner: Carman Call [Sign]: 2Mine1 Squadron: VMSB-241 Remarks: Went down in their plane after making a confirmed direct hit and strafing run."
Wisconsin State Journal "Wisconsin Casualties" August 8, 1944 page 5
"2nd Lieut. Howard J. Schroeder–Mother, Mrs. Margaret M. Schroeder, Thiensville."
The Capital Times "Navy Issues List" August 08, 1944
"Second Lieut. Howard J. Schroeder, USMCR, Thiensville."
Lansing State Journal "Today's War Casualties" June 15, 1944 page 26
"The Michigan casualties: Sgt. Robert W. Carman, marine corps reserve, missing. Mrs. Eva Carman, Detroit."
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - Howard J. Schroeder
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - Robert W. Carman
FindAGrave - 1Lt Howard James Schroeder (tablets of the missing)
FindAGrave - Sgt Robert W Carman (tablets of the missing)
FindAGrave - Sgt Robert W. Carman (memorial marker photo)

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Last Updated
June 29, 2019

 

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