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  TBF-1 Avenger Bureau Number 00418 Side Number T-13
USS Enterprise

Pilot  Mach. Harry L. Corl, O-146618 (MIA / KIA) MI
Radio  RM3c Delmar D. Wiley (survived)
Gunner  AOM2 Thomas R. Townsend, 2387067 (MIA / KIA) NY

Crashed  August 24, 1942

Aircraft History
Built by Grumman. Delivered to the U. S. Navy (USN). Assigned to the USS Enterprise (CV-6) to VT-3. No known nickname or nose art.

Mission History
On August 24, 1942 took off from USS Enterprise (CV-6) during the Battle of the Eastern Solomons. This aircraft failed to return and was listed as Missing In Action (MIA). In fact, Wiley was wounded but survived and managed to deploy his life raft.

Wiley was the sole surviving member of the crew and drifted at sea for fifteen days before making landfall on a small island off Buka Island, he survived with the help of local people. Later, the entire crew of B-17F "My Lovin' Dove" 41-24450 landed aboard a life raft in the same area on February 25, 1943.

In an attempt to move closer to the Allied lines, the group attempted to buy a canoe from locals, but it failed to be seaworthy with only four loaded aboard. Later, they hired another native and his canoe to sailed down the coast for four days and met another group of natives, who had been sent by a pair of coastwatchers to find them. Escorted over a jungle trail to the coastwatcher's mountain observation post, where they met the coastwatchers and arranged their rescue by radio.

The rescue group included a PBY Catalina piloted by Robert B. Hays from VP-44, escorted by two PB4Y-1 Liberators from VB-101. The group in an outrigger was spotted by Hays, and he landed to rescue them, then planned the rescue of the remaining men.

Corl and Townsend were officially declared dead August 25, 1942. Both are memorialized on the tablets of the missing at Manila American Cemetery.

Wiley's Island by Delmar D. Wiley tells his story about escape and survival
Fate of the Crew of B-17F "My Lovin' Dove" 41-24450
Thank to Jim Sawruk for additional information

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Last Updated
June 29, 2019


Tech Info

2 Missing

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