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  UC-64A Norseman Serial Number 43-5176  
5th AF
433rd TCG
68th TCS
USAAF c1943
Pilot  2nd Lt. Jimmie L. Riche, O-700980 (MIA / KIA) Port Arthur, TX
Passenger  1st Lt. Raymond A. Priebe, O-679940 (MIA / KIA) Waukesha, WI
Passenger  Pvt. Alan L. Bagby, 37621396 (MIA / KIA) La Belle, MS
Passenger  Pvt. Eldridge S. Edens, 34725178 (MIA / KIA) Elizabethton, TN
Crashed  February 5, 1945
MACR  12605

Aircraft History
Built by Noorduyn. Constructor Number 167. On July 31, 1943 delivered to the U.S. Army Air Force (USAAF) as UC-64A Norseman serial number 43-5176. Disassembled and shipped overseas to the South Pacific (SoPAC) to Espirito Santo arriving in October 1943.

Wartime History
Assigned to the 5th Air Force (5th AF), 433rd Troop Carrier Group (433rd TCG), 68th Troop Carrier Squadron (68th TCS). No known nickname or nose art.

Mission History
On February 5, 1945 took off from Mokmer Drome on Biak Island piloted by 2nd Lt. Jimmie L. Riche on his first mission transporting cargo bound for Owi Airfield on Owi Island. This aircraft was observed by other pilots going into a spin and crash into the sea. At 2:00pm this aircraft was observed to crash into Yapen Strait (Japen Strait) roughly six miles southeast of Owi Island. When this aircraft failed to return it was officially listed as Missing In Action (MIA). On April 6, 1945 this plane was administratively condemned and written off.

The entire crew was declared dead the day of the mission. All are memorialized at Manila American Cemetery on the tablets of the missing.

None of the crew earned the Purple Heart posthumously as the flight was not deemed to be in a combat zone. Previously, Priebe earned the Distinguished Flying Cross (DFC) and Air Medal with two Oak Leaf Clusters.

Bagby also has a memorial marker at La Belle Cemetery in La Belle, Missouri.

Jim Riche (son) adds:
"My Father arrived at Nadzab, New Guinea in August 1944 were he was assigned to the 68th squadron of the 433 TCS. Later in 1944, the squadron moved to Biak. He normally flew as a copilot on C-47s and was transitioning to C-46s just before he was killed. Some of places he flew were: Saidor, Port Moresby, Wau, Lae, Finschhafen, Noemfoor, Wakde, Owi, Borokoe, Luzon, Morotai, Mindoro, and Lingayen.

For the last several years I have been trying to learn about the area and uncover any other details. Like, what kind of cargo would a single engine UC-64 be carrying to Owi. Some of the above information comes from my Father's papers and letters my Mother received from the War Department. Other information comes from Veterans of the 68th who I meet at several of their reunions in the 1990s. I would be most interested if you uncover any additional information.

NARA World War II Army Enlistment Records - Jimmie L. Riche
USAF Serial Number Search Results - UC-64A Norseman 43-5176
"5176 (MSN 167) lost Feb 5, 1945. MACR 12605."
Norseman History - The Aircraft
"Delivered to the USAAF as aircraft No. 43-5176 on July 31, 2022 [sic 1943] and flown to the Republic modification center in Evansville, Indiana on August 30, 1943. Shipped to Espirito Santo, New Hebrides in October 1943. May have been involved in an accident on February 5, 1945. Shown as condemned on April 6, 1945.
Missing Air Crew Report 12605 (MACR 12605) created March 7, 1945
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - Jimmie L. Riche
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - Raymond A. Priebe
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - Alan L. Bagby
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - Eldridge S. Edens
FindAGrave - 2Lt Jimmie Lee Riche (tablets of the missing photo)
FindAGrave - 1Lt Raymond A Priebe (tablets of the missing)
FindAGrave - Pvt Alan Lester Bagby (tablets of the missing photo)
FindAGrave - Alan Lester Bagby (memorial marker photo)
FindAGrave - Pvt Eldridge Stickney Edens (tablets of the missing photo)
Thanks to Jim Riche for additional information

Contribute Information
Are you a relative or associated with any person mentioned?
Do you have photos or additional information to add?

Last Updated
July 31, 2023


Tech Info

4 Missing
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