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TSgt Ashford H. Cardwell
U.S. Army Air Force (USAAF), 5th Air Force (5th AF)
3rd Bombardment Group (3rd BG), 90th Bombardment Squadron (90th BS)
Missing In Action (MIA) off New Guinea

Ashford Hubert Cardwell was born March 20, 1920 to parents Tom Cardwell and Mrs. Cardwell in Garrison, Texas. He had two brothers: Joseph T. Cardwell and George Cardwell plus a younger sister. Later, the family moved to 2901 Judson Street, Caddo Parish in Shreveport, Louisiana. He graduated high school and worked in Allen Millwork Manufacturing Company as a special mill worker in the sawmill. He married Helen Babin.

Click For EnlargementWartime History
On July 1, 1941 Cardwell registered for the draft. On October 19, 1942 enlisted in the U.S. Army as a private with serial number 38329361. Assigned to the U.S. Army Air Force (USAAF) and sent overseas to the South West Pacific Area (SWPA) arriving by October 1943. Assigned to the 5th Air Force (5th AF), 3rd Bombardment Group (3rd BG), 90th Bombardment Squadron (90th BS) as a gunner flying the A-20 Havoc.

On November 2, 1943 he flew as a gunner aboard a B-25 Mitchell on a low level strike over Rabaul.

By May 1944, he was promoted to the rank of Technical Sergeant.

Mission History
On May 14, 1944 at 5:05pm took off as gunner aboard A-20G "Barry's Baby I.N.S." 42-86768 on a flight from Momote Airfield on Los Negros Island piloted by 1st Lt. Harold R. Prince on an administrative flight bound for Nadzab Airfield. The crew included gunner TSgt Ashford H. Cardwell, engineer TSgt Anthony Zulkus and passenger 2nd Lt. Ambrose J. Finnegan, Jr. aboard as a courier. The weather was reported as good on the flight route. Forty minutes into the flight, this A-20 attempted to ditch in the sea but both engines failed roughly 30' altitude and nosed over impacting hard. When this aircraft failed to arrive it was officially listed as Missing In Action (MIA). After the crash, Prince, Cardwell and Finnegan were never seen again. Sole survivor Zulkus was rescued by a barge and taken to Saidor where he was hospitalized.

Afterwards, the search for this aircraft was led by Major Kenneth E. Rosebush. On May 15, 1944 a pair of A-20s piloted by Captain Dean and Major Kenneth E. Rosebush took off on a search mission but failed to locate any trace of the plane or missing crew members.

The three missing crew: Prince, Cardwell and Finnegan were officially declared dead the day of the mission. All three are memorialized at Manila American Cemetery on the tablets of the missing. Since the flight was deemed to be a non-combat flight, none of the crew earned the Purple Heart, posthumously.

Cardwell Air Medal with Oak Leaf Cluster and Purple Heart for previously being wounded by a bullet in his arm. Cardwell also has a memorial marker at Greenwood Cemetery in Shreveport, LA. The epitaph reads: "T/Sgt Ashford H. Cardwell Mar 30,1920 May 14, 1944 Lost at sea - South Pacific member of U.S. Army Flying Forces [U.S. Air Force]."

Tom Cardwell (father)
Joseph T Cardwell, Jr. (brother born August 4 1909 died April 13, 1969)
Helen (née Babin) Cardwell (wife)
Ashford H. Cardwell (nephew and namesake)

Pacific Wrecks - A-20G Havoc 42-86768
NARA WWII Draft Registration Cards - Ashford H. Cardwell
NARA World War II Army Enlistment Records - Ashford H. Cardwell
Individual Deceased Personnel File (IDPF) - Ashford H. Cardwell
Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA) Service Member Personnel Profile - T Sgt Ashford H. Cardwell
"Based on all information available, DPAA assessed the individual's case to be in the analytical category of Non-recoverable."
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - Ashford H. Cardwell

FindAGrave - TSgt Ashford H Cardwell (tablets of the missing)
FindAGrave - Sgt Ashford H Cardwell (obituary, memorial marker photo)
Thanks to Edward Rogers for additional research and analysis

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