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|Pilot 1st Lt. Wilson L. Cook, O-417007 (MIA / KIA) Bradley,
Co-Pilot F/Sgt George S. Andrews, 6694 RAAF (MIA / KIA) Brisbane, QLD, Australia
Navigator 2nd Lt. Hubert S. Mobley, O-441131 (MIA / KIA) Tampa, FL
Bombardier 2nd Lt. Joseph R. Cunningham, O-433008 (MIA / KIA) Travelers Rest, SC
Engineer SSgt Elwyn O. Rahier, 6566980 (MIA / KIA) MN
Asst. Engineer SSgt John J. Dunbar (MIA / KIA) Tujunga, CA
Radio TSgt Irving W. McMichael, 6580398 (MIA / KIA) Lincon, NE
Asst Radio Cpl Charles M. Hartman, 6583190 (MIA / KIA) Gettysburg, SD
AVS / Gunner Pvt David B. Beattie, 16039053 (MIA / KIA) Glasgow, Scotland
Gunner Cpl Richard K. Pastor, 12007946 (MIA / KIA) Lynbrook, NY
MIA August 14, 1942
On March 5, 1942 at a ceremony at Boeing Field, this B-17 was delivered to the U. S. Army on behalf of Major General F. L. Martin in a ceremony attended by Seattle mayor Earl Millikin P. G. Johnson, Mrs Edward C. Teats and others. Afterwards, ferried overseas via Hawaii to Australia.
On August 5, 1942 assigned to the 43rd Bombardment Group, 64th Bombardment Squadron as their first B-17, but on August 6, 1942 assigned back to the 19th Bombardment Group, 435th Bombardment Squadron. On August 8, 1942 during the afternoon took off from Fenton Airfield on a flight to Garbutt Field near Townsville and prepared for a combat mission.
This B-17's first combat mission was flown on August 9, 1942 took off from 7 Mile Drome near Port Moresby piloted by Lt. Morris Friedman on a reconnaissance mission over Rabaul and Kavieng. The mission lasted 8 hours and 40 minutes.
On August 11, 1942 the same mission was repeated, but aborted an hour and a half into the flight. Took off from 7 Mile Drome piloted by Lt. Morris Friedman on a reconnaissance mission over Rabaul and Kavieng. After only 3 hours, this B-17 returned due to a problem with the No. 2 engine. When it landed, United Press correspondent Frank Hewlett, interviewed the crew and a photo was taken in front of the B-17 as the ground crew worked on the No. 2 engine. By August 13, the repairs were completed.
A second crew from the 435th Squadron was assigned to fly the next mission. The new crew was experienced in the ways of war in the Pacific. Many were veterans of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. Some had been on the ground dodging bombs and bullets, and some had been in the air over the island in unarmed B-17s trying to save. When lost, engine and weapon serial numbers unknown.
After take off, nothing ever heard from this bomber and it was presumed lost sometime between 10am to 7pm near Gasmata. When this B-17 failed to return, entire crew was officially declared Missing In Action (MIA).
In fact, this B-17 was claimed by A6M3 Model 32 Zeros from the Tainan Kokutai. That morning, the nine Zero took off from Lae Airfield on a flight bound for Buna to escort a convoy. The formation included: 1st shotai: Lt(jg) Joji Yamashita, FPO2c Ichirobei Yamazaki and FPO3c Hiroshi Okano. 2nd shotai: Lt(jg) Takeyoshi Ono, FPO1c Sadao Yamashita, FPO3c Masami Arai. 3rd shotai: WO Sahei Yamashita, FPO2c Enji Kakimoto, F1c Kihachi Ninomiya.
According to Japanese records, the Zeros intercepted a single B-17 at 7:35am over the Solomon Sea south of New Britain. The bomber's defensive fire severely damaged Lt(jg) Takeyoshi Ono's Zero. At 7:40, the three Zeros of the 1st shotai claimed the B-17 as shot down. Afterwards, the 2nd shotai escorts Lt(jg) Takeyoshi Ono's damaged Zero and all three land Buna Airfield.
As B-17E "Chief Seattle 41-2656 was the only Flying Fortress lost this day and was flying in the same vicinity at the same time, the claim reveals the bomber's fate. Likely, this B-17 crashed into the open sea and therefore the wreckage is unlikely to be found.
Australian Andrews was officially declared dead the day of the mission. He is memorialized at Bomana War Cemetery on the Port Moresby Memorial, panel 9.
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