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  B-17E "Chief Seattle" Serial Number 41-2656  
19th BG
435th BS
"Kangaroo Squadron"

Former Assignments
43rd BG
64th BS

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USAAF March 1942

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United Press Aug 11, 1942

Pilot  1st Lt. Wilson L. Cook, O-417007 (MIA / KIA) Bradley, OK
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
MACR  16345

Aircraft History
Built by Boeing at Seattle. This B-17 was paid for by citizens of Seattle during a war bond campaign sponsored by a local newspaper to raise $280,535 to pay for a single B-17 Flying Fortress bomber. Nicknamed "Chief Seattle from the Pacific Northwest" in yellow lettering with black shadow. Also known as simply "Chief Seattle".

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.

Wartime History
Assigned to the 5th Air Force, 19th Bombardment Group, 435th Bombardment Squadron "Kangaroo Squadron". At Charleville Airfield, took off piloted by Lt. Morris Friedman and his crew from the 93rd Bombardment Squadron on a ferry flight bound for Fenton Airfield near Darwin. Unable to locate the airfield, they landed instead at Daly Waters Airfield and the next day arrived at Fenton Airfield.

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.

Mission History
On August 14, 1942 took off from 7-Mile Drome near Port Moresby at 6:02am on a lone reconnaissance mission bound for Gasmata, Rabaul and Kavieng then to return. The flight was planned to have followed the southern coast of New Guinea, at 6:17am over Round Point near Rigo, then made a turn to the northeast, climbing to roughly 11,000' to cross the Owen Stanley Mountains. Then, the B-17 would fly over Buna at 8,000', then to proceed to Gasmata and Rabaul on New Britain. Finally, over Kavieng on New Ireland. Also, the bomber planned to search the Solomon Sea for any enemy shipping then return to Port Moresby.

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.

The entire crew was officially declared dead on December 7, 1945. All are memorialized on the tablets of the missing at Manila American Cemetery. McMichael has a memorial marker at Fort McPherson National Cemetery in Maxwell, NE.

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.

Missing Air Crew Report 16345 (MACR 16345) was generated retroactively, circa 1945
Kodochosho, Tainan Kōkūtai, August 14, 1942
RAAF Casualty File (NAA A705, 163/87/247)
PNG Museum Aircraft Status Card - B-17E Flying Fortress 41-2656
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - Wilson L. Cook
CWCG - George Stewart Andrews
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - Hubert S. Mobley
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - Joseph R. Cunningham
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - Elwyn O. Rahier
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - John J. Dunbar
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - Irving W. McMichael
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - Charles M. Hartman
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - David B. Beattie
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - Richard K. Pastor
FindAGrave - 1Lt Wilson Luther Cook (photo, tablets of the missing)
FindAGrave - 2Lt Hubert S Mobley (tablets of the missing)
FindAGrave - 1Lt Joseph Ralph Cunningham (photo, tablets of the missing photo)
FindAGrave - SSgt Elwyn Owen Rahier (tablets of the missing photo)
FindAGrave - SSgt John J Dunbar (tablets of the missing)
FindAGrave - Sgt Irving Wenman McMichael (photo, tablets of the missing photo)
FindAGrave - Sgt Irving Wenman McMichael (photo, memorial marker)
FindAGrave - Corp Charles Max Hartman (tablets of the missing)
FindAGrave - Pvt David B Beattie (tablets of the missing photo)
FindAGrave - Corp Richard K Pastor (photo, tablets of the missing photo)
50th Anniversary: Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress 1935-1985 (cover photo)
Chief Seattle from the Pacific Northwest by Glen Spieth, 1988 (self published)
Oz@War - Chief Seattle a B-17 of the 435th Bomb Squadron crashed 14 Aug 1942
Clemson University Alumni Class of 1939 - Joseph Ralph Cunningham (photo)
RAAFDB - George Stewart Andrews
Eagles of the Southern Sky page 121 (artwork) 247-249, 300 (artwork), 302, 318, 337, 388

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Last Updated
May 3, 2016


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Aug 14, 1942

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