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  F-7A "Under Exposed" Serial Number 42-73052  
USAAF
5th AF
6th PRG
20th CMS

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20th CMS c1944

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Chris Breuer 2002

Pilot  1st Lt Loren G. Barstow, O-675387 (KIA, BR)
Co-Pilot  2nd Lt Jack S Connor, O-729317 (KIA)
Navigator  2nd Lt Douglas H. Puck, O-734599 (KIA, BR)
Engineer  S/Sgt Edwin R. Maillie, 17071379 (KIA)
Radio  S/Sgt Harold M. Valentine, 34029885 (KIA, BR) LA
Photographer  S/Sgt Leonard Diamond, 11073297 (KIA)
Gunner  Sgt John W. Schmitt, 14085521 (KIA) WA
Gunner  Sgt George M. Harvey, 13088758 (KIA) PA
Gunner  Sgt Stephen J. Boudreaux, 38380560 (KIA)
Gunner  S/Sgt Luis Degollado, 18057572 (KIA)
Gunner  S/Sgt George Dick, 33245475 (KIA, BR)

Crashed  May 22, 1944 at approximately 4:00am
MACR  none

Aircraft History
Built by Consolidated at San Diego as a model B-24J-5-CO. Delivered to the U. S. Army. Converted to F-7A photographic reconnaissance version. Painted in the "blue or no blue" color scheme which was thought to be superior camouflage. On March 11, 1944 departed the United States and ferried via Hawaii across the Pacific, On March 25, 1944 arrived at Garbutt Field near Townsville.

Wartime History
Assigned to the 5th Air Force, 6th Photographic Reconnaissance Group, 20th Combat Mapping Squadron. Nicknamed "Under Exposed" with the nose art of a blonde woman removing her bra atop a circular background. On April 2, 1944 took off from Garbutt Field at 7:45am on a flight northward to Port Moresby. On April 3, 1944 departed Port Moresby at 8:30am on a flight to Nadzab Airfield arriving at 10:00am. This aircraft flew combat missions photographing enemy targets. During late May 1944, stripped to natural metal finish.

Mission History
Took off from Nadzab Airfield piloted by Barstow on his his second combat mapping mission. This B-24 was observed circling northwest of Nadzab the left in the valley about 10 minutes after take off at an altitude of about 5,000'. There were two other F-7As in the formation, which had been assigned to photograph Padaidori Island for mapping. This B-24 crashed into Mount Wilhelm at an altitude of about 13,000'.

Wreckage
The wreckage of this B-24 is still present on Mount Wilhelm in the vicinity of Keglsugl.

Chris Breuer reports:
"The terrain is very rocky so the plane has been destroyed along with all the things that have been stolen from it in the past years."

Recovery of Remains
The entire crew was officially declared dead the day of the mission. After the crash, Ralph Bowley, 20th CMS intelligence officer trekked to the crash site and recovered the remains of the crew. After the recovery of remains, the crew was buried in Nadzab Cemetery.

Lt. Col. David W. Ecoff Sr. (pilot of the 20th CMS) recalls:
"The remains of the crew were recovered by Ralph Bowley, our Intelligence Officer and buried at the Nadzab Cemetery with honors."

Memorials
The entire crew was officially declared dead the day of the mission. Postwar the remains were exhumed and transported to the Philippines and United States for permanent burial.

Three are buried in Manila American Cemetery Harvey at Plot L Row 2 Grave 131, Diamond at Plot N Row 12 Grave 50. Schmitt is buried at Plot D Row 12 Grave 174.

Barstow is buried at Ceder River Cemetery in Stephenson, MI.
Puck was buried at Fort Snelling National Cemetery at section 9, site 8972.
Valentine is buried at Arlington National Cemetery at section 34, site 4176.
Dick is buried at Alto Reste Burial Park in Altoona, PA at plot D row 262.

References
PNG Museum Aircraft Status Card - F-7A Liberator 42-73052
FindAGrave - Sgt George Dick (grave photo)
FindAGrave - Douglas H Puck (grave photo)
FindAGrave - Harold M Valentine (grave photo)
FindAGrave - Sgt Leonard Diamond (grave photo)
FindAGrave - Sgt John W Schmitt
FindAGrave - Sgt George M Harvey

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Last Updated
February 12, 2014

 

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F-7A
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