James Johnston 19th Sq. 22nd Gp. crash in New Guinea

Discussion about wrecks and losses as well as historic sites in the Pacific.

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James Johnston 19th Sq. 22nd Gp. crash in New Guinea

Post by jakejohnston » Tue Jan 14, 2014 4:07 pm

I am looking for info on a plane crash my Grandfather in the pacific theatre.

I showed my uncle this site today and this is what he replied with:

"Interesting. But not much on the 22nd Bomb Group yet. They lost plenty of planes out there.

I've never been able to locate a report on the loss of the plane loss that Grandpa Jim survived. I don't know if it was a B-25 or B-26 but recall that it was a medium bomber that ran out of gas over the Owen Stanley Range (in 1943?) and he was the only crew member that came back. He was in the 19th Squadron of the 22nd.

I don't think that dad ever flew in the B-17. He trained in the obsolete B-18 until their Group was equipped with B-26s, theirs being the first unit to receive that aircraft. Then, as B-25s were supplied to the 5th Air Force in theater, some of the squadrons in the 22nd converted to those while the 19th absorbed all of the remaining B-26s that the Group was issued originally.

They dubbed the 19th the Silver Fleet at that point: the unit commander got permission to strip the camo paint from the ships and buff em to a bright shine. This saved weigh (longer range or greater bomb load) and also was intended to demoralize the enemy - 'you can see me so why don't you come and get me?' The B-26 was as fast as a Zero over the target are, having burnt off much of its fuel load and much better armored. That earned them broadcast recognition by Tokyo Rose so it appears to have had some real effect on morale. Dad was ordered State-side before the 22nd was converted to heavies - B24s and the Silver Fleet was scrapped in Australia from what I read.

When Dad returned to the US, he was assigned to a 'standardization crew' to train instructors who would train new air crews to operate the new B-29s. It was a relatively nice gig - flying down to Havana from Nebraska and back non-stop on the Army's newest shiny airplane, if everything went as planned. Sometimes it didn't and there was an opportunity to take advantage of Cuban opportunities while things got sorted out."

My understanding is that my grandfather was a radio operator.

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