Missing Air men OBI Island 0675811 Alexander

Details about those listed as missing or killed in the Pacific, including current search operations.

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wanmike
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Missing Air men OBI Island 0675811 Alexander

Post by wanmike » Wed Nov 25, 2009 2:28 am

While Reading a Mission report from Far Eastern Lesion Office released by the Australian Government in 2000 I happen to come across a interrogation report dated May 1945 which reference two United States air men being 0675811 B ALEXANDER and BALLANGER who on or about March 1945 aircaft crashed in the hills on OBI Island South Pacific. The report informs us on how Alexander and Ballanger were captured and their attemped excape . (The report is of limited information).

If you do not already have this report would you like this report to be forwarded to you.

scottbthomas
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Re: Missing Air men OBI Island 0675811 Alexander

Post by scottbthomas » Wed Nov 25, 2009 10:28 am

Please forward the report to Scottbthomas@yahoo.com. Thank you.

davidf
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Re: Missing Air men OBI Island 0675811 Alexander

Post by davidf » Sat Nov 28, 2009 12:43 am

I assume the you are referring to "J" Mission interrogation reports?
The United States airmen referred to were 2nd Lts Earnest R ALEXANDER and Leon A BOLLINGER.

I have been trying to find information on their aircraft and mission(s) for some time. They were probably in separate P-51's lost in late February 1945. ALEXANDER was reported as lost on a ferry flight to Leyte Island on 27th February 1945 (the aircraft number was given as 44-65293, but this is most likely wrong - J.Baugher's web site lists this as a "cancelled" P-82).

The Japanese reported that they were captured on 11 March 1945 and killed trying to escape on 26 March 1945. They were not buried, but at the end of the war the Japanese constructed a "burial ground" for them at Seri village - it is not stated if any remains were actually buried there. It appears from US records that no remains were ever recovered.

ALEXANDER is listed (from US National Archives & ABMC) with a FOD of 26 March 1945 (as stated by the Japanese) and BOLLINGER as KIA on 26 July 1945 [is this just an error on the ABMC site?]. They are both memorialised on the Tablets of the Missing at the Manila American Cemetery.

BOLLINGER is listed as from the HQ Squadron, 3rd Air Commando Group. ALEXANDER is only listed as from "Army Air Corps" on ABMC.

I posted a query on these two on the 3rd ACG section on the Army Air Force forum in August (http://forum.armyairforces.com/tm.aspx? ... e=1#176916) but have had no response.

If anyone has any further info on these two, their aircraft or mission(s), I would greatly appreciate it.

David.

PF
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Re: Missing Air men OBI Island 0675811 Alexander

Post by PF » Sat Nov 28, 2009 7:46 pm

Communicate with JPAC http://www.jpac.pacom.mil/

PF
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Re: Missing Air men OBI Island 0675811 Alexander

Post by PF » Sat Nov 28, 2009 7:55 pm

2nd Lt Earnest R Alexander Service # 0-675811 was from Texas and was with the Army Air Corps
2nd Lt Leon A Bollinger Service # 2062967 was from Illinois and was with Headquarters Squadron, 3rd Air Commando Group

davidf
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Re: Missing Air men OBI Island 0675811 Alexander

Post by davidf » Sun Dec 06, 2009 5:54 am

I have found some more information on the mission Bollinger and Alexander were on when they went missing.

They were in a flight of seven P-51s flying from Biak to Morotai on 26th February 1945 [enroute to 3rd Air Commando Group].

The seven aircraft were listed as:
298 Robert R. Harrison
205 Homer M. McKissack
293 Earnest R. Alexander
253 Pierce R. Leavitt
292 Grover S. Elliott
330 Dudley D. Royal
338 Leon A. Bollinger
[all 2nd Lts]

30-40 miles short of their destination they ran into very bad weather and the formation broke up. Bollinger and his wingman [Alexander] were last seen entering clouds. One of the aircraft (Lt Leavitt) turned back to Biak. Lts McKissack and Royal made it through the bad weather and landed at Morotai a few minutes later. Lts Elliot and Harrison were delayed taking off from Biak and reached Morotai without incident. A search mission was sent out from Morotai for Bollinger and Alexander but no sign of them was found.

Bollinger had only been assigned to 3rd Air Commando Group (3rd ACG) on 20th Feb 45, and was on his way to join them. He arrived at Biak on 23 Feb and was directed to ferry a P-51 to the Group on 26 Feb. When the other pilots returned to their Squadrons, they reported the two missing aircraft but, because Bollinger had not been assigned to any Squadron, no further action was taken.

On 14 March 45, HQ 3rd ACG wired the CO, 360th Air Service Group asking why Bollinger had failed to report for duty. They replied that he had departed that station on 22 Feb 45. On 21 Mar 45, 3rd ACG again asked 360th Air Service Group for information on the whereabouts of Bollinger. They received no reply, so sent a wire on 23 Mar to 5th Air Force command stating that Bollinger had not reported for duty.

On 12 April 45, the 3rd Air Commando Gp reported that “they believed Bollinger was missing”.

Alexander is more of a mystery. He was not a member of the 3rd Air Commandos and (based on mission reports) it appears the other pilots didn’t even know his name. On the American Battle Monuments Commission site he only listed as a member of the Army Air Corps - no Group or Squadron given. His mother was informed that he went missing on 1st Mar 1945 on a ferry flight to Leyte Island. Where did he come from and why was he on this mission?

The Aircraft.
The Air Clearance for the flight had Alexander listed in aircaft “293” and Bollinger in “338”. The RAAF Searcher records have Alexander’s aircraft number as 44-25293 (a cancelled P-82B), however 44-23293 was a P-51D-20-NA Mustang (no further info). It is possible that this was the aircraft of 2nd Lt Earnest R. Alexander.
As these were replacement aircraft being ferried to the 3rd ACG, is it reasonable to assume that they would be from the same batch? That is, P-51D-20-NA 44-23338 was the aircraft of 2nd Lt Leon A. Bollinger?

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