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|Pilot 2nd Lt. Glen D. Benskin, O-665378 (rescued)
Gunner Sgt Winfred "J. J." Westerman, 17038017 (rescued)
Crashed April 16, 1944 "Black Sunday" at 17:05
Inland and alone, this A-20 ran low on fuel and elected to force land into a swampy area near Karbunka village roughly 20 miles northeast of Annamberg, about 200 yards south of the Ramu River. As Benskin landed, the aircraft cut a swathe through the kunai and spun clockwise before coming to rest at 17:05 near sunset. Both crew were unhurt in the landing. During the crash the forward fuselage became twisted jamming the cockpit canopy shut and gunner Westerman was able to help Benskin to escape through the left window.
Overnight, the two were attacked by mosquitoes. Benskin recalled later:
Despite their instructions, the pair tried to cut a path to the edge of the jungle for shelter from the heat and swamp, but it took two days to reach the jungle due to the thick kunai grass. Cutting the grass, Benskin cut his knee with his machete and it quickly became infected. Giving up, the pair gave up and returned to the aircraft.
Using their raft to the bank of the Ramu River, the pair floated downstream naked, keeping their clothing and weapons aboard the raft for a half mile to reach the clearing, reaching it at night during a heavy rainstorm.
On April 25, The crew were dropped bolo, axes, shovels, tools, air ma tresses, shelter halves, toilet articles, canned food, cigarettes, magazines and clothing. They were ordered to construct a small 225' runway so a liaison aircraft could land to rescue them and camped in the clearing. After four days of work, they completed a runway aided by dry weather. On May 1, an L-4 piloted by SSgt Walter James from the 25th Liaison Squadron landed in the clearing to rescue them. With Benskin aboard who was weakened from his infected machete wound, scrub typhus, blood poisoning and malaria, the L-4 took off and landed at Faita Airfield then Gusap Airfield. That same afternoon, the L-4 returned to rescue Westerman. Afterwards, Benskin who had lost 40lbs was hospitalized for six weeks.
Many parts of this A-20 were used in the RAAF restorations of DB-7B "J is for Jessica" A28-8 and A-20G "Hell'N Pelican II" 42-86786 restorations during 1988-1991. Until 2002, the remaining pieces of salvaged parts were placed into storage at RAAF Point Cook. During 2002, remaining parts of this aircraft were possibly disposed, traded or sold by the RAAF.
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