|Pilot 2nd Lt. Martin T. Cave (KIA, BR) Lubbock, TX
Gunner Cpl Ralph M. Osborn, 36465704 (survived)
MIA April 1, 1945 at 3:05pm
Built by Douglas. Constructors number 21275. Delivered to the U. S. Army. Disassembled and shipped overseas to the South West Pacific Area (SWPA).
Assigned to the 5th Air Force, 8th Service Group,
7th Airdrome Squadron (7th ADS). No known nickname or nose art.
On April 1, 1945 one of four A-20s that took off
from Nadzab Airfield at 2:30pm on a training mission to practice formation flying due east of the Markham River valley. This A-20 was flying as the fourth aircraft in the formation.
During the flight, the right engine began emitting white smoke and caught fire at low altitude and the pilot ordered his gunner to bail out. Osborn bailed out at roughly 800' and survived with only minor back injuries. This A-20 crashed straight into the ground seven miles west of Gusap at roughly 3:05pm. Pilot Cave was killed in the crash.
Fate of the Crew
Osborn landed roughly five miles from where the A-20 crashed. Another aircraft from the formation, A-20 piloted by 1st Lt. Matthew P. Montee circled him until they lost him but saw natives walking towards him. Soon after landing, native people arrived and took him to their village.
The next day, Osborn requested them to get his pilot and by 2:00pm they arrived with his dead body and buried him at the village. After the burial, the natives took Osborn to the crash site at 4:00pm and he remained with the aircraft. On April 3, 1945, a rescued airplane dropped a message to him to walk to Gusap, arriving by 2:30pm.
Cave was officially declared dead the day of the mission. During 1948, his remains were transported to the United States for permanent burial at Fort Sam Houston National Cemetery at section O, site 98.
FindAGrave - Martin T Cave (grave photo)
USAAF Overseas Accident Reports - April 1945 A-20G 43-21628
AirForceHistoryIndex - IRISNUM: 00040785 - 7th Airdrome Squadron April 1-30, 1945
Lubbock Avalanche-Journal (Lubbock, Texas) "News from Boys Serving in the Armed Forces of Uncle Sam" November 14, 1943 - page 9
"Lubbock Avalanche-Journal (Lubbock, Texas) Sunday, November 14, 1943 - page 9
GARDEN CITY ARMY AIR FIELD, Kan.—Levi H. Wood, 19, formerly of Lubbock, Tex., has been promoted from corporal to the rank of sergeant, it was announced by Col. Jergen B. Olson, post commander here. He attended Texas Technological college during 1941-42 and was employed at the Douglas Aircraft Corp., El Segundo, Calif., prior to entering the Army Air Forces. At this station, Sgt. Wood serves as a radio mechanic.
The Ben Cave family is represented in two branches of the service by three sons. Pvt. Lindsey Cave, who been in the Enlisted Air Force for almost a year, is now stationed in Bryan. Cpl. Clairon Cave joined the Marine Corps over a year ago, and is now stationed somewhere in the South Pacific.
Second Lt. MARTIN - Martin T. Cave, was among the 18 students to receive wings and commission in the first class to graduate from La Junta, Colo., in the B-25 training last Wednesday, Nov. 3. After spending a ten day leave here with his parents at 1605 Avenue G, Lt. Cave left Thursday night to report back to La Junta, where he will be stationed as a B-25 instructor.
Entering the service, he was stationed at LAAF for ten months as an airplane mechanic. Completing the pre-flight training at Santa Ana in four months, he was sent to Visalia, Calif., to receive the primary training, and Lemoor, Calif., for the basic training. Attending Lubbock Junior and Senior high, he graduated with the class of 1941. Prior to his entering the service on January 30, 1942, he was employed by the North American Aviation, Inc., in Inglewood, Calif."
Thanks to Edward Rogers and George Cully additional information
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January 5, 2018