|Pilot 1st Lt. Stanley
M. Keeton, O-804175 (MIA
/ KIA) Hillsburo, TX
Gunner S/Sgt John
S. Turek, 16065871 (MIA / KIA) MI
Crashed May 15, 1944 at approximately 9:20am
Built at Douglas. Delivered to the U. S. Army. Disassembled and ferried overseas to Australia and reassembled.
Assigned to the 5th Air Force. On February 19, 1944 assigned to the 312th Bombardment Group, 386th Bombardment Squadron. Tail letter F.
This aircraft was shared by two pilots: Frank C. Hogan and Stanley M. Keeton. The right side was nicknamed "Baby
Doll II" by Hogan with the nose art of a woman in a dress holding a hat behind her. The left side of the nose was the nose art of a milk bottle and the nickname "Sweet
Milk Hillsburo, TX" (Keeton's nickname and hometown).
On May 15, 1944 took off from Gusap Airfield piloted by Keeton on a bombing
and strafing mission over Dagua
the attack, this A-20 was hit by anti-aircraft fire, suddenly nosed over, crashed and burned immediately.
Hank Eales, 386th
Bombardment Squadron and flight leader on this mission recalls:
"On that day
May 15, 1944 I was nursing a sprained wrist and on the doctor's advice
I was not to fly. Stan had been wanting to lead my 'A' flight and so
assigned to take my place. I wondered for many years why him
and not me, normally I would have been leading that flight that
day. Call it fate I guess. From reports that I had
at the time, from his
wing men, his plane was hit on his strafing and skip bombing
run. I was told that he tried to get out and it was reported that
it appeared that he had pulled the rip cord of his chute, it
looked like the chute was trailing the plane down and into the trees.
it could have been trailing smoke. Now, if this was the case, there
couldn't be any escape and at that speed, no survivors. All this
time we all thought that he and his gunner couldn't possibly survive the
crash. This story that you have forwarded puts a new
direction to the crash. With the terrain around the and
the trees at the end of the runway I don't see how it was possible,
but funny things happen
with no explanation. It was tough putting his effects together
for shipment home."
Recovery of Remains
At the end of the war, the remains of the crew were recovered from the crash
During 1972, more remains were found and recovered by the Australian
Assistant District Commissioner in East Sepik Province. It is unclear if these additional remains were added to those originally found.
Both crew were declared dead the day of the mission and both are buried at Manila American Cemetery. Keeton at Plot D Row 1 Grave 195. Turek at Plot B Row 2 Grave 138.
The wreck consists of the tail of the aircraft, broken off, the "club" marking of
the 386th Bombardment Squadron is still visible on both sides of the tail, and the U. S. Army serial number.
Nearby is a wing center section, engines and remains of the cockpit
and nose of B-25D "Tin Liz" 41-30074 that crashed six days later.
Taylan visited this wreck in 2003:
"The wreckage is still there in a Sago Swamp. According to the locals,
crew survived the crash, and were executed by the Japanese, and the
burned. A local man had a ring he found near the wreckage that
belonged to one of the crew, and wants to return it to the
relatives in the United States."
Andy Keeton (nephew of Keeton)
Mary Keeton Good (niece of Keeton)
PNG Museum Aircraft Status Card - A-20G 43-9113
Thanks Andrew Keeton and Hank Eales for
Flightpath "Pilot of the Ring" by Claringbould vol. 16 no. 4 May-June 2005
Rampage of the Roarin' 20s pages 24 (photo) 119-120 (photo), 130 (photo), 348, 352, 354
Are you a relative or associated with any person mentioned?
Do you have photos or additional information to add?
May 14, 2018