|Pilot 1st Lt. James L. Knarr, O-797844 (MIA / KIA) PA
Gunner S/Sgt Charles G. Reichley, 13093592 (MIA / KIA) PA
Crashed July 22, 1944
Prewar, Knarr was a school teacher.
He had flown and survived the April 16, 1944 "Black Sunday" mission against Hollandia when severe weather was encountered on the return flight. He was overseas for a year and had flown at least 70 combat missions prior to his death. Reichley flew at least 46 combat missions.
Built by Douglas. Assigned to the US Army on November 22, 1943. Assigned to the 417th Bombardment Group. Later, transferred to the 312th Bombardment Group, 387th Bombardment Squadron on March 20, 1944. Nicknamed "Bevo" with tail letter V a white tail band and diamond marking (marking of the 387th Bombardment Squadron) painted on the rear fuselage.
On July 22, 1944 one of twelve A-20s led by Col. Strauss that took off from Hollandia Airfield on a low level mission against Kokas. This A-20 was part of the last flight of three aircraft, led by Captain Jack W. Klein, with wingman 2nd Lt. Melvin H. Kapson. Approaching the target from the inland direction, this A-20 dropped its 250 lbs bombs and strafed gun positions. Hit by antiaircraft fire at low level, this A-20 crashed into the sea off Kokas,
exploding on impact.
The other A-20s, involved in their own runs and evasive maneuvers were unaware of the fate of this aircraft, until the mission's photography was developed and printed. A series of four photos, taken
by another A-20 ahead of it captured the plane's last moments
in the air. These photos were later released to the media and appeared in Yank Magazine and TIME
Magazine in support of the war bond drive captioned "Death
of an A-20".
Both crew members were declared dead the day of the mission and are memorialized on the tablets of the missing at Manila American Cemetery. Knarr also has a memorial marker at Morningside Cemetery in Du Bois, PA.
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - James L. Knarr
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - Charles G. Reichley
FindAGrave - 1Lt James L Knarr (tablets of the missing, photo)
James L. Knarr (memorial marker photo)
FindAGrave - SSgt Charles Grover Reichley (tablets of the missing photo)
Rampage of the Roarin' 20's pages 151, 152-153 (photos), 155, 205 (profile #14), 358, 384 (photo)
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January 5, 2018