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312th BG July 22, 1944
|Pilot 1st Lt. James L. Knarr, O-797844 (MIA / KIA) Brady Township, PA
Gunner SSgt Charles G. Reichley, 13093592 (MIA / KIA) Shamokin Dam, PA
Crashed July 22, 1944
Prewar, James L. 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. On November 22, 1943 assigned to the U. S. Army Air Force (USAAF) as A-20G-20 Havoc serial number 43-9432. Disassembled and shipped overseas to the South West Pacific Area (SWPA) and reassembled.
Assigned to the 5th Air Force, 417th Bombardment Group. On March 20, 1944 assigned to the 312th Bombardment Group, 387th Bombardment Squadron. Nicknamed "Bevo" with tail letter "V" and a white tail band and diamond marking, the motif of the 387th Bombardment Squadron painted on the rear fuselage.
On July 22, 1944 took off from Hollandia Airfield piloted by 1st Lt. James L. Knarr as one of twelve A-20 Havocs led by Col. Strauss 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. When this aircraft failed to return it was officially listed as Missing In Action (MIA).
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.
NARA World War II Army Enlistment Records - James L. Knarr
NARA World War II Army Enlistment Records - Charles G. Reichley
USAF Serial Number Search Results - A-20G-25-DO Havoc 43-9432
"9432 (387th BS, 312th BG) lost in action Jul 22, 1944, Kokas, New Guinea."
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - James L. Knarr
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - Charles G. Reichley
FindAGrave - 1Lt James L Knarr (photo, tablets of the missing, photo)
FindAGrave - 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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