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  B-17E "Eager Beavers" Serial Number 41-9122  
USAAF
13th AF
11th BG
42nd BS

Click For Enlargement
11th BG c1943

Pilot  Captain Frank L. Houx, O-397398 (MIA / KIA) Sheridan, WY
Co-pilot  2nd Lt. Martin L. Carper, Jr. O-728058 (MIA / KIA) IL
Navigator  1st Lt. George H. Gammans, O-431827 (MIA / KIA) RI
Bombardier  2nd Lt. La Verne P. Hite, O-663245 (MIA / KIA) NY
Engineer   S/Sgt Richard K. Wayne, 17001361 (MIA / KIA) MN
Radio  S/Sgt Ernest L. Koch, 13080124 (MIA / KIA) PA
Engineer  SSgt Leonard S. Knight, 15085192 (MIA / KIA) OH
Gunner  Sgt Ernest Sweigart, 13003115 (MIA / KIA) PA
Radio  Pfc Joseph A. Garvey, 31073147 (MIA / KIA) MA

Crashed  February 1, 1943
MACR  46482

Aircraft History
Built by Boeing at Seattle. Delivered to the U. S. Army. Ferried overseas via Hawaii to the South Pacific.

Wartime History
Assigned to the 13th Air Force, 11th Bombardment Group, 42nd Bombardment Squadron. Nicknamed "Eager Beavers".

On December 16, 1942 one of six took off at 6:45am from Bomber 1 Airfield on Espiritu Santo (Buttons) piloted by Captain Harold P. Hensley on a bombing mission led by Captain Hall against Munda Airfield. Each bomber was armed with twenty 100 lb fragmentation bombs. Arriving over the target at 11:58 and spotted by enemy fighters that did not attack. After bombing the target, the formation was intercepted by twelve Japanese Zeros. Aboard this B-17 radio operator S/Sgt James C. Stephens, Jr. was wounded.

Mission History
On February 1, 1943 one of nine B-17s that took off from Henderson Field on Guadalcanal on a bombing mission against shipping in the Shortland area. This bomber was part of a four plane second element with 3 B-17s from the 42nd BG (this aircraft, B-17E 41-9151 and B-17E "Yokohama Express" 41-2442) plus one B-17 piloted by Captain Thomas (5th BG, 72nd BS). The second element was commanded by Captain Hall (C. O. of the 42nd Bombardment Squadron). After scoring hits on this target, this B-17 was shot down by anti-aircraft fire near Shortland Harbor or southern Bougainville.

The sole surviving fourth plane, piloted by a Captain Thomas was also badly damaged but managed to crash land on Guadalcanal. Two crew members (radio and bombardier) were wounded.

Memorials
The entire crew was officially declared dead January 11, 1946. Seven of the crew are memorialized on the tablets of the missing at Manila American Cemetery. Garvey and Gammans are memorialized at the courts of the missing, panel 7 at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific (Punchbowl).

References
NARA World War II Army Enlistment Records - Joseph A. Garvey
Missing Air Crew Report 46482 (MACR 46482)
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - Frank L. Houx
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - Martin L. Carper Jr.
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - George H. Gammans
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - La Verne P. Hite
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - Richard K. Wayne
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - Ernest L. Koch
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - Leonard S. Knight
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - Ernest Sweigart
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - Joseph A. Garvey
FindAGrave - Capt Frank Lee Houx (tablets of the missing)
FindAGrave - 1Lt Martin L Carper, Jr (tablets of the missing photo)
FindAGrave - 1Lt George H Gammans (tablets of the missing photo)
FindAGrave - 1Lt La Verne P Hite (tablets of the missing)
FindAGrave - SSgt Richard K Wayne (tablets of the missing)
FindAGrave - Sgt Ernest L Koch (tablets of the missing photo)
FindAGrave - SSgt Leonard S Knight (tablets of the missing)
FindAGrave - Sgt Ernest Sweigart (tablets of the missing photo)
Thanks to Steve Birdsall for additional information

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Last Updated
February 4, 2018

 

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B-17

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