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|Pilot 1st Lt. Ernest A. Naumann, O-427762 (POW, executed November 25, 1943, MIA / KIA) Baldwin,
Co-Pilot 1st Lt. Winslow G. Gardner, O-728853 (MIA / KIA) Menan, ID
Bombardier 2nd Lt. Oliver R. Alvin, O-669943 (MIA / KIA) North Branch, MN
Navigator 2nd Lt. Charles H. Lewis, O-791838 (MIA / KIA, BR) Brooklyn, NY
Engineer TSgt Thomas H. Fox, 6977438 (POW, executed June 1943, BNR) Mechanicsville, NY
Radio SSgt Paul J. Cascio, Jr., 13072715 (POW, survived) Baltimore, MD
Ball Turret S/Sgt Virgil E. DeVoss, 6917104 (MIA / KIA, BR) Danville, OH
Gunner Sgt Bruno R. Bukalski, 15082036 (MIA / KIA, BR) Kouts, IN
Radio Sgt Albert Smith, 13028645 (MIA / KIA, BR) Philadelphia, PA
Tail Gunner Pfc Charles H. Green, Jr., 12011992 (POW, executed June 1943, BNR) Morgantown, WV
Crashed June 1, 1943
At 2:10pm, six hours into the flight, this B-17 was attacked by a a dozen Japanese fighters. Their last radio message received was over the Wide Bay area. Attacking Zeros hit the bomber's fuel tank near the no. 2 engine, causing a fire and explosion that resulted in at least four of the crew to be blown out of the bomber.
This B-17 crashed at the summit of Hong Kong mountain, on the eastern aspect of Waterfall Bay, up the coast from Pomio. Five of the crew went down with bomber.
Fates of the Crew
The four surviving crew: Naumann, Cascio, Green and Fox found each other and located the B-17 crash site. Among the wreckage, they located and identified the bodies of five of the crew: Lewis, Alvin, DeVoss, Bukalski and Smith. No trace of Gardner was ever found, it was presumed he was also blown clear but did not survive.
On June 8, 1943 the four survivors were captured by a Japanese Army patrol near a village and became Prisoners Of War (POWs).
Postwar, the Japanese claimed that Green and Fox were taken to a hospital at Gasmata. Neither of were seen again and it is presumed they died or were executed. During 1946, a RAAF Searcher Team led by S/L Keith Rundle concluded both were taken to Mal Mal and executed by the Japanese during the middle of June 1943.
Naumann and Cascio were transported to Rabaul and detained by the Japanese Navy Keibitai (Naval Special Police), 81st Naval Guard Unit at the Japanese Navy POW Camp at Rabaul. Both were tortured for information and denied food or medical care.
Around November 12, 1943 Cascio was transported to Japan with a group of prisoners. He was the only member of the crew to survive the Pacific War. On September 24, 1945 he was liberated from Tokyo POW Camp (Shinjuku) Tokyo Bay Area 35-140.
On November 25, 1943 Naumann and eleven other Allied prisoners were taken from the POW camp. Civilians who were interned at the same camp included Reverand Joseph Lamarre. They were told by the guards that the twelve prisoners were being taken to Japan. Two weeks later a group of Indian POWs informed Rev. Lamarre that the twelve had been beheaded on the outskirts of Rabaul. Nauman and five other 43rd Bomb Group B-17 crew members were executed including Neuman, Burnside, Mulligan and George from B-17E 41-9011 and Curry from B-17E "Honi Kuu Okole" 41-9244.
S/Sgt Paul J. Cascio, Jr. would later report:
On March 12, 1946, a RAAF Searcher Team led by S/L Keith Rundle visited the crash site and recovered the remains of at least three crew members along with a ring with the first two of three initials being "A. H." (Albert Smith). After the recovery of remains, these three sets of remains were buried in New Guinea then transported to the United States.
Brian Bennett recalls the 1987 investigation:
The wreckage is widely scattered. The wing tip is away from the two main areas of wreckage and the wing tip was used as shelter for a night by the crew before the locals took them down to a place called Ram village [not on the map as was moved to the coast back in the 1950's. Look for Tokai-Ram.
At 41-9207 I found the data plate in the tail, and recovered the external emergency life raft release cover. It is essential to get duplicate serial numbers or stencils from elsewhere on the aircraft. Four survived mid air explosion of aircraft but all later captured by Japanese after being turned in by local "Polis boi". Two late sent back to Japan and two wounded executed at Palmalmal. There were two local men at that time  that had been in the party of locals that had gone to the crash site.
Should not forget that there are still crew missing from this aircraft and that the area was never gridded and swept by metal detector. Still crew missing on this one as two had "candled" when the ship blew up in the air. The two large pieces of ball turret were dug out by CILHI back in 1987. We found the navigator Gardener only. Janice Olson visited this site briefly years ago. She would only have seen the wreckage where the ball turret is."
During 1990 the remains of Lewis were identified and returned to his family.
Gardner was identified by a few bone fragments and a boot. His personal effects recovered included pieces of his uniform, a metal case with wire-framed glasses, comb and boots, straps off his flight jacket and coins. In 1991, his remains and these personal effects were returned to his relatives.
After the 1946 recovery of remains, DeVoss, Bukalski and Smith were permanently buried on February 3, 1950 in a group burial at Zachary Taylor National Cemetery at plot I, site 58-59.
Lewis has a memorial marker placed by his father during the 1960s at Mount Ararat Cemetery in East Farmingdale, NY.
Gardner has a memorial marker in Hyrum City Cemetery in Hyrum, UT at plot G-14.5-8. After the recovery of remains, his family had a memorial service on May 4, 1991 in Salt Lake City, UT. One of the people in attendance was his college sweetheart, Louise Larkin (nee Dixon) of Ogden, UT. Gardner met and dated Louise Dixon at Weber College where he was studying dentistry, took aviation courses, was student body treasurer and took flying lessons. In November 1942 she flew out to San Francisco to see him off before he went overseas. The day before he left he slipped a ring on her finger and asked her to marry him. They were engaged when he was killed. She married Elijah Ferrin "Ferrin" Larking. Gardner flew 40 missions before he was lost. Artifacts associated with Gardner are displayed at Fort Douglas Museum at Fort Douglas Airfield.
Sole survivor Paul J. Cascio passed away on July 6, 1992. He is buried at Holly Hill Memorial Gardens in Middle River, MD.
Dorothy Cascio Morse (sister of Cascio)
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