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  B-17E "Texas #6" Serial Number 41-9207  
USAAF
5th AF
43rd BG
64th BS

Click For Enlargement
Brian Bennett 1987

Click For Enlargement
Mark Reichman 2007

Pilot  1st Lt. Ernest A. Naumann, O-427762 (POW, executed November 25, 1943, MIA / KIA) Baldwin, NY
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
MACR  none

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

Wartime History
Assigned to the 5th Air Force, 43rd Bombardment Group, 64th Bombardment Squadron. Nicknamed "Texas #6".

Mission History
On June 1, 1943 took off from 7-Mile Drome near Port Moresby at 10:10 on an armed reconnaissance mission over the northern and southern coast of New Britain Island.

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 from over the Wide Bay area. Attacking Zeros hit the bomber's fuel tank near the No. 2 engine, causing a fire and explosion, causing 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
Four of the crew: Naumann, Cascio, Lewis, Alvin and possibly Gardner were blown from the B-17 by the fuel tank explosion. Naumann and Cascio were wearing parachutes and were able to deploy them successfully and landed safely. Miraculously, Fox and Green did not yet miraculously landed unhurt. Fox was badly burned. Green had two minor wounds in his left knee which became gangrenous over the next week.

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 (POW).

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. In 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 interned at the Navy POW camp. 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 war.

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 includng 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:
"We were attacked by twelve Japanese fighter planes. They hit our gas tank, which caused out plane to catch on fire. The fire could not be controlled. Lieutenant Naumann, our pilot, ordered us to abandon the plane, but before we could do so the plane blew up approximately a minute an a half after it was hit. I was thrown out by the explosion. ...There were only two members of the crew who came down in parachutes. Lieutenant Naumann was one and I was the other. We landed in the jungle and were with the natives for six days. On the seventh day, while pretending to take us to New Guinea in a small boat, they led us to a coastal village where the Japanese were waiting for us."

Wreckage
This B-17 crashed at the summit of Hong Kong mountain, roughly two and half hours walk form Rem village at aprrpoximately Lat 5.26 Long 151.47. After the crash, the four surviving crew located the crash site and among the wreckage located and identified the bodies of five of the crew: Lewis, Alvin, DeVoss, Bukalski and Smith.

On March 12, 1946, a RAAF Searcher Team led by S/L Keith Rundle visted 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.

During 1987, the crash site was investigated by a team from US Army CILHI led by a Captain Benny Woodard with Brian Bennett.

Brian Bennett recalls the 1987 investigation:
"I recall fondly the CILHI team on that mission led by a Captain Benny Woodard who was a true officer and a gentleman. We humped in for two days and the last about 600' straight up. I was the scout with one local and I carried the 090 Stihl Chainsaw up with 36" bar plus the oil and gas. I cut the LZ and only then did the Huey turn up.

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 [1987] 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.

Memorials
The entire crew was officially declared dead the day of the mission. The missing crew members are memorialized on the tablets of the missing at Manila American Cemetery.

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.

Relatives
Larry Lewis (nephew of Charles H. Lewis)

Dorothy Cascio Morse (sister of Cascio)
"Three of my brothers served in WWII in the South Pacific. My oldest brother Andrew Cascio was a mechanic in the US Air Force for 11 years when he resigned. My brother Paul J. Cascio was also in the US Air Force, an aerial gunner and radio man. He was missing for 19 months when we learned he was a Japanese prisoner, a total of 28 months in Tokyo Camp Number 2. During the time Paul was missing my youngest brother Joseph Cascio, US Army Infantry was killed on Morotai Island on September 6, 1944. He was 20 years old. I have always been very patriotic and wish I could witness a Freedom Flight. I have never heard of them. God bless every one who has served our country, past and present."

References
NARA World War II Prisoners of War Data File - Paul J. Cascio, Jr.
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - Ernest A. Naumann

American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - Winslow G. Gardner
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - Oliver R. Alvin
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - Charles H. Lewis
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - Thomas H. Fox
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - Charles H. Green Jr.
RAAF Status Card B-17E 41-9207
Note: 43rd Bomb Group official history incorrectly notes this aircraft as a "B-24"
PNG Museum Aircraft Status Card - B-17E 41-9207
The Ottawa Citizen "Remembering Is Too Easy" by Charles Lewis November 10, 1991
News article "Family learns fate of missing airman" Winslow Gardner
FindAGrave - 1Lt Ernest A Naumann (photo, news)
FindAGrave - 1Lt Winslow Green Gardner (photo, memorial marker, tablets of the missing photo)
FindAGrave - Lieut Oliver Robert "Bob" Alvin (grave photo)
FindAGrave - 2LT Charles H Lewis (memorial marker)
FindAGrave - TSgt Thomas H Fox (tablets of the missing photo)
FindAGrave - Paul John Cascio (photo, grave photo)
FindAGrave - SSGT Virgil E De Voss (grave photo. photo)
FindAGrave - SGT Bruno B Bukalski (grave photo)
FindAGrave - SGT Albert Smith (grave photo)
FindAGrave - PFC Charles H Green (tablets of the missing photo)
Thanks to Brian Bennett and Edward Rogers for additional information

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Last Updated
May 22, 2017

 

Tech Info
B-17

Map
(Approx)
5.26
151.47

Map
Photo Archive

Dataplate
Dataplate

MIA / POW
POW / MIA
4 Prisoners
3 Executed
5 Missing

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  Pacific Wrecks Inc. is a non-profit 501(c)(3) charity dedicated to bringing home those Missing In Action (MIA) and leveraging new technologies in the study of World War II Pacific and the Korean War.  
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