ALLIED HDQ. IN AUSTRALIA, April 18 (AP). -- Maj. Kenneth McCullar of Batesville, Miss., one of the men responsible for the high development of skip bombing which has cost the Japanese many vessels, is dead.
Shortly after he was promoted from captain, he was killed April 4 in a takeoff in New Guinea. His Flying Fortress hit a small kangaroo and the impact broke hydraulic lines leading to the Wheels. The liquid poured into the exhaust, enveloping the plane in flames in a matter of seconds.
McCullar was one of Maj. William Benn's old line first team which logged 68 missions. He rode the first of these against Japanese shipping at Rabaul, helping Maj. Benn perfect his skip-bombing process.
Missed by Kenney
McCullar was credited with sinking one light cruiser, one destroyer, and four cargo vessels, and with damaging another light cruiser, two destroyers, and six cargo ships -- all with 500 pound bombs.
"I believe McCullar and Benn were chiefly responsible for the development of skip-bombing, and I give them all the credit in the world," Lt. Gen. G. C. Kenney, commander of allied air forces in the southwest Pacific, said in commenting on the major's death.
"I not only had a high regard for McCullar, but I personally was very fond of him," Kenney continued. "His loss was a distinct blow not only to members of his own organization and to the 5th air force, but to me personally.
Won Five Medals
"We cannot afford to lose men of his calibre. He not only was one of the most skillful pilots in the airforce but a natural leader people liked to follow. He was a master at the art of sinking Japanese ships."
McCullar had been awarded the distinguished flying cross and four other awards were awaiting approval at the time of his death. His leadership, bravery, and coolness were legend around New Guinea.
He brought his Fortress home many times by the skin of a wing. Returning from one raid against the Japanese at Buna he took his plane over the Owen Stanley mountains on only two engines, fighting evil weather and escaping gasoline all the way. He reached his base just as another engine kicked out.