90th BG c1943
90th BG c1944
90th BG c1944
|Pilot 1st Lt. Howard L. Golden, O-799382 (POW, executed April 18, 1944, MIA) Macon County, AL
Co-Pilot 2nd Lt. John R. Jennings, O-808847 (MIA / KIA) Charleroi, PA
Navigator 2nd Bernard M. Donohue, O-752985 (POW, executed April 18, 1944, MIA) San Francisco, CA
Bombardier 2nd George A. Sparks, O-1550269 (KIA, recovered) Santa Clara County, CA
Engineer TSgt Edward N. Stachowiak, 16147569 (KIA, recovered) Chicago, IL
Radio TSgt Allen D. Toppert, 36628908 (KIA, recovered) Chicago, IL
Gunner SSgt Eugene A. Ivers, 32571227 (KIA , recovered) NY
Gunner SSgt Allen W. Pearson, 36328994 (KIA, recovered) Sweden
Gunner SSgt Fred J. Shroad, 33242452 (KIA, recovered) Lancaster, PA
Gunner SSgt Joseph C. Minnich, 35343616 (KIA, recovered) Saint Johns, OH
Photographer S/Sgt Guy A. Buie, 38225344 (KIA, recovered) LA
Observer Sgt William D. Ballou, 34546512 5th Bomber Command, Headquarters (KIA, recovered) GA
Photographer Sgt David S. Ingerman, 37278739 5th Air Force CCU (KIA, recovered) Hennepin County, MN
Crashed April 12, 1944 at 11:48am
Built by Consolidated at San Diego. Constructors Number 1154. Delivered to the U. S. Army Air Force (USAAF) as B-24D-30-CO Liberator serial number 42-40077. Ferried overseas via Hickam Field then across the Pacific to Australia.
Assigned to the 5th Air Force, 90th Bombardment Group, 319th Bombardment Squadron. Nicknamed "Yankee Doodle Dandy" in white with the nose art of a top hat with red and white stripes and stars above three falling bombs. The tail had the 90th Bombardment Group motif of a skull with crossed bombs.
By early 1944, a scoreboard on the left side of the nose had 100 bombs markings in two rows (58 in the top row and 42 in the lower row) indicating bombing missions flown, many had a star above the bomb. Between the two rows were seven aircraft silhouettes indicating Japanese aircraft claimed by gunners. Below the pilot's window was "Ellie" and below the first row of bombs was "Scottin". Below the forward left window was "Helen".
This B-24 flew at least one hundred bombing missions in the South-West Pacific Area (SWPA). When lost, engines R1830-43 serial numbers 42-38225, 42-63690, 41-14693 and 41-35534. When lost aboard aboard were nine .50 caliber machine guns.
The left waist gun manufactured by Kelsey Hayes Wheel Company serial number 456736, right waist gun Kelsey Hayes Wheel Company serial number 461994. The tail gun turret had the right gun manufactured by Savage Arms Corporation serial number 112576 and left gun manufactured by Frigidaire Division of General Motors serial number 83215. The top turret gun turret had left gun manufactured by High Standard serial number r318449 and right gun manufactured by Savage Arms Corporation serial number 474272. The nose turret had right gun manufactured by Colt serial number 19228 and left gun manufactured by High Standard serial number 151429. The lower hatch gun was manufactured by Kelsey Hayes Wheel Company serial number 457148.
On April 12, 1944 took off from Nadzab Airfield piloted by 1st Lt. Howard L. Golden on a bombing mission against Hollandia. Separated from the 319th Bombardment Squadron, this bomber joined with the 400th Bombardment Squadron formation. Aboard was observer Sgt William D. Ballou from Headquarters, 5th Bomber Command (5th BC) and photographer Sgt David S. Ingerman from the 5th Air Force Combat Camera Unit (5th CCU).
Over the target, this bomber begin to trail 2,000 yards behind the formation and was hit by anti-aircraft fire from the 66 Anti-aircraft Battalion, 3 Battery. and was targeted by three Japanese fighters. Other B-24s in the formation observed this bomber being hit by gunfire and appeared to be several engines knocked out.
Damaged, this bomber went into a flat spin, and two parachutes were observed before the bomber crashed with a large explosion. The fighters fired at the two descending parachutes and the bomber crashed about a mile from the southeast end of Hollandia Airfield. When this B-24 failed to return it was officially listed as Missing In Action (MIA).
Missing Air Crew Report 4926 (MACR 4926) page 21 statement by 1st Lt. Robert H. Suits 15 May 1944:
"Plane from 319th Bomb Squadron became separated from 319th flight prior to reaching Ramu Valley and attached itself to our squadron. South of Sentani Lake as our ships were engaged in changing lead plane this plane dropped behind the formation, reason not known. At time of attack by enemy fighters this plane was 2,000 yards behind formation. The Tony's and Hamp continued their dive through our formation and pressed their attack determinedly on the straggling plane. Many strikes were seen registering on it and knocking out at least two engines and probably scoring hits on the cockpit, with 20mm shells. The plane was seen to smoke and went into a flat spiral, crashing with a terrific explosion, approximately 6,000 feet SW of Hollandia Strip in Kunai grass, north of Sentani Lake. Two parachutes were seen to open, but the fighters strafed these before they reached the ground and no survivors could be expected."
Fates of the Crew
According to the Japanese, six died in the crash and four parachuted out. Ivers was found dead in his parachute by native people and buried.
Golden and Donohue and were captured and became Prisoners Of War (POW). Both were handed over to the Japanese Army Air Force (JAAF), 6th Flying Division. On April 18, 1944 both were executed by Sgt Major Aoyama at an unknown location and were likely buried in shallow graves at or near Hollandia Airfield.
Recovery of Remains
On December 1, 1947 an Australian Army War Graves Unit investigated the crash site and recovered the remains of some of the crew. On August 13, 1948 American Graves Registration Service (AGRS) 5A Detachment visited the crash site and recovered the remains of four unidentified crew members. The remains recovered were deemed to be ten of the crew.
Only Ivers was individually identified.
During the late 1940s, the recovered remains were transported to the United States for permanent burial.
The entire crew (with the exception of Golden and Donohue) was officially declared dead the day of the mission. Golden and Donohue were officially declared dead on April 30, 1944. The entire crew earned Air Medal and Purple Heart, posthumously.
Three of the crew: Golden, Jennings and Donohue remain listed as Missing In Action (MIA). All three are memorialized at Manila American Cemetery on the tablets of the missing.
On February 20, 1950 nine of the crew were buried in a group at Zachary Taylor National Cemetery at section E, site 292–293. The group burial includes: Ballou, Buie,
Ingerman, Minnich, Pearson, Shroad, Sparks, Stachowiak and Toppert.
Ivers was buried at Valleau Cemetery in Ridgewood, NJ.
Minnich also has a memorial marker at Plum Cemetery in Lakeview, OH.
Ballou also has a memorial marker at Mount Pleasant Cemetery Chattahoochee, FL.
Golden also has memorial marker at Rose Hill Cemetery in Tallassee, AL where his date of death is listed as April 12, 1944 (the day of the mission) with the epitaph "In memory of Howard Lamar Golden... pilot MIA Hollandia New Guinea 24 missions".
Tim Alexander adds:
"My maternal grandmother's brother, SSGT Joseph C. Minnich. I have been on this trail for over 3 years trying to figure out exactly what happened to the crew. Of all the books I've read, as well as after action and missing air crew reports, they all give conflicting reports. According to the book, Legacy of the 90th Bombardment Group, Golden, Donohue, Ivers, and a fourth unidentified crew member escaped the plane. It was believed that the unidentified man fell into Lake Sentani and drowned. Ivers body was found on the shore of the lake, cause of death unknown, and buried by the natives.
After the war, a recovery team from Graves registration identified his remains and sent them home for private burial. Golden and Donohue were arrested by local Jap sympathizers and then turned over to the Japanese who interrogated then executed both men sometime between April 18 and April 30. I was recently visiting the Jolly Rogers web site and while browsing the message board, came across a fellow who had a very interesting story about that aircraft. For a time the Army could not determine the fate of the copilot, 2nd Lt. John Jennings. His name appeared on a list of fatalities suffered in the a fire in Tokyo at a large prison used to hold Allied airmen. when the Army closed the file on Jennings, they had decided that he would have had no useful information that Tokyo might have wanted to obtain through interrogation that hadn't already been revealed by Golden and Donohue, and therefore the final report says that Jennings dies in the crash.
However the story this gentleman has told me is quite different. He states that when his grandfather was 10 years old, their family lived on the shores of Lake Sentani and witnessed the death of Yankee Doodle Dandy. He also stated that 2 parachutes that were seen to be floating down were strafed by the Jap fighters before they hit the ground. The grandfather also witnessed the crewman falling into the lake. But he states that John Jennings was rescued and stayed in hiding at the family home for approximately 2 days and nights before he was captured. A search for Jennings after the war turned up a report from a man in Australia saying that Jennings body had been identified among the dead at the Tokyo prison fire.
So I am at a place on the trail where i don't know which story to believe. I am still in communication with this fellow and would like to speak to the grandfather somehow. I don't know if you are already familiar with this crash or crash site but maybe there is a possibility of even visiting the wreck site."
Kimberly Donohue Amazon (great niece of Bernard M. Donohue):
"have only recently learned of my great uncle, Bernard M. Donohue of the 319th and the Yankee Doodle Dandy, and his story of service."
USAF Serial Number Search Results - B-24D-30-CO Liberator 42-40077
"40077 (90th BG/319th BS) shot down by fighters on bombing mission to Hollandia, Dutch New Guinea Apr 12, 1944. All crew killed. Date of Mar 6, 1944 also quoted, MACR 4926"
Missing Air Crew Report 4926 (MACR 4926)
PNG Museum Aircraft Status Card - B-24D Liberator 42-40077
Legacy of the 90th Bombardment Group pages 111-112
MacArthur's Eagles page 131 (photo), 234-236
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - Howard L. Golden
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - John R. Jennings
FindAGrave - 1Lt Howard L Golden (group photo, tablets of the missing photo)
1LT Howard Lamar Golden (memorial marker photo)
2Lt John Richard Jennings (group photo, tablets of the missing photo)
2Lt Bernard M Donohue (group photo, tablets of the missing)
2LT George A Sparks (group photo, group burial photo)
TSGT Edward N Stachowiak (group photo, group burial photo)
Allen D. Toppert (group photo, group burial photo)
FindAGrave - SSGT Eugene A Ivers (photo, grave photo)
SSGT Allen W Pearson (group photo, group burial photo)
SSGT Fred J Shroad (group photo, group burial photo)
SSGT Guy A Buie (group burial photo)
FindAGrave - SSGT Joseph C Minnich (photo, group photo, group burial photo)
FindAGrave - SSGT Joseph C Minnich (memorial marker photo)
SGT William Dexter Ballou (group burial photo)
FindAGrave - William Dexter Ballou (memorial marker photo)
David S. Ingerman (group burial photo)
Thanks to Daniel Leahy and Edward Rogers additional information
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October 18, 2018
April 12, 1944
POW / MIA