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  B-24D-30-CO "Yankee Doodle Dandy" Serial Number 42-40077  
USAAF
5th AF
90th BG
319th BS

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90th BG c1943

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90th BG c1944

Pilot  1st Lt. Howard L. Golden, O-799382 (POW, executed April 18, 1944) AL
Co-Pilot  2nd Lt. John R. Jennings, O-808847 (MIA / KIA) PA
Crew  2nd Bernard M. Donohue, O-752985 (POW, executed April 18, 1944) CA
Crew  2nd George A. Sparks, O-1550269 (KIA, recovered)
Crew  T/Sgt Edward N. Stachowiak, 16147569 (KIA, recovered)
Crew  T/Sgt Allen D. Toppert, 36628908 (KIA, recovered)
Crew  S/Sgt Eugene A. Ivers, 32571227 (KIA , recovered)
Crew  S/Sgt Allen W. Pearson, 36328994 (KIA, recovered)
Crew  S/Sgt Fred J. Shroad, 33242452 (KIA, recovered)
Crew  S/Sgt Guy A. Buie, 38225344 (KIA, recovered)
Crew  William D. Ballou, 34546512 (KIA, recovered)
Crew  Sgt David S. Ingerman, 37278739 (KIA, recovered)
Crew  SSgt Joseph C. Minnich, 35343616 (KIA, recovered)

Crashed  April 12, 1944 at 1148 hours
MACR  4926

Aircraft History
Built by Consolidated at San Diego. Delivered to the U. S. Army. Ferried overseas via Hawaii to Australia.

Wartime History
Assigned to the 5th Air Force, 90th Bombardment Group, 319th Bombardment Squadron. This B-24 flew extensive combat in the South-West Pacific Area. When lost, engines R1830-43 serial numbers 42-38225, 42-63690, 41-14693 and 41-35534. This B-24 successfully flew 101 combat missions.

Aircraft History
On April 12, 1944 took off from Nadzab Airfield on course 300 degrees for a bombing mission against Hollandia. Separated from the 319th Bombardment Squadron, it joined with the 400th Bombardment Squadron.

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. Attacked by three Japanese fighters, and other B-24s saw hits registered and what appeared to be several engines knocked out. The plane 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 south-east end of Hollandia Airfield.

An extract from the S-2 form blue, 400th BS dated 12 Apr 44 states:
"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 handed over to the Japanese 6th Flying Division and beheaded, apparently by Sgt Major Aoyama on April 18, 1944, neither of their bodies were recovered.

Recovery of Remains
Australian war graves unit investigated the crash site on December 1, 1947. Some remains were found and exhumed. On August 13, 1948 US Army AGRS team, 5A Detachment visited the crash site and the remains of four unidentified crew members were recovered.

Memorials
Golden was officially declared dead on April 30, 1944 and Jennings on April 12, 1944. Both are memorialized on the tablets of the missing at Manila American Cemetery.

The other members of the crew were declared dead the day of the mission and were recovered postwar at Zachary Taylor National Cemetery at Section E, Site 292–293 buried February 20, 1950.

Relatives
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.

Hoever 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 Mazzone (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."

References
PNG Museum Aircraft Status Card - B-24D Liberator 42-40077
Legacy of the 90th Bombardment Group pages 111-112
B-24 Best Web
MacArthur's Eagles page 131 (photo), 234-236
Thanks to Daniel Leahy and Edward Rogers additional information

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Are you a relative or associated with any person mentioned?
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Last Updated
January 5, 2018

 

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B-24

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