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|Pilot 1st Lt. Roger Willis Morse, O-661537 (MIA / KIA) CA
Co-Pilot 1st Lt. Herbert Stanley Evans, O-727706 (MIA / KIA) OR
Navigator 2nd Lt. Robert H. Wirostek, 2045310 (MIA / KIA) OR
Bombardier 2nd Lt. William Fredric Carpen, O-661590 (MIA / KIA) PA
Engineer Sgt Marion Lewis Farmer, 15082302 (KIA, BR) IN
Asst Engineer S/Sgt I. L. Stowe, 18009618 (MIA / KIA) TX
Radio T/Sgt John William Horman, 39178564 (MIA / KIA) WA
Asst Radio Pvt Robert Paul McTwigan, 19083867 (MIA / KIA) CA
Gunner S/Sgt Paul Howard Van Buskirk, 11117149 (MIA / KIA) MA
Gunner S/Sgt Henry R. Wyka, Jr., 12155281 (KIA, BR) NY
Ditched January 2, 1944 at 12:05am
Built by Consolidated in San Diego. Delivered to the U. S. Army Air Force (USAAF) as B-24D-145-CO Liberator serial number 42-41205. Ferried overseas via Hickam Field to the Central Pacific.
Assigned to the 7th Air Force, 11th Bombardment Group, 98th Bombardment Squadron. Nicknamed "St. Quentin Quail". When lost, engines R-1830-65 serial numbers a) 42-87653 b) 42-88110 c) 42-88288 d) 42-87653. Armed with ten .50 caliber machine guns, serial numbers unknown. Also two .30 caliber machine guns serial numbers unknown.
Damaged, this B-24 and ditched off Jab'u Island into Arno Atoll near the beach in the south center of the lagoon on January 3, 1944 at 12:05pm.
As the damaged bomber descended, B-24J 42-73153 piloted by 2nd Lt. Alton O. McCleskey, O-662577 escorted them down, dropped emergency rations and observed six or seven crew members hauling equipment out of the bomber onto the beach and officers aboard B-24J "Homesick Angel" 42-73153 took photographs of the crash site.
On January 4, 1944 an aircraft was sent to destroy the ditched bomber, but was unsuccessful. On January 5, 1944 another aircraft attempted to destroy the bomber, but again failed. Later another B-25G Mitchell was again scheduled to attempt to destroy the bomber, but is unclear if it performed its mission or was successful.
Fates of the Crew
On January 16, 1944 a Japanese patrol boat arrived from Taroa Island and captured the eight survivors. All eight airmen were transported to Maloelap Atoll where they were detained until January 20, 1944.
Since 1944, small pieces of aluminum have been utilized by the Arno people as a resource for aluminum to manufacture coconut-grater blades, husking-stick points and other artifacts for daily use.
In the late 1990s, the left wing, part of the right wing and center fuselage section plus the four engines remain at the crash site. Only one propeller was seen, although the others may well rest buried in the sand, somewhere to the rear of the plane, ripped off during the crash landing. The tip section of the port wing from the port No.2 engine onwards is snapped off and twisted backwards. The bottom of the lagoon shows a few isolated pieces of aluminum, among them the ring of the central Martin turret. No pieces of the pilots cockpit or the entire rear fuselage including rear ailerons could be located.
Recovery of Remains
The eight Missing In Action (MIA) crew members are memorialized at National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific (Punchbowl) on the courts of the missing. Morse, Evans, Horman, McTwigan and Carpen on court 7. Wirostek, Stowe and Van Buskirk on court 5.
Wyka is buried at Long Island National Cemetery at plot J, grave 14180.
POW / MIA
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