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90th BG c1943
90th BG Dec 1, 1943
|Pilot 1st Lt. Richard A. Adams O-791662 (survived)
Co-Pilot 1st Lt John H. Heathe, O-792591 (slight wounds, survived)
Navigator 1st Lt Glenn E. Nations, O-733457 (slight wounds, survived)
Bombardier 1st Lt Fred H. Blaney, O-372647 (slight wounds, survived)
Engineer T/Sgt Joseph H. Hatcher, 18063393 (fractured ankle, survived)
Radio T/Sgt Lawson M. Johnson, 38156098 (slight wounds, survived)
Gunner S/Sgt William D. Ball, 6877719 (MIA / KIA) NY
Gunner S/Sgt Lewis B. Butt, 12132516 (MIA / KIA) PA
Gunner S/Sgt Philip J. LaGarde, Jr., 14053760 (MIA / KIA) LA
Gunner S/Sgt Mitchell E. Balut, 6896544 (MIA / KIA) PA
Crashed December 1, 1943
Immediately after dropping their bombs, "Zeros" attacked (actually Ki-43 Oscars) and the formation encountered more anti-aircraft fire set the No. 4 engine on fire. This blaze was extinguished, and the crew jettisoned everything possible from the damaged bomber.
This B-24 attempted to ditch twenty miles northeast of Finschafen. Another reference states the bomber ditched between Long Island and New Guinea coast and was observed to cartwheel as it hit the water. During the crash, Heathe was knocked unconscious and found floating in the water. Those in the flight deck area survived. The four in the waist and tail died in the crash and their bodies were not recovered. The survivors deployed the two life rafts before the B-24 sank.
The next day, the six survivors were rescued by PT-Boats from Finschafen PT Boat base, escorted by fighters.
Blaney passed away on October 10, 1989. He is buried at Linwood Cemetery in Haverhill, MA.
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