5th BG c1944
Fred Olsson Oct 1, 2007
|Pilot 2nd Lt. Wills Finks, O-696349 (survived)
Co-Pilot 2nd Lt. Jack S. Scott, O-765328 (survived)
Navigator Harold A. Haugrud, O-707913 (MIA / KIA) Pelican Rapids, MN
Bombardier 2nd Lt. Carl P. Swadley, O-752965 (MIA / KIA) TX
Engineer SSgt Mangus R. Schuldt, 39558691 (survived)
Asst Engineer Sgt Charles Tashjian, 31258464 (survived)
Radio SSgt Anthony A. Marisi, 32797423 (survived)
Asst Radio Sgt Joe P. Carlisle, 20816281 (survived)
Gunner Cpl James H. Cook, 38511816 (survived)
Gunner Cpl Forest W. Harris, 37502843 (MIA / KIA) KS
Photographer Sgt Ralph R. Kincaid, 37476544 (MIA / KIA) NE
Crashed June 17, 1944 at 1600
Built by Consolidated at San Diego. Delivered to the U. S. Army. Ferried overseas via Hawaii to the Pacific.
Assigned to the 13th Air Force, 5th Bombardment Group, 31st Bombardment Squadron. Nicknamed "Dropsnoot". When lost, engines R-1830-43 serial numbers 42-41246, 41-. Weapon serial numbers unavailable.
On June 17, 1944 took off from Momote Airfield on a bombing mission against against Eten Island at Truk Lagoon. This B-24 was flying in the first element, the no. 3 position. At 10:40am, twenty-five minutes from the target, pilot Finks reported that he was returning to base due to a fuel shortage. Finks called for a bearing at 3:30pm and was given a course of 95 degrees, but was not heard from again. This B-24 was last seen in the Hermit Island (north of New Guinea), roughly 250km northeast of the mouth of the Sepik River.
Fates of the Crew
At approximately 4;00pm, the entire crew bailed out in the span of four minutes over Mingo Island, when the engines began to cut out due to a lack of fuel. All parachutes opened and they landed in an area approximately two miles wide into rough seas with white caps roughly six miles southeast of Jalun Island.
Several of the crew could not swim and likely drown at sea: Haugrud,
Swadley, Harris and Kincaid. The rest of the crew aided each other and managed to reach Hermet Island. Three days later, they located friendly natives who provide them food and shelter. Together, the crew searched the outer atoll area for the four missing men using a native canoe.
Fourteen days after bailing out, (other sources state 9 days later) the crew was rescued by a PBY Catalina, that sighted them the day before. Afterwards, the Catalina searched the entire atoll for the missing crew members, without success, then returned to base in the Admiralties. The surviving crew were debriefed and returned to duty.
The four missing crew members were officially declared dead the day of the mission. Each is memorialized on the tablets of the missing at Manila American Cemetery.
Haugrud has a memorial marker at Pelican Rapids Veteran's Memorial in Pelican Rapids, Michigan. Swadley has a memorial marker at Southland Cemetery in Grand Prairie, Texas.
Unmanned, this B-24 flew southward until it crashed into a hillside south of Wewak at an elevation of 313 metres. On October 1, 2007 Fred Olsson visited
the crash site and reported to JPAC during December 2007 but did not receive any response. The tail had yellow painted serial number digits including "240?" [42-40???] and "2412" [42-412??]
Fred Olsson adds:
"The landing gear and lights wreckage in front of this about ten metres uphill. The tail is very large and about 150 metres behind. Wreckage in four main sections oriented nearly NS with front end pointing south. Very little has been scavenged from the wreck because of its remote location. Just a couple of bits of metal for native barbeques. The villagers are ready to assist in any way and they have a chopper pad now cleared about two miles down river."
On July 1, 2008 the crash site was reported again to JPAC by Justin Taylan on behalf of Fred Olsson. A team from JPAC investigated this site and located the serial number, confirming the identitiy of the bomber.
PNG Museum Aircraft Status Card - B-24D Liberator 42-41246
FIndAGrave - Harold A Haugrud (grave photo)
FindAGrave - Carl Page Swadley (grave photo)
FindAGrave - Ralph Roland Kincaid
Are you a relative or associated with any person mentioned?
Do you have photos or additional information to add?
September 27, 2017