Brian Bennett 1989
|Pilot 1st Lt. Fred H. Carter, O-740056 (MIA / KIA) Sacramento, CA
Co-Pilot 2nd Lt. Arthur E. Cole Jr., O-679715 (MIA / KIA) North Bonneville, WA
Navigator 1st Lt. Frank B. Mitchell, O-670780 (MIA / KIA) Fruita, CO
Bombardier 1st Lt Jack Edward Daniel, O-668706 (MIA / KIA) Blacksburg, SC
Engineer TSgt Claude L. Locke, 35209813 (MIA / KIA) Saint Marys, WV
Assist. Engineer SSgt Leon Roberson, 37102692 (MIA / KIA) Searcy, AR
Radio TSgt Leo E. Fontaine, 11033879 (MIA / KIA) Hartford, CT
Assist. Radio SSgt Russell J. Picard, 18149304 (MIA / KIA) Lake Charles, LA
Gunner Sgt Charlie C. Plott, 19018059 (MIA / KIA) Dallas, TX
Armorer Gunner SSgt Edward J. Shahan, 38187482 (MIA / KIA) Shreveport, LA
Observer 2nd Lt. William D. Baldwin, O-743807 (MIA / KIA) Bellflower, CA
Crashed February 12, 1944
Built by Consolidated at San Diego. Delivered to the U. S. Army. Ferried overseas via Hawaii across the Pacific.
Assigned to the 13th Air Force, 307th Bombardment Group, 372nd Bombardment Squadron. Nicknamed "The Wicked Wench". When lost, engines R-1830-65 serial numbers: 42-9028. 42-89961, 42-90012, 42-90462. Weapon serial numbers not noted in Missing Air Crew Report 2282 (MACR 2282).
On February 12, 1944 took off from Munda Airfield on New Georgia a bombing mission against Rabaul. Over the target, on the bomb run, this B-24 was hit by anti-aircraft fire at 12:01 causing a large hole halfway down the fuselage that was roughly 5' long x 1.5-2' wide and to break from the formation. The damaged bomber was observed to dive to roughly 2,000' making a long, slow left turn with white smoke coming from the no. 1 engines. Around 1,000' with two engines smoking, one on each wing, it rolled over into a cloud. One or possibly two parachutes were seen to leave the damage bomber before it exploded in a bright orange flash and crashed to the northwest of Vunakanau Airfield near Wunawatang Plantation at roughly Lat 4.20 Long 152.09. Other B-24s in the formation believed they saw gunners on the ground firing at the parachute descending.
After the crash, the remains of the crew were buried at the crash site either by the Japanese or local people. During 1948, the crash site was located by American Graves Registration Service (AGRS) and some remains were recovered. On June 17, 1949 additional remains were recovered from the crash site.
The entire crew was officially declared dead the day of the mission. After the recovery of remains, the crew was transported to the United States and permanently buried at Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery at section 79 site 78-80. Daniel also has a memorial marker at Oakland Cemetery in Gaffney, SC.
Mark Daniel Hicks (nephew of Jack Edward Daniel)
"My uncle, Jack Edward Daniel, was the bombardier on this plane. The plane was called the 'Wicked Wench'. I have photos and much history on Jack's crew. I have the MACR and the Search and Recovery report. I have visited the crew burial at Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery. I have written a 300+ documentary on his lift, his military life, and his death. It is a tremendous story. I have every letter that he wrote home. The love for his family is tremendous. I have been in contact with those who were eyewitnesses of his plane going down."
Missing Air Crew Report 2282 (MACR 2282)
PNG Museum Aircraft Status Card - B-24D Liberator 42-72818
"The Last Mission" research by Mark Hicks
FindAGrave - Lieut Fred H. Carter, Jr (photos, group burial)
Lieut Arthur E Cole, Jr (photos, group burial)
FindAGrave - Frank B Mitchell (photos, group burial)
Lieut Jack E Daniel (photos, group burial photo)
FindAGrave - Lieut Jack E. Daniel (memorial marker photo)
FindAGrave - Claude L Locke (photos, group burial photo)
Leon Roberson (photos, group burial photo)
FindAGrave - Leo E Fontaine (photos, group burial photo)
FindAGrave - Russell J Picard (photos, group burial photo)
FindAGrave - Sgt Charlie Carter "Jake" Plott (photos, group burial photo)
FindAGrave - Edward J Shahan (photos, group burial photo)
FindAGrave - Lieut William D Baldwin (photos, group burial photo)
Thanks to Brian Bennett and Daniel Hicks for additional information
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January 5, 2018