Pacific Wrecks
Pacific Wrecks    
  Missing In Action (MIA) Prisoners Of War (POW) Unexploded Ordnance (UXO)  
Chronology Locations Aircraft Ships Submit Info How You Can Help Donate
 
  B-24D-170-CO "Here T'is" Serial Number 42-72946  
USAAF
5th AF
43rd BG
403rd BS

Click For Enlargement
via Aerothentic

Click For Enlargement
USAAF December 1943

Click For Enlargement
43rd BG c1944

Click For Enlargement
Click For Enlargement
Brian Bennett 2002

Pilot  2nd Lt Raymond A. Cooley, O-888887 (MIA / KIA) Leary, TX
Co-Pilot  2nd Lt Dudley R. Ives, O-687035 (MIA / KIA) Aransas Pass/Ingleside, TX
Navigator  2nd Lt George E. Archer, O-685343 (MIA / KIA) (Cushing, OK
Bombardier  2nd Lt Donald F. Grady, O-685799 (MIA / KIA) Harrisburg, PA
Engineer  T/Sgt Richard R. Sargent, 13128550 (MIA / KIA) North Girard, PA
Asst. Engineer  S/Sgt Norman L. Nell, 17164634 (MIA / KIA) Tarkio, MO
Radio  T/Sgt Steve Zayac, 20322589 (MIA / KIA) Cleveland, OH
Asst. Radio  S/Sgt Thomas G. Knight, 16126500 (MIA / KIA) Brookfield, IL
Gunner  S/Sgt Blair W. Smith, 33135850 (MIA / KIA) Nu Mine, PA
Tail Gunner  S/Sgt Joseph M. King, 36576814 (MIA / KIA) Detroit, MI

MIA  April 16, 1944 'Black Sunday'
MACR  4497

Aircraft History
Built by Consolidated. Assigned to the 43rd Bombardment Group, 403rd Bombardment Squadron. Nicknamed "Here T'is". When lost, engines: R-1830-65 Serial Numbers: 42-91692, 42-9872, 42-36592, 42-89996.

Mission History
On April 16, 1944 took off from Nadzab Airfield (No 3) on a bombing mission over Annenburg-Hollandia. Last seen 50 miles north of Faita at 2,000' on a 90 bearing, in bad weather, much of it instrument flying, when the formation in which this airplane was flying broke up. The pilot was instructed to take a heading for Saidor and proceed by himself. He acknowledged and stated he was gaining altitude. This was the last radio contact.

Search
A search from Nadzab was made over the Ramu River and Sepik River, then returning via Gusap then to Nadzab, no sightings were made.

Wreckage
The crash site was discovered in 2001 in the Finesterre Ranges at at 4,700' near Kunukio. Discovered only 700 meters from B-24J 42-100225, MIA on the same mission.

Investigated by US Army CILHI in 2002 and assigned case PP46.

Brian Bennett was part of the CILHI team:
"I found that the crash site search parameters had not been defined and we actualy found the tail turret outside the area of "official interest". A VIP from D.C. was there and he and I found the top turret next to a grid. This item had not been ID'd or flagged as a crew position. I found also a whole outer wing panel that niether CILHI nor locals had found. I don't have a lot of pics as i was only on site for about 4 hours. The reason for the short stay the day i went up was that when the weather started to close and there would then be a mad rush to get to the helicopter back down to the coast."

Identification of the crew's remains was completed in December 2006 using mDNA and dental records. Remains of the crew were returned to their families in early 2007, resolving this MIA case.

Relatives
Rich Smith (nephew of Norman L. Nell)
"My Dad’s uncle was one of the two crew, with enough identified remains to be buried individually. They will be conducting a full Military funeral at Arrington Notational this June 2007."

Nancy Donald (niece of Richard R. Sargent):
"It was very interesting meeting the families from all over the USA who had come to attend the group burial at Arlington. The pilot's daughter (her mother was 4 months pregnant with her) attended the funeral. The co-pilot's son, who was about 4 when his father was lost was there. The navigator's daughter, who was 2 months old, at the time of her father's death and her mother attended with their family. The sister of the tail gunner, at about age 92 attended with her extended family. Then the rest of us were nieces, nephews or cousins of these lost men. It was in someway a sad event, but in others it was a celebration of this crew lives. Remembering them 63 years after they were lost."

References
PNG Museum Aircraft Status Card - B-24D Liberator 42-72946
Black Sunday page 97
NBC "Bringing Home the Dead from WWII", 2002
DOD News Release "Ten Missing WWII Airmen are Identified" April 9, 2007
AP "Airman missing for 62 years buried DNA identification led to recovery of body" March 25, 2007
Thanks Brian Bennett for additional information

Contribute Information
Are you a relative or associated with any person mentioned?
Do you have photos or additional information to add?

Last Updated
February 4, 2018

 

Tech Information
B-24

MIA
MIA
10 Missing
Resolved

Photo Archive
Photo Archive

  Discussion Forum Daily Updates Reviews Museums Interviews & Oral Histories  
 
Pacific Wrecks Inc. All rights reserved.
Donate Now Facebook Twitter YouTube Google Plus Instagram