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  F-7A "Under Exposed!" Serial Number 42-73052  
USAAF
5th AF
6th PRG
20th CMS

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20th CMS c1944

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Chris Breuer 2002

Pilot  1st Lt Loren G. Barstow, O-675387 (KIA, BR) MI
Co-Pilot  2nd Lt Jack S. Connor, O-729317 (KIA) King County, WA
Navigator  2nd Lt Douglas H. Puck, O-734599 (KIA, BR) MN
Engineer  S/Sgt Edwin R. Maillie, 17071379 (KIA) Oelwein, IA
Radio  S/Sgt Harold M. Valentine, 34029885 (KIA, BR) LA
Photographer  S/Sgt Leonard Diamond, 11073297 (KIA) CT
Gunner  Sgt John W. Schmitt, 14085521 (KIA) WA
Gunner  Sgt George M. Harvey, 13088758 (KIA) PA
Gunner  Sgt Stephen J. Boudreaux, 38380560 (KIA) Orleans Parish, LA
Gunner  S/Sgt Luis Degollado, 18057572 (KIA) Webb County, TX
Gunner  S/Sgt George Dick, 33245475 (KIA, BR) East Freedom, PA
Crashed  May 22, 1944 at approximately 4:00am
MACR  none

Aircraft History
Built by Consolidated at San Diego. On March 11, 1944 delivered to the U. S. Army Air Force (USAAF) as B-24J-5-CO Liberator serial number 42-73052. Converted to a F-7A photographic reconnaissance version. Painted in the "blue or no blue" color scheme. Flown via Hickam Field then across the Pacific to Australia. On March 25, 1944 arrived at Garbutt Field near Townsville.

Wartime History
Assigned to the 5th Air Force, 6th Photographic Reconnaissance Group (PRG), 20th Combat Mapping Squadron (CMS). Nicknamed "Under Exposed!" (with exclamation point) with the nose art of a blonde woman removing her bra atop a circular background.

On April 2, 1944 took off from Garbutt Field at 7:45am on a flight northward to Port Moresby. On April 3, 1944 departed Port Moresby at 8:30am on a flight to Nadzab Airfield arriving at 10:00am. This aircraft flew combat missions photographing enemy targets in New Guinea and the Dutch East Indies. During late May 1944, stripped to the natural aluminum finish.

Mission History
On May 22, 1944 during the early morning took off from Nadzab Airfield piloted by 1st Lt Loren G. Barstow as one of three Liberators on a mission to conduct a photographic mapping mission over Padaidori Island. This was pilot Barstow's second combat mapping mission. Ten minutes after take off, this B-24 observed circling northwest of Nadzab the left in the Markham Valley at an altitude of about 5,000'. There were two other F-7As in the formation that proceeded with the mission.

In fact, around 4:00am, this Liberator crashed into Mount Wilhelm at an at an altitude of 13,000' in the early morning darkness. The entire crew was killed in the crash. When this aircraft failed to return it was reported as Missing In Action (MIA).

Wreckage
The wreckage of this B-24 remains on Mount Wilhelm in the vicinity of Keglsugl.

Chris Breuer reports:
"The terrain is very rocky so the plane has been destroyed along with all the things that have been stolen from it in the past years."

Recovery of Remains
The entire crew was officially declared dead the day of the mission. After the crash, Ralph Bowley, 20th CMS intelligence officer trekked to the crash site and recovered the remains of the crew and transported them to Nadzab and were buried at Nadzab Cemetery.

Lt. Col. David W. Ecoff Sr. (pilot of the 20th CMS) recalls:
"The remains of the crew were recovered by Ralph Bowley, our Intelligence Officer and buried at the Nadzab Cemetery with honors."

Postwar, the remains were transported to the Philippines and United States for permenant burial.

Memorials
The entire crew was officially declared dead the day of the mission and earned the Purple Heart, posthumously.

Barstow is buried at Ceder River Cemetery in Stephenson, MI.

Three of the crew are buried in Manila American Cemetery Harvey at Plot L Row 2 Grave 131, Diamond at Plot N Row 12 Grave 50. Schmitt is buried at Plot D Row 12 Grave 174.

Puck was buried at Fort Snelling National Cemetery at section 9, site 8972.

Valentine is buried at Arlington National Cemetery at section 34, site 4176.

Dick is buried at Alto Reste Burial Park in Altoona, PA at plot D row 262.

References
USAF Serial Number Search Results - B-24J-5-CO Liberator 42-73052
"73052 converted to F-7A. Crashed near peak of Mt Wilhelm on way to mission May 22, 1944. 11 onboard killed."
PNG Museum Aircraft Status Card - F-7A Liberator 42-73052
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - George M. Harvey
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - Leonard Diamond
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - John W. Schmitt
FindAGrave - 1LT Loren G Barstow (grave photo)
FindAGrave - 2LT Jack S Connor
FindAGrave - 2LT Douglas H Puck (grave photo)
FindAGrave - SSGT Edwin Roy Maillie (obituary, grave photo)
FindAGrave - SSGT Harold M Valentine (grave photo)
FindAGrave - Sgt Leonard Diamond (grave photo)
FindAGrave - Sgt John W Schmitt
FindAGrave - Sgt George M Harvey
FindAGrave - SGT Stephen J Boudreaux, Jr

FindAGrave - SSGT Luis Degollado
FindAGrave - Sgt George Dick (grave photo)
Thanks to Chris Breuer for additional information.

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Last Updated
January 16, 2019

 

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F-7A

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