|Pilot Captain William L. "Kizzy" Kizzire, O-726787 (MIA / KIA) WY
Co-Pilot 2nd Lt. Charles G. Reynolds, O-661563 (MIA / KIA) OH
Navigator 1st Lt. Joseph W. Carroll, Jr., O-665898 (MIA / KIA) TX
Radio SSgt Roy E. Showers, Jr., 18075424 (POW, MIA / KIA) TX
Engineer SSgt Wilfred J. Paquette, 31127441 (POW, MIA / KIA) MA
Gunner SSgt Fred D. Nightwine, 13085578 (POW, MIA / KIA) PA
Ditched November 27, 1943
MACR 987 / 1248
Built by North American as a B-25D-5 Mitchell. Delivered to the U. S. Army. Ferried overseas via Hawaii to Australia. Converted to a strafer version (B-25D-1) by the 4th Air Depot at Garbutt Field near Townsville.
Assigned to the 5th Air Force, 345th Bombardment Group, 498th Bombardment Squadron during March 1943 and piloted by Kilgore with crew chief Rustun. Converted to D-1 strafer by the 4th Air Depot at Garbutt Field near Townsville.
On October 12, 1943 this B-25 participated in a parafrag attack against Vunakanau Airfield. On October 18, 1943 this B-25's gunners claimed a Zero over Rapopo Airfield. When lost, this B-25 had engines R-2600-14 serial numbers 41-285681 and 42-77464. Weapon serial numbers noted in Missing Air Crew Report (MACR).
On November 27, 1943 took off from Port Moresby piloted by Kizzire leading the formation of B-25s on a low level strike against Boram Airfield near Wewak. This B-25 was part of the third wave over the target and enemy anti-aircraft fire had increased. While strafing a small wooden vessel in the harbor, this B-25 was hit by a 20mm fire from a freighter anchored off Cape Moen.
This B-25's right engine was damaged and pilot Kizzire was heard over the radio to state: "God almighty, I can't feather it... It hit the oil sump. I can't feather the engine."
Turning back towards base, this B-25 successfully ditched in Murik Lagoon, with the tail and rear fuselage remaining above the water. The crew were observed to get to shore safely. Supplies and an escape map were dropped to them. The crew were observed until the next day.
On November 29, 1943, a U. S. Navy PBY Catalina from Patrol Squadron 11 was sent to the area to rescue the crew, guided by a B-25 from the 345th Bombardment Group piloted by Robinette who observed the crash. Three flares were observed from the ground, roughly 3 miles west of the lagoon. Before the Catalina was able to land, a Japanese bomber was spotted overhead, and the search was aborted and the Catalina returned to Milne Bay to refuel.
At sunrise the next morning, the same PBY Catalina returned and continued searching for an hour and a half but found nothing. An hour later, another PBY Catalina, escorted by 11 fighters returned to the area, circling for another hour and also found nothing. On December 1, 1943 in the morning, another Catalina was scheduled to search but the attempt was aborted when the fighter escort turned back.
Fates of the Crew
No member of the crew or their remains were ever found. Three of the crew: Showers, Paquette and Nightwine were named in Japanese radio broadcasts in English during in March 6–22, 1944 as prisoners at a POW Camp at Wewak, but no official notification was passed to the Red Cross or American authorities. Undoubtedly, they were captured by Japanese forces, imprisoned at Wewak and executed or died in captivity.
The crew was officially declared dead on January 22, 1946. All are memorialized on the tablets of the missing at Manila American Cemetery.
Kizzire has a memorial marker at Donald J. Ruhl Memorial Cemetery in Greybull, WY.
PNG Museum Aircraft Status Card - B-25C Mitchell 41-30046
Warpath Across The Pacific pages 37, 55, 63, 95-96, 367, 381
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - William L. Kizzire
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - Charles G. Reynolds
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - Joseph W. Carroll Jr.
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - Roy E. Showers Jr.
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - Wilfred J. Paquette
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - Fred D. Nightwine
FindAGrave - Capt William Lee Kizzire (photo)
FindAGrave - William Lee Kizzire (memorial marker photograph)
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January 5, 2018