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  B-25D-5-NA "The Wolf Pack" Serial Number 41-30099  
5th AF
345th BG
501st BS

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"War Weary" Jack Fellows

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Fabale c1944

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USAAF c1944

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September 12, 1944

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Richard Leahy 2000

Pilot  1st Lt. John Fabale, O-799548 (survived) New Britian, CT
Co-Pilot  F/O. Harrison T. Beardsley, T-637737 (survived)
Engineer  S/Sgt Robert G Simmons, 33723545 (survived)
Radio  Sgt Joe S Lopez, 38121892 (survived)
  Captain Leroy F. Puthoff, O-669107 (survived)
  1st Lt Robert F Kuechler, O-1108791 (survived)
Passenger  2nd Lt Robert A. Prentice, O-765067 (surived)
Passenger  2nd Lt Robert E. Buchanan , O-76003 (survived)
Passenger  S/Sgt William M. Collier, 32385394 (survived)
Passenger  Sgt William Kelly, 35035859 (survived)

Force Landed  September 11, 1944
MACR  13263

Aircraft History
Built by North American as a B-25D-5 Mitchell. Delivered to the U. S. Army. Ferried overseas via Hawaii to Australia.

Wartime History
Assigned to the 5th Air Force, 345th Bombardment Group, 501st Bombardment Squadron on April 5, 1943. Nicknamed "The Wolf Pack". Crew chief was Mike H. Juroshek. Converted to a strafer variant (B-25D-1) by the 4th Air Depot at Garbutt Field near Townsville.

In total, this B-25 flew over 100 combat missions. Pilots included Marston, McKenney and Milton N. Harper who completed his tour of duty flying this B-25. When lost, engines: left 42-77543 and right 42-77628. Weapon serial number not available.

Mission History
One of two B-25s that took off from Mokmer Airfield on Biak bound for Nadzab No. 4 Airfield (Newton Field) on an administrative flight, carrying a load of laundry. Aboard were six personnel from the 501st Bombardment Squadron. The weather had a cumulus cloud base at 2,500' to 10,000' with visibility of roughly 30 miles.

During the flight, the pair of B-25 flew at 8,500' until pilot Fabale broke formation in clouds and suffered an engine failure over the upper Keram portion of the Sepik River. Looking for a place to land, Fabale selected what appeared to be a flat field at roughly Lat 4°  40' S Long 144° 21' E approximately fifty miles from Annenberg

The B-25 successfully forced landed into a kunai grass swamp. Aboard, everyone survived unhurt. With the help of native people, the crew was taken to Annenberg where they were flown to Madang and later returned ot base seven days later on September 18.

During 1948, visited by a RAAF Searcher Team led by S/L Keith Rundle. At the time, he mistakenly declared that the crew were still missing, and entered the co-ordinates into the records of the New Guinea colonial government.

Today, the wreckage of this B-25 remains in situ, nearly complete in swamp it force landed. Over the years, instruments have been taken by visitors.

John Fabale, Jr. (son of John Fable) adds:
"After the war, we got a package from the U.S. goverment, with Dad's diary in it.  Apparently, it had been captured from a Japanese prisoner at the end of the war at Wewak, and he has used some of the paper inside it.  Since it had my Dad's name on it, they were able to return it to us."

PNG Museum Aircraft Status Card - B-25D Mitchell 41-30099
Warpath Across The Pacific pages 38, 62 119, 121, 164, 167, 186-187, 397
Flightpath "Swamp Mitchell" by Michael Claringbould
War In Pacific Skies page 88 "War Weary" by Jack Fellows depicts this aircraft

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Last Updated
February 4, 2018


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