A five-day, 50 mile journey through the New Guinea jungle on foot
and by native canoe has brought First Lieutenant John L. Fabale of
Britain, CT to saftey after he crash-landed his B-25 medium bomber.
At the time of the forced landing Fabale and his crew and passenger
list of nine were within 15 miles of hostile natives, and only 22 miles
from Jap units still holed up in [ Wewak ] area
of New Guinea.
Wolf Pack" Serial 41-30099
All Air Force personnel aboard the plane were members
of the Air Apaches, hard-hititng bomber-strafer outfit which has been
hounfing the Japs for 17 months from New Guinea right up to the fringes
of the Philippines.
When the engines suddenly failed as the plane was flying
across a valley over dense tropical jungle, Lieutenant Fabale located
the only clearing and skillfully set the plane down in a kunai grass
marsh. No one was injured during the landing.
After staying in the plane that night, a search party
the next day located natives only a few miles away. Though of a remote
tribe with but a smattering of pidgin, universal Pacific language, the
natives proved friendly, especially after gifts of clothing, fish hooks
and razor blades. Passed from village to village by canoe and jungle
trails the party of Americans after five days arrived at an Australian
Though their feet were constantly soaked from jungle
much, and despite mosquitoes, minor cuts and scratches, ans a strict
ration of cigarettes and one meal of emergency rations per day, all
reached saftey in good shape save for loss of wieght.
A pleasant surprise awaited Fabale upon his return
to his unit. During his absence he had been promoted from Second Lieutenant to
A son of Mr. and Mrs. Lousi Fabale of 242 Burritt Street,
New Britain, CT, Lieutenant Fabale graduated from New Britain High School
in 1939. Before entering the Army Air Force in April, 1943, he was employed
at the Stanley Works, in Dept. 56. Upon completing his flying training,
he was commissioned in March 1943. Lieutenant Fabale was sent overseas
in February this year, and joined the Air Apaches in March. Since then
he has completed 36 missions during 250 air hours, and has been awarded
the Air Medal. A brother, Seaman Second Class Dominic A. Fabale is in
During their 17 months in the Southwest Pacific the
Air Apaches, a topnotch unit of the Fifth Air Force, have compiled a
score of 163 enemy vessels sunk, plus 218 Nip planes destroyed on the
ground and another 99 in the air.