|Pilot 1st Lt. Harry Serser, O-726488 (MIA / KIA) CA
Co-Pilot F/O Robert O. Kitchin, T-187700 (MIA / KIA) MS
Bombardier / Navigator 1st Lt. Albert W. Heatter, Jr., O-666663 (MIA / KIA) IL
Radio SSgt Melvin C. Fearnow (MIA / KIA) Hagerstown, MD
Gunner SSgt John Williams, 37421600 (MIA / KIA) IA
Crashed January 16, 1944 at 10:35am
Built by North American. Delivered to the U. S. Army. Ferried overseas via Hawaii to Australia.
Assigned to the 5th Air Force, 38th Bombardment Group, 71st Bombardment Squadron. Nicknamed "Exotic Express". When lost engines R-2600-13 serial numbers 41-31915 and 41-20908. Weapon serial numbers noted in MACR.
On January 16, 1944 took off from 17 Mile Drome (Durand) near Port Moresby on a low level mission against the north coast of New Guinea from Cape Gourdon to Cape Croiselles. The weather was overcast at 12,000' with visibility of 20-30 miles. Observed to dive below tree level and and crash on the south side of the Nuru River near Cape Croiselles. Possibly, one crew member bailed out prior to the crash.
This B-25 crashed inland of the Nuru River near Nuru village and Buru villages. During late April 1944, the Australian Army liberated the area and located the crash site.
Recovery of Remains
During June 1944, the remains of the crew were recovered from the crash site and were temporarily buried in New Guinea.
John Douglas adds:
"A kiap (patrol officer) reported this wreck is near Sinaji village."
Postwar, buried at Manila American Cemetery are Kitchin at plot F row 15 grave 91. Heatter at plot A row 5 grave 200.
Williams at plot F row 9 grave 55.
Following the wishes of their families, the remains of Serser and Fearnow were transported to the United States for burial in their hometowns.
Serser was buried at Mount Zion Cemetery, Los Angeles at row 71.
Fearnow was buried was buried on June 26, 1948 at Rest Haven Cemetery in Hagerston, MD at Lawn, Lot 158, Space 2.
Missing Air Crew Report 1690 (MACR 1690)
PNG Museum Aircraft Status Card - B-25D Mitchell 41-30179
Harry Serser (grave photo)
Melvin C. Fearnow (grave photo)
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February 4, 2018