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  B-25D-10 Mitchell Serial Number 41-30319  
5th AF
38th BG
405th BS

Pilot  F/O John D. Blain, T-120110 (POW, MIA / KIA, BR) Breckenridge, TX
Co-Pilot  F/O Charles P. Wells, T-186489 (POW, MIA / KIA, BR) Ashland, KY
Navigator  S/Sgt William F. Green, 15104526 (POW, MIA / KIA) Whitehouse, OH
Radio  S/Sgt Robert J. Capocefalo, 32377421 (POW, MIA / KIA) Syracuse, NY
Gunner  S/Sgt Jack Bowman, 14063635 (POW, MIA / KIA) Johnson City, TN

MIA  September 2, 1943 at 9:56am
MACR  13282

Aircraft History
Built by North American. Delivered to the U. S. Army. Ferried overseas via Hawaii to Australia.

Wartime History
Assigned to the 5th Air Force, 38th Bombardment Group, 405th Bombardment Squadron. No known nose art or nickname. When lost, engines R-2600-13 serial numbers unknown. Weapon serial numbers not noted in Missing Air Crew Report (MACR) 13282.

Mission History
On September 2, 1943 took off from 17 Mile Drome (Durand) near Port Moresby piloted by F/O John D. Blain at 7:00am armed with two 1,000 pound bombs on a mission to attack Japanese shipping in Wewak Harbor off Wewak. The 405th Bombardment Squadron was leading the attack, and proceeded to Marilinan and circled for thirty minutes before rendezvousing with escorting P-38 Lightnings then proceeded up the Ramu Valley bound for Wewak. South of the Prince Alexander Mountains, the B-25 formation split into two plane elements for bombing and strafing runs.

The 405th Bombardment Squadron approached Wewak Harbor from inland dropping to minimum altitude over Boram Airfield and was targeted by anti-aircraft fire and the Japanese vessels each had a barrage balloon roughly 10' in diameter at a height of 400' above each ship. A total of thirty-six Japanese fighters from the 13th Sentai, 24th Sentai, 59th Sentai (Ki-43 Oscars) and 68th Sentai (Ki-61 Tonys) took off to intercept the American formation.

This B-25 was part of the last flight over the target, led by B-25D pilot Lt. Deptula. Over the target, the pair attacked against a Fox Tare Charlie (Japanese merchant vessel 2,000-4,000 tons with 2-4 masts) between Mission Point and Cape Boram. This B-25 released both 1,000 pound bombs and claimed two direct hits on the vessel and causing it to emit black smoke and burning.

Over the target, this B-25 suffered a direct hit from anti-aircraft fire and was observed with the right engine on fire and the bomb bay doors open and landing gear extended from the nacelles and flames in the fuselage before it crashed into the sea off Wewak Point and rapidly sank. Other B-25s in the formation believed there was little chance the crew survived.

When this B-25 failed to return, it was officially declared Missing In Action (MIA). Also lost were B-25D 41-30255 (MIA) and B-25D 41-30247 (MIA) and P-38H 42-66563 (MIA). The Japanese lost four fighters shot down and two pilots killed in action (KIA).

Fates of the Crew
In fact, this B-25 ditched into Kairiru Strait between Kairiru Island and Muschu Island. The entire crew survived and swam ashore and became Prisoners Of War (POW). They were executed at Saint John's Mission (Barakam) on Kairiru Island.

Recovery of Remains
In 1949, the remains of two of the crew were recovered and identified.

The entire crew was officially declared dead the day of the mission. Green, Capocefalo and Bowman are memorialized on the tablets of the missing at Manila American Cemetery.

After the identification of Blain and Wells, both were transported to the United States for permanent burial.
Blain at Breckenridge Cemetery in Breckenridge, TX.
Wells at Golden Oaks Memorial Gardens in Ashland, KY at Williams Garden 1

Missing Air Crew Report 13282 (MACR 13282)
38th Bombardment Group Official History, page 165-175, (167) "As The last flight came in for their run, the plane piloted by F/O Blain was shot down off Wewak Point by ack ack... It was after this attack that other planes noticed F/O Blain's plane - the right engine was burning, bomb-bay doors open and the landing gear was suspended from the nacelles - the plane crashed into the water off Wewak Point and there was very little chance for survivors."
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - William F. Green

American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - Robert J. Capocefalo
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - Jack Bowman
FindAGrave - John D. Blain (grave photo)
FindAGrave - Charles P. Wells (grave)
FindAGrave - SSgt Jack D. Bowman (tablets of the missing photo)
PNG Museum Aircraft Status Card - B-25D-1 Mitchell 41-30318
Tuluvu's Air War, Chapter 5 by Richard Dunn
Thanks to Richard Dunn and Edward Rogers for additional information

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Are you a relative or associated with any person mentioned?
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Last Updated
February 4, 2018


Tech Info

Sept 2 1943

5 Prisoners
3 Missing
Partially Resolved

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