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  B-25D-20 Mitchell Serial Number 41-30613  
USAAF
7th AF
41st BG
396th BS

Pilot  F/O John Alexander Johnston, T-000328 (MIA / KIA) CA
Co-Pilot  David Wellington, O-747618 (MIA / KIA)
Bomb/Nav  2nd Lt Frank Castillo, O-741832 (MIA / KIA) CA
Observer  1st Lt Peter Duval, O-728261 (MIA / KIA) MA
Engineer  S/Sgt James Lawrence Quinn, 32373700 (MIA / KIA)
Gunner  S/Sgt James A. Wages, Jr., 20826151 (MIA / KIA ) Marietta, OK
Radio  S/Sgt James Garfield Walker, 35429070 (MIA / KIA) WV

Crashed  January 19, 1944
MACR  1900

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

Wartime History
Assigned to the 7th Air Force, 41st Bombardment Group, 396th Bombardment Squadron. No known nose art or nickname. When lost, engines R-2600-13 serial numbers 43-25543 and 42-272072. Weapon serial numbers not noted in Missing Air Crew Report (MACR) 1900.

Mission History
On January 19, 1944 took off from Mullinix Airfield on Bonriki Island piloted by F/O John Alexander Johnston a bombing mission against Mili Airfield. While approaching Mili Lagoon at an altitude of 75' to 100' when exploding anti-aircraft shells damaged the forward part of the fuselage and cased it to crashed in the lagoon to the east of Milli Island in front of the Japanese headquarters. Two of the crew died in the crash.

Fates of the Crew
A Japanese patrol boat picked up the five surviving crew members who were badly burned and injured from the impact. The five crew received medical treatment and were then brutally tortured and interrogated. After ten days, Japanese Army and Navy commanders beheaded all five. Postwar, the commanders were prosecuted for war crimes including this incident.

Wreckage
Located about a mile from shore, the bomber was discovered during an underwater survey in 2001 by Matt Holly.

Matt Holly adds:
"The aircraft is in excellent condition with the main fuselage and wings intact, however, the tail and engines evidently detached on impact and have not yet been found. The cockpit is also well-preserved with controls, gauges, pilots' seat, radios, top turret with twin 50 caliber machine gun shells, piles of live 50 caliber machine gun shells and both waist guns. The B-25 is protected by Marshall Islands law and the Mili Atoll Local Government has banned diving at the site until the aircraft has been thoroughly documented by the RMI Historical Preservation Office."

Memorials
All were officially declared dead on February 2, 1944. The remains of the crew have never been located. The entire crew is memorialized on the courts of the missing, court 7 and court 5 at Honolulu Cemetery (Punchbowl).

Relatives
Douglas Womack (cousin of Wages)
"James Alvin Wages, my father's cousin, was shot down on my father's birthday. My father, (then Tec 5) Douglas M. Womack, was serving in Mac Arthur's Headquarters at the time James was lost. Both men were from Marietta, Oklahoma."

References
Missing Air Crew Report (MACR) 1900
CDNN "Research diver finds WWII B-25D "Mitchell" bomber in Mili Lagoon" January 25, 2002
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) does not list James Lawrence Quinn or David Wellington
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - John A. Johnston
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - Frank Castillo
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - Peter Duval
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - James A. Wages Jr.
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - James G. Walker

Contribute Information
Are you a relative or associated with any person mentioned?
Do you have photos or additional information to add?

Last Updated
January 5, 2018

 

Tech Info
B-25

MIA
MIA
7 Missing

SCUBA
107'

Map
Map
Jan 19, 1944

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