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  B-25H Mitchell Serial Number 43-4??? Number 321
13th AF
42nd BG
69th BS

Pilot  2nd Lt Joseph L. Durkin, O-795451 (MIA / KIA) NJ
Engineer  SSgt Edward R. Roginski, 35305490 (MIA / KIA) OH
Radio  SSgt Ernest H. Nerman (KIA, BR)
Crew  Sgt Steinberg (rescued)
Crew  Sgt Cowan (WIA, rescued)
Observer  Col. Edwin S. Green, O-022330 13th Bomber Command, HQ (MIA / KIA) CA

MIA  February 18, 1944
MACR  none

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

Wartime History
Assigned to the 13th Air Force, 42nd Bombardment Group, 69th Bombardment Squadron. USAAF Serial Number unknown. Squadron Number 321. Unknown if noseart or nickname.

Mission History
On February 18, 1944 took off from Banika Field (North Field, Sunlight) in the Russell Islands on a experimental strafing mission over Buka Island. Aboard was Col Green, a member of Headquarters, 13th Bomber Command. Over the northern of the island, this B-25 attacked a suspected enemy bivouac, but was hit by anti-aircraft fire and crashed into the sea offshore.

Two surviving crew members, Sgt Steinberg and Sgt Cowan (severely injured) and Nerman's dead body were rescued by PBY Catalina NZ4020, 1 1/2 miles north of Buka Island.

No. 6 Flying Boat Squadron Royal New Zealand Air Force: Brief History, page 8
"18th February. A Catalina commanded by Fg Off Hitchcock sighted a dinghy with survivors from a ditched B-25 being circled by another B-25. The Catalina landed and picked up 2 survivors and a body. They were Americans from a Russell Island based B25 squadron. Their aircraft had been hit by AA while on a straffing mission and had crashed into the sea"

I may be wrong on the NZ plane number…Charles Darby copied "Brief History" for me and his notes on the side say Hitchcock's Catalina was NZ4020 on the day—I know they were based at Treasuries at the time on USS Coos Bay.

The three missing crew members are memorialized on the tablets of the missing at Manila American Cemetery.

No MACR can be found on this loss
No. 6 Flying Boat Squadron Royal New Zealand Air Force: Brief History, page 8
Thanks to Ewan Stevenson and Charles Darby for additional information

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Last Updated
February 4, 2018


Tech Info

3 Missing

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