|Missing In Action (MIA)||Prisoners Of War (POW)||Unexploded Ordnance (UXO)|
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|Pilot Captain William A. Garnett, O-21982 C.O. 33rd BS (MIA / KIA) TX
Co-Pilot 2nd Lt Frank A. Corts, O-420576 (MIA / KIA) NY
Navigator 2nd Lt Newell A. Wells, O-433117 (MIA / KIA) TX
Bombardier 2nd Lt William Crooks, O-432968 (MIA / KIA) AR
Engineer Cpl Sanger E. Reed, 6990404 (POW, survived) IN
Radio SSgt Theron K. Lutz, 6833758 (POW, survived) NJ
Gunner Cpl Reese S. Davies, 6991607 (MIA / KIA) OH
Crashed April 18, 1942
On April 18, 1942 Garnett (C.O. 33rd Bombardment Squadron) intended to pilot this B-26 on a mission against Rabaul but this bomber's engines failed to start. The other five B-26s departed as planned, but on the way to the target, three of the B-26's aborted due to bad weather before reaching the target and returned to base. The two remaining bombers attacked alone, with B-26 40-1486 bombing Lakunai Airfield and B-26 "Shittenengitten" 40-1404 bombing Komaki Maru in Simpson Harbor.
Back at 7-Mile Drome, the crew drained the batteries and attempting to start the engines then hand cranking each engine to finally start them. An hour behind schedule, this B-26 proceeded to the target alone. Arriving after the other two bombers had bombed, this B-26 was intercepted by two Tainan Kokutai A6M2 Zeros around noon and was attacked from the rear by A6M2 Zero piloted by Lt(jg) Junichi Sasai. Hit the left engine and set it on fire, Garnett ordered the crew to bail out. Only Lutz and Reed managed to bail out before the B-26 completely on fire crashed into the sea near shore. The other five crew members were killed in the crash.
Fates of the Prisoners
After roughly two months, they were placed aboard an aircraft carrier, but offloaded when it sortied for the Battle of the Coral Sea. Instead, they were put aboard a cargo ship and transported to Tokyo and imprisoned at Ofuna Camp.
Later, confined at a baseball stadium at Yokohama and later worked at Asano Ship Works and oil pressing plant and brick works. A year later, Reed was transfer and officially listed as a POW and was held in Yokohama and later transfered to Nigata and reunited with Lutz and both worked at stevedores.
At the end of the war, Lutz was liberated from Tokyo POW Camp (Shinjuku). Reed was liberated from the Yacht Club Camp (Civilian Internment Camp) along Tokyo Bay. Both were the only 22nd Bombardment Group airmen who were captured and survived Japanese captivity.
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