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  B-26 "The Virginian" Serial Number 40-1508  
5th AF
22nd BG
HQ Squadron

Click For Enlargement
D. Parer June 9, 1942

Pilot  1st Lt. Willis G. Bench, O-420822 (MIA / KIA) OK
Co-Pilot  P/O Lorne Allan John Passmore, RAAF 412675 (MIA / KIA) Rose Bay, NSW
Bombardier  Cpl Alex Makuch, 13011250 (MIA / KIA) PA
Navigator  2/Lt Harold P. Beck, O-434966 (MIA / KIA) WI
 S/Sgt Samuel Siegel, 6905713 (MIA / KIA) NY
 Cpl George H. Miles, 13001411 (MIA / KIA) PA
Gunner  Cpl Robert A. Rockefeller, 7071440 (MIA / KIA) NJ
 Lt Col Francis R. Stevens, US Army O-15779 (MIA / KIA) MS

Crashed  June 9, 1942
MACR  16074

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

Wartime History
Assigned to the 5th Air Force, 22nd Bombardment Group, Headquarters Squadron. Nicknamed "The Virginian". below the right side of the cockpit. No known nose art.

Mission History
One of eleven B-26s that took off from 7-Mile Drome near Port Moresby on a bombing mission against Lae and Salamaua with B-25s and B-17s. In the same formation was B-26 "Heckling Hare" 40-1488 with passenger Commander Lyndon B Johnson (later US President), but aborted the mission before reaching the target

Over the target, the formation was attacked by up to 20 Zeros. Bench took his B-26 down to sea level in an attempt to escape, but was shot down into a bay approximately 30 miles south of Salamaua.

The entire crew was officially declared dead the day of the mission. All are memorialized on the tablets of the missing at Manila American Cemetery. Australian Passmore is memorialized at Lae War Cemetery on the Lae Memorial, panel 6.

Missing Air Crew Report (MACR) 16074 was created retroactively after the loss, circa 1945 or 1946
PNG Museum Aircraft Status Card - B-26 40-1508
Revenge of the Red Raiders pages 100, 105-107, 474, 489
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) incorrectly list the date of death of the crew members as June 8, 1942

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Last Updated
January 5, 2018


Tech Info

Tech Info
8 Missing
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