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  B-26 "Yankee Clipper" Serial Number 40-1521  
USAAF
5th AF
22nd BG
19th BS

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Brooks c1942

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John Douglas 2008

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Aerothentic 2008

Pilot  1st Lt. Duncan A. Seffern, O-431539 (survived) WI
Co-Pilot  2nd Lt. James A. Michael, O-431469 (MIA / KIA) OK
Bombardier  Sgt Paul L. Ramsey (survived)
Navigator  2nd Lt. Carroll W. Casteel, O-433977 (MIA / KIA) Oakland, MD
Gunner  Tom Riley (survived)
Radio  Sgt Kenneth R. Gundling (survived)
Engineer  Sgt George T. Rickman (survived)
Passenger  Vern Haugland (survived) Litchfield, MN

Crashed  August 7, 1942
MACR  16355

Aircraft History
Built by Martin. Delivered to the U. S. Army Air Force (USAAF) as B-26 Marauder serial number 40-1521. Disassembled and shipped overseas to Brisbane and reassembled at Eagle Farm Airfield.

Wartime History
Assigned to the 22nd Bombardment Group, 19th Bombardment Squadron during July 1942. Nicknamed "Yankee Clipper" in white on both sides of the nose.

Mission History
On August 7, 1942 took off from Woodstock Airfield near Townsville on a flight bound for 7-Mile Drome near Port Moresby to stage for the group's first combat mission planned against Lae. Aboard as a passenger was war correspondent Vern Haugland of the Associated Press (AP).

Over the Coral Sea a half hour from their destination the flight encountered bad weather. This bomber and B-26 "Dixie" 40-1496 attempted to fly above the weather, but the entire New Guinea area covered in cloud. Both bombers became separated from each other and both were lost.

After dark and low on fuel, the crew bailed out over Mount Suckling, about 110 miles east-north-east of Port Moresby. Pilot Seffern was the last to bail out.

Rescue of the Crew
The crew bailed out over different locations and had varied fates. Casteel was never seen after the bail out, and remains Missing In Action (MIA).

Michael and Haugland found each other on Mount Suckling. They separated on August 16th, in hopes one would find help sooner. Haugland found a village in early September and was later taken to a missionaries to Abau Island then back to Port Moresby on September 23rd, weighing only 90 pounds (down from 165). After August 16, Michael was never seen again and remains Missing In Action (MIA).

Rickman bailed out with minor wound to his lip and after being caught in a tree. He walked to a village and was rescued by a RAAF Tiger Moth returned to Port Moresby in a week, the first person from the crew to return.

Riley landed near the summit of Mount Suckling and reached a village after ten days without food on the mountain. After recovering in the village he was taken to Wanagilla Mission and met Reverend Dennis J. Taylor. When Japanese forces were reported to have landed at Gona, they left the mission and trekked for two weeks to an outpost and were evacuated by boat from Abau to Port Moresby arriving on September 30.

Gundling was wounded bailing out, breaking three ribs and puncturing his lung when his chute opened and dislocated his shoulder, and had to snap it back into place himself. He found a village after sixteen days in the jungle. Treated by an Australian soldier, he was sent to another village and by boat to Port Moresby and recovered in the hospital there.

Ramsey found a village after eight days, before he was found by a patrol officer and returned to Port Moresby.

Seffern spent six days in the jungle before finding natives and an Australian patrol officer. Taken to Abau, he was later returned by boat to Port Moresby on August 29. A week later, he returned to flying combat missions. On January 10, 1943 Seffern was killed piloting B-26 "Diana's Demon" 40-1495 that crashed during take off.

Memorials
Michael and Casteel were officially declared dead on January 7, 1946. Both are memorialized on the tablets of the missing at Manila American Cemetery. Both earned the Purple Heart, posthumously. Michael earned the Silver Star. Casteel earned the Distinguished Flying Cross (DFC).

Michael also has a memorial marker at Temple Masonic Cemetery in Temple, OK.
Casteel also has a memorial marker at Oakland Cemetery in Oakland, MD.

Haugland passed away on September 15, 1984. He passed away in Reno, NV attending an Eagle Squadron Association, writing a trilogy about their service. His widow completed the third of the series. His cremated remains were scattered over the Pacific Ocean by an Eagle Squadron pilot. Haugland's papers are available at the Maureen and Mike Mansfield Library, Archives and Special Collections, The University of Montana.

Rickman passed away December 24, 1987. He is buried at Appomattox Cemetery in Hopewell, VA.

Wreckage
The wreckage of this aircraft remains near Mount Suckling.

References
USAF Serial Number Search Results - B-26 Marauder 40-1521
"1521 (22nd BG, 19th BS, 5th AF) ran out of fuel and crashed near Mount Suckling after missing Port Moresby, PNG Aug 7, 1942. MACR 16355. All 7 crew bailed out, 2 were killed, 5 survived and returned to duty."
Missing Air Crew Report 16355 (MACR 16355) was created retroactively circa 1945 or 1946
PNG Museum Aircraft Status Card - B-26 40-1521
Revenge of the Red Raiders pages 124-125, 474, 496
Love, War, and the 96th Engineers (Colored) page 98
Letters from New Guinea by Haugland published in 1943
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - James A. Michael
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - Carroll W. Casteel
FindAGrave - Duncan A. Seffern
FindAGrave - 1Lt James Aubrey Michael (tablets of the missing)
FindAGrave - James Aubrey Michael (memorial marker photo)
FindAGrave - 1Lt Carroll Wesley Casteel (photo, tablets of the missing)
FindAGrave - Carroll Wesley Casteel (memorial marker photo)
FindAGrave - Vern Haugland (Cremains scattered over the Pacific Ocean by an Eagle Squadron pilot)
FindAGrave - George Thomas Rickman (grave photo)
Thanks to John Douglas and Edward Rogers for additional information

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Last Updated
May 11, 2018

 

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