|Pilot Captain Lyman H. Eddy (WIA, survived)
Co-Pilot Lt Omar W. Headrick, O-430927 (MIA / KIA) NB
Navigator Lt. William R. Soles (survived)
Bombardier Lt Charles A. Coon (survived)
Radio Sgt Ralph Wilhite (WIA, survived)
Gunner Sgt Robert Doerr (survived)
Gunner Sgt. Omer Sayger (survived)
Crashed January 3, 1943
Built by Martin in Baltimore, Maryland. Delivered to the U. S. Army Air Force (USAAF) as B-26B Marauder serial number 41-17586.
Assigned to the 13th Air Force, 42nd Bombardment Group, 70th Bombardment Squadron. Nicknamed "Queenie". Assigned to pilot Captain Lyman H. Eddy with crew chief Baginski.
On January 3, 1943 took off from Henderson Field on Guadalcanal piloted by Captain Lyman Eddy on a bombing mission against Munda Airfield on New Georgia. Over the target, this B-26 was hit by anti-aircraft fire and the crew bailed out along and offshore Rendova Island.
Fates of the Crew
Co-pilot Headrick was injured when he hit the bomb bay door bailing out and failed to join the crew. He was officially declared Missing In Action (MIA) on the day of the mission.
The rest of the crew swam ashore and located each other. Three were wounded. The next day a RAAF Hudson located the survivors on the beach and made two supply drops to them.
On January 5, 1943 USS Grayback (SS-208) was alerted to rescue the survivors. Spotting the survivors, the submarine landed two men to
link up with the crew, then submerged until dark. As night fell, Grayback surfaced offshore and by coded light signals directed the small boat "home safe" to the submarine. For this action, skipper Edward C. Stephan earned the Navy Cross as well as a Silver Star from the U. S. Army. The submarine continued to patrol then returned to Brisbane on February 23, 1942 and the B-26 crew were returned to duty.
Larry Hickey adds:
"I did a long and very detailed interview with Eddy a number of years ago about what happened."
Headrick was officially declared dead the day of the mission and earned the Air Medal and Purple Heart, posthumously.
He is memorialized on the tablets of the missing at Manila American Cemetery. Headrick also has a memorial marker at Olive Hill Cemetery in Webber, KS.
USAF Serial Number Search Results - B-26B Marauder 41-17586
"41-17586 (38th BG, 70th BS, 13th AF) shot down by AAA over Munda airfield on New Georgia in the Solomon Islands Jan 3, 1943. All six crew bailed out over Rendove Island and were rescued Jan 5, 1943 by submarine USS Grayback SS-208"
Bombs Away! A History of the 70th Bombardment Squadron (M) In Early World War II pages 62-66, 74, 95-99 (January 3, 1943 mission), 101, 116
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - Omar W. Headrick
FindAGrave - 1LT Omar W Headrick (photo, tablets of the missing photo)
FindAGrave - 1LT Omar W Headrick (memorial marker photo)
Thanks to Larry Hickey / International Historical Research
Associates and Greg Greg Boeser for additional information.
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August 10, 2019