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|Pilot 1st Lt Gale J. Chase, O-677984 (MIA / KIA) Great Falls, MT
Co-Pilot 1st Lt Frank C. Gecan, O-800346 (MIA / KIA) Clairton, PA
Radio S/Sgt Benton D. Campbell, 19087650 (MIA / KIA) Oakland, CA
Crew Chief S/Sgt Joseph C. Draper, 15332843 (MIA / KIA) Reelsville, IN
Passenger Cpl Everett F. Rogers, 12140460 (MIA / KIA) Westchester, NY
Passenger Cpl Joseph J. Ransdell, 35794488 (MIA / KIA) Lexington, KY
Crashed December 23, 1943
During January 1944, the wreckage believed to be this C-47 was spotted at roughly 8 57' S 147 35 E in on the uppermost slopes of the Owen Stanley Mountains near the base of Mount Victoria. The wreckage was visible from the air and photographed.
A search party was organized to investigate the crash site after investigating another site on Mount Yule A team from U. S. Army Graves Registration (AGRS) lead by Burton E. Tator and included SSgt Thomas O. Miller. The party included Australian W/O Blencowe from the Australia New Guinea Administrative Unit (ANGAU) and native carriers were provided by ANGAU.
On March 1, 1944 the search team departed from Port Moresby on foot. In support of this effort, three separate aerial reconnaissance missions by C-47s photographed the wreckage which was reported to be relatively intact. Due to the difficult terrain the search party dispatched to survey the site failed to reach the location.
On March 25, 1944, equipment and rations were air dropped by C-47s of the 275th TGC to the village of Menari, where the team proceeded to Mount Victoria and faced very difficult terrain and were on the wrong ridge and found the site was inaccessible from the foot of the mountain reaching a 1,000' gap that was impassible, but reached 9,000' elevation on the mountain by March 31. Unable to proceed, the team terminated the search and return to Port Moresby.
Another recovery expedition was attempted some months later, but this also failed to reach the wreck, lying just above 10,000' altitude. The 5th Air Force decided to classify the human remains as non-recoverable, the case was closed, and the relatives were informed only that their kin were "Missing In Action".
During 2003, Keith Hopper and Justin Taylan met with the Ambassador Robert Fitts of the US Embassy in Port Moresby to discuss the case of this C-47. Today, the case of "Windy City" remains the quintessential example of a file which needs re-opening.
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