Built by Mitsubishi. Manufacture Number unknown. Assigned to the Japanese Navy. Tail number unknown.
On the morning of February 17, 1944 , this Betty took off from Rabaul on a flight to Truk. On board were the pilot, co-pilot and rear gunner. Also, Japanese interpreter Edward Chikaki Honda (aka "Ed Honda"), a guard and six Allied POWs were aboard the aircraft as passengers.
- Major Gregory 'Pappy' Boyington pilot F4U 17915 January 3, 1944
- Lt. John M.
Arbuckle pilot PBY 08428 ditched November 22, 1943
- Major Donald W. Boyle pilot F4U 49891 crashed January 23, 1944
- F/O Allen M. Brown wireless-gunner Beaufort A9-244 ditched October 21,1943
- F/Lt. Brian P. Stacey co-pilot Catalina A24-34 shot down February 7, 1944
- Captain Charles K. Taylor, Jr. pilot P-38H 42-66909 crashed October 23, 1943
During the flight, Boyington wrote years later that he thought of hijacking the aircraft, but others aboard thought he was exaggerating.
Arrived at Truk just before the US Navy Task Force 58 attack on Truk, 'Operation Hailstone'. The aircraft landed quickly, as US Navy Hellcats began attacking the airfield. The prisoners were hastily untied to allow them to exit the plane and take cover in a nearby foxhole as the airfield was bombed for an hour and this aircraft was destroyed.
The prisoners were held in a jail overnight, then flew onward to Saipan and onto Japan aboard a L2D Tabby (DC-3).
The Siege of Rabaul page 21, 23-24
Ba Ba Blacksheep
Thanks to Henry Sakaida for additional information
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January 9, 2018