|Pilot 2nd Lt
Frederick G. Heyer, O-737950 43rd BG, 403rd BS (KIA, BR) Flint, MI
Passenger 2nd Lt Howard J. LaBrenz 43rd BG, 403rd BS (WIA, survived)
Built by Piper. Delivered to the U.S. Army serial number unknown. Disassembled and shipped overseas to New Guinea and reassembled.
Assigned to the either the U.S. Army or U. S. Army Air Force. Unit assignment unknown. No known nickname or nose art.
2, 1943 took off from 7 Mile Drome (Jackson) near Port Moresby and crashed near a camp area to the north of Port Moresby, while searching
for a Missing In Action (MIA) B-24D
Liberator 42-40984. This L-4 ran out of fuel and crashed. Pilot Hayer was killed in the crash. LaBrenz survived the crash but was injured.
Fates of the Crew
LaBrenz survived the crash and was found on September 3, 1943 and returned to duty. He reported the L-4 had ran out of fuel and crashed, killing Heyer.
Recovery of Remains
On September 3, 1943 Heyer's remains were recovered from the crash site and buried in New Guinea. Postwar, he was transported to Hawaii for permanent burial.
Heyer was officially declared dead on September 3, 1943. He is buried at National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific (Punchbowl) at plot B, grave 1109.
LaBrenz retired from the USAF as a Colonel and died on August 22, 1964. He is buried at Arlington National Cemetery at section 37, site: 3799
Since the early 1970s, the fuselage of this aircraft was moved atop a large volcanic rock on the northern side of the road at Varirata
PNG Museum Aircraft Status Card - L4 Cup piloted by Hayer [sic Heyer]
43rd Bombardment Group History
1 Sept 1943 "...Yesterday one of our early morning reccos crashed soon after a take off... of the drome. A ground searching party has gone to the wreck but no word from them has been received yet."
2 Sept 1943 "A Piper Cub sent out to search for the B-24 that crashed into the mountains on the 31st of August has failed to return. It is feared that it too has gone down.. The ground searching party has returned. Major Shea [Group Chaplain] who accompanied the party reported that all aboard were killed and burned beyond recognition. Funeral rites were conducted there on the mountain side. Those aboard were.."
3 Sept 1943 "The Piper Cub was found wrecked and Lt. Frederick G. Heyer of 505 Mary Street, Flint Michigan, the pilot dead."
FindAGrave - Frederic G Heyer (grave photo)
FindAGrave - Howard J LaBrenz
Ken's Men Against The Empire page 22, appendix 2
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January 5, 2018