|Pilot 1st Lt. John F. Crowley, O-794472 (MIA / KIA) NY
Crashed January 23, 1944
Built by Curtiss in Buffalo, New York. Delivered U. S. Army serial number unknown. Disassembled and shipped overseas to Australia and reassembled.
Assigned to the 5th Air Force, 49th Fighter Group, 7th Fighter Squadron. No known nickname or nose art.
On January 23, 1944 took off from Guasap Airfield piloted by Crowley on a patrol mission over Wewak. "Red Flight' was led by flight leader was Robert DeHaven, with wingman was Marion Hawke. This aircraft was element leader piloted by Lt. John F. Crowley and his wing man was Jack Suggs. "Red Flight" was to provide high cover for the mission.
Over the target, intercepted by Japanese fighters, Crowley dropped to a low altitude near the surface of the sea. It is believed that Ki-43 Oscar piloted by Nongo of the 59th Sentai and likely shot him down. Crowley was observed flying at 1,500' when he nosed over and crashed into Dallman Harbor near Cape Moem,
the pilot was not seen to bail out. That same mision, Nongo was shot down by DehHaven. Several pilots and crews saw Crowley's plane hit the water, he was the only aircraft lost on mission.
The wreckage of a P-40 believed to be this aircraft is in 20'-30' of water on a sandy bottom upside down with the tail section missing in Boram Bay north of Brandi,
east of Cape Moem and Wewak.
In 2004, dived by John Douglas and Justin Taylan. The identity has not been confirmed,
but Crowley's is the only P-40 known to be in that area.
John Douglas adds:
"The tail is missing. The machine guns are gone, possibly
salvaged during the war, as the Japanese had a large camp on
the nearby beach. One possibility is
a P-40 that
to roll over
the sea, if so, probably an MIA case."
Justin Taylan adds:
"Attempted to dive this wreck with John Douglas in November (wet
season) 2003, it was very murky water. In
early August 2004, the water is very clear."
Crowley was declared dead the day of the mission and is memorialized on the tablets of the missing at Manila American Cemetery.
American Battle Monuments Commission (AMBC) - John Francis Crowley
FindAGrave - 1Lt John Francis Crowley
49th Fighter Group microfilm C0131 frame 2104
PNG Museum Aircraft Status Card - P-40 Kittyhawk piloted by Crowley
Protect & Avenge mentions this loss
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January 5, 2018