|Pilot 2nd Lt. Dewey W. Foster, O-754610 (POW, executed, MIA) OK
Crashed April 11, 1944 at 9:50am
Built by Republic at the Indiana Division of Republic Aviation in
Evansville, IN. Delivered to the U. S. Army. Disassembled and shipped overseas to the South-West Pacific and reassembled.
Assigned to the 5th Air Force, 35th Fighter Group, 39th Fighter Squadron. No known nickname, nose art or squadron number. When lost, engine R-2800-21 serial number 42-125368. Weapon serial numbers unknown.
On April 11, 1944 took off from Gusap Airfield (No. 5) on an escort mission over Hansa Bay. Weather was reported as good, ceiling unlimited, visibility unlimited with scattered clouds at 3,000'. Last seen roughly 20 miles northwest of Dumpu and 30 miles off Madang by 1st Lt. Wayne P. Rothgeb who witnessed him pull up onto his wing, then made a gentle turn back towards base. Foster made no radio contact and his plane appeared to be in good condition.
Fate of the Pilot
In fact, Foster survived and was captured by the Japanese and became a Prisoner Of War (POW) and was executed at Amron and buried in a mass grave.
Three separate search missions were flown. On April 12, 1944 three P-47s led by Captain Anderson took off from Gusap at 11:47 and searched the area 60 miles north of Atemble and 35 miles east and 35 miles west of the Ramu River, with nil sightings then landed at 13:30.
Later that afternoon on 13:30, P-47D piloted by Captain Cella searched 50 miles west of Gusap and did "S" turns, but did not see anything.
On April 13, 1944 at 8:20 two P-47s led by Captain Tansing searched the Bismark Ranges unsuccessfully, landing at 10:30.
This aircraft crashed near Nobonob roughly 20 miles northwest of Dumpu. This aircraft wreck was known since the late 1940s.
During August 14-20, 2010 a JPAC team led by K. Baker conducted a recovery at the crash site and recovered the remains of the pilot. His remains were officially identified on Novemeber 2, 2010.
Foster was officially declared dead the day of the mission. He is memorialized on the tablets of the missing at Manila American Cemetery After the recovery and identification of his remains, a rosette was added next to his name and his remains were buried at Fort Sam Houston National Cemetery in section AD, site 265 and section MA, site 50.
Missing Air Crew Report 4360 (MACR 4360)
RAAF Survey of Aircraft Wreckage, Papua New Guinea, page 9 #323 "Wreckage located in this area [Nobonob]"
Port Moresby Tower Log - P-47D 42-22709
PNG Museum Aircraft Status Card - P-47D Thunderbolt 42-22709
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) Dewey W. Foster
"His remains have been recovered and identified on November 29, 2010."
FindAGrave - Dewey W Foster (grave photo)
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January 5, 2018