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Crew Ensign Lyman E. Benson, O-290696 USNR (MIA / KIA) Highland Park, IL
Crew Ensign Larsen G. Ruth, O-244353 USN (MIA / KIA) AZ
Crew ARM3c Cecil Hertford Wiggs, 6566632 USNR (MIA / KIA) Sampson County, NC
Crew AMM3c Austin Earl Hoskins, 3379787 USNR (MIA / KIA) MO
Crew AMM2c George Plant, 7262042 USNR (MIA / KIA) IL
Crew AMM1c Robert Eugene Wise, 6261883 USNR (MIA / KIA) IN
Crew ARM3c James Terry Greenfield, 5640403 USNR (MIA / KIA) CA
Crew S1c Lee Roy Douglas, 6714690 USNR (MIA / KIA) CA
Crew AMM3c Alexander Hilton, 350060 USNR (MIA / KIA) TX
Crew AOM3c Wallace Blackwell Grant, USNR (MIA / KIA) Patten, ME
MIA June 3, 1945
Being the only American plane in the area, they took on the three ships by themselves and the attack began. The first two runs were successful hitting and sinking the two transports. However, on the third run, the plane was hit hard with the escort's anti-aircraft fire and included holes in the fuel tank. The plane was heavily damaged. The hydraulic lines at the waist guns were broken and caught fire. The plane would not hold altitude and the pilots were having trouble keeping it just 100 ft. above the water. They and made a forced landing on a beach near the village of Tanahmeja, Island of Celebes (now Sulawisi), Dutch East Indies which was thought to be in “friendly territory”.
PBM Mariner Bu No 59062 of VPB-20
LT (junior grade) Deland Joseph Croze captured & executed - buried in Honolulu, HI
Ensign Marshall Henry Hicks captured & executed
Ensign Lewis Albert Wheeler DOW
ARM3c Edward Adley Calhoun captured & executed
AOM3c Kenneth James Crow captured & executed
ARM2c Owen Douglas Huls captured & executed - ABMC
AMM2c Robert Bernard Jezewski DOW - buried next to Lt. Croze in Hawaii
AOM3c Charles Watson Moorefield KIA
AERM2c Donald Milton Pell KIA
AOM3c Joe Harvey Garcia captured & executed
AOM3c Dale A. Hunt survived - wounded by shark - arm amputated
AMM1c John Patrick Igoe KIA - buried in Long Island, NY
AMM1c Daulton C. “Stephie” Stephenson survived
AMM3c Broadus “Lyle” Bumpas survived
Crew of 14
2 died of wounds from AA fire
3 were killed in gunfight with Japanese troops
6 were captured and executed
3 were rescued
Lt. (jg) Deland J. Croze
Ens. Marshall H. Hicks Jr.
Aviation Radioman 3rd Class Edward A. Calhoun
Aviation Ordnanceman 3rd Class Kenneth J. Crow
Aviation Machinist's Mate 2nd Class Robert B. Jezewski (USS Pocomoke)
Aviation Ordnanceman 3rd Class Joe H. Garcia
Aviation Radioman 2nd Classs Owen D. Huls
Aviation Machinist's Mate 1st Class John P. Igoe
Aviation Ordnanceman 3rd Class Charles W. Moorfield
Aerographer's Mate 2nd Class Donald M. Pell (USS Pocomoke)
Three survivors were rescued by PBM from VPB-20
Clark Duane Roush Pilot Livonia, Michigan
LT Morgan L. Saylor
MISHAPs: 03 JUN 45
Marina Location: Straits of Makassar (Java Sea)
VPB-20 War Diary
7 June 
Searches 60, 61 and 62 were covered 100% with nil enemy contacts. Lt. W.W. Forsha, USNR, and Lt. M.M. Saylor, USNR, flying an extended search southward for Lt. Croze's crew sighted the Mariner beached at 05-005/119-36E, at 1230I. The plane looked to be in fair condition, but had palm leaves laid over the top of the wings in an attempt to camouflage the star insignia there. There was no sign of life about the plane, but there were numerous native houses in the vicinity. On examining the area more thoroughly, a crew member in Lt. Saylor's plane spotted three men clinging to a log about five miles to the north of the beached plane. There were many reefs in the area, but Lt. Saylor decided to take a try at it, and let down for the rescue. At the same time, Lt. Saylor noticed sharks in the water near the men, and one of them, who had swam away from the other two in order to attract more attention so that the planes would not miss seeing them, was being attacked by a shark. The man somehow managed to ward off the shark after its first attack which got most of the flesh from his left arm, and miraculously made his way back to the other two and the log. Lt. Saylor put his plane down as fast as he could and as near to the men as possible, and by skillful manoeuvering among the reefs, being guided by Lt. Forsha from the air, he quickly had the three survivors aboard and took off for base. Lt. Forsha remained in the area for further searching, and after strafing and setting fire to the plane, returned to base without further success.
In fact, this Mariner spotted U. S. Navy (USN) vessels from Carrier Task Group (CTG 58) at 11:12pm at roughly Lat 15-06N, Long 139-20E and made a low approach to within 8,000 yards of destroyers screening the force that opened fire in defense. This Mariner was shot down in flames. After the crash, USS Brown (DD-546) investigated the crash site and located a wing tip pontoon and recovering printed matter which identified the plane as friendly. On June 23, 1945 CTG 58 reported the friendly fire shoot down to squadron VP-16 with profound regrets.
The following crew are memorialized at the courts of the missing at National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific (Punchbowl) on the Courts of the Missing. Ruth on court 1. Flachsbarth, Greenfield, Hilton and Hoskins court 3.
The following crew are memorialized at at Manila American Cemetery on the tablets of the missing: Benson, Douglas and Wiggs.
Hoskins also had a memorial service on August 26, 1945 at Pleasant Hill Baptist Church.
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