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  PBM-5 Mariner Bureau Number 59062  

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

Aircraft History
Built by Martin as a model 162F. Delivered to the United States Navy (USN) as PBM-5 Mariner bureau number 59062.

Wartime History
Assigned to Patrol Squadron Twenty (VPB-20) assigned to seaplane tender USS Pocomoke (AV-9). This aircraft was assigned to crew #110.

Mission History
On June 3, 1945 took off from Tawi-Tawi Island on a 12-14 hour patrol mission to be on station to rescue downed aviators and scout for enemy ships and submarines. The first ten hours of the patrol were sucessful and this flyingboat made several strafing runs against Japanese ground installations along the east coast of Borneo. Afterwards, flew eastward over the Makassar Strait near the Java Sea and spotted three Japanese ships: two transports and an escort vessel.  

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

A/C: PBM-5

Marina Location: Straits of Makassar (Java Sea)

Strike: Yes

BUNO: 59062



VPB-20 War Diary

7 June [1945]

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.


Wartime History
Assigned to Patrol Squadron Sixteen (VP-16) with squadron code 16-P-13. No known nickname or nose art.

Mission History
On June 21, 1944 took off from Tanapag Harbor off Saipan piloted by Lt. Harry R. Flachsbarth on a night patrol mission to the west of Saipan. Before midnight, the last transmission to base was "investigating suspicious vessel". No other messages were received and efforts to reestablish communication were unsuccessful. When this aircraft failed to return it was officially listed as Missing In Action (MIA) on June 22, 1944.

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 entire crew of eleven were officially declared dead on June 22, 1945.

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.
Wiggs also has a memorial marker at Pinecrest Cemetery in Warsaw, NC.
Wise also has a memorial marker at Union Center Cemetery in Nappanee, IN.

Steve Hoskins (nephew of Hoskins)
"Hoskins was my dads cousin they were the same age and both served in the South Pacific Dad was on the USS North Carolina and as far as I know I am the only one in the family that still has this memorial pamphlet that I had found in dads things so this is all I have to go on."

Navy Serial Number Search Results - PBM-5 Mariner 59062

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Last Updated
February 4, 2018


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