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  SBD-3 Dauntless Bureau Number 06667  
USMC
VMSB-142

Pilot  Captain James V. Carney, USNR C. O. Naval Construction Battalion 14 Seabees (KIA, BR) O'Neill, NB
Gunner  Corporal Noel D. Gilliam (KIA, BR) Donie, Texas

Crashed  December 16, 1942


Pilot History
Captain J. V. Carney, USNR Civil Engineer Corps was Commanding Officer (C. O.) of Naval Construction Battalion 14 "Seabees". He helped construct Bomber 2 at Koli Point on Guadalcanal. He was also a pilot. After his death, the Koli Point Airfield (Bomber 2) was renamed Carney Field in his honor.

Aircraft History
Built by Douglas. Constructors Number 1482. Delivered to the U. S. Navy (USN) as SBD-3 Dauntless bureau number 06667.

Wartime History
Assigned to the U. S. Marine Corps (USMC) to Marine Scout Bombing Squadron 142 (VMSB-142). No known nickname or nose art.

Mission History
On December 16, 1942 took off from Henderson Field on Guadalcanal piloted by Captain James V. Carney to make a landing on the new runway at Bomber 2 on on Guadalcanal. Finding it satisfactory, he took off again but developed engine trouble over the Skylark Channel and crashed at the mouth of Metapona River near Koli Point. Both were killed in the crash.

Memorials
Both were officially declared dead the day of the mission. After the crash, the remains of both crew were recovered and buried at the Marine Cemetery in Lunga. Afterwards, Bomber 2 was named "Carney Field" in honor of Captain James V. Carney. Postwar, both were transported to the United States for permanent burial. Carney was buried at Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery at section G site 255. Gilliam's was buried at Union Cemetery, Freestone County, Texas.

Relatives
Joe Strawn (nephew of Corporal Noel D. Gilliam)
"My mother's brother, Marine Corporal Noel Dwayne Gilliam of Donie, Texas, was Captain Carney's gunner on December 16, 1942 and died with him in the crash of their SBD-3. This information was provided to me by my 92 year old uncle, Wade Gilliam, who served as senior Storekeeper aboard the cruiser USS Cleveland during WWII. On the way to rejoin his ship in 1943, Wade stopped at the cemetery at Lunga on Guadalcanal to visit his brother's grave. At that time he was told that an airfield was being renamed to honor Captain Carney."

Dwain Gilliam (nephew of Corporal Noel D. Gilliam)

References
Navy Serial Number Search Results - SBD-3 Dauntless 06667
History of the 14th Naval Construction Battalion by R.N. Woldy, page 19
"An emergency landing strip, 150' x 7300' & long, about two miles inland from the beach location, was also prepared for use between December 5th and 17th, The first plane to land, was a two seat fighter, flown from Henderson Field by Captain Carney, on December 16th. Captain Carney pronounced the strip satisfactory. After taking off again, his plane developed motor trouble over Skylark Channel, and plunged into the bay, killing Captain Carney and his gunner. The body was recovered and his remains interred at the Marine Cemetery, in Lunga".
Mack Morris South Pacific Diary page 237 by Ronnie Day
"14th CBs landed November 42 on Guadalcanal as part of composite unit called ACORN RED ONE, the CO of which was Capt. James V. Carney, USN."
FindAGrave - James Valentine Carney (photo, grave photo)
FindAGrave - Noel Dwayne "Wade" Gilliam (grave photo)
Thanks to Ewan Stevenson, John Prien and Joe Strawn for additional information

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Last Updated
February 4, 2018

 

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