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  SBD-5 Dauntless Bureau Number 28161 Squadron Number A-12
USMC
MAG-24
VMSB-244

Pilot ¬†Captain John Allan Anderson, O-013523 (MIA / KIA) MN
Gunner  SSgt Carmine D. Faella, 385653 (MIA / KIA) NJ

MIA  May 17, 1944


Aircraft History
Built by Douglas at El Segundo. Delivered to the U. S. Navy (USN) as SBD-5 Dauntless bureau number 28161. Disassembled and shipped overseas to the South Pacific and reassembled.

Wartime History
Assigned to the United States Marine Corps (USMC) to Marine Air Group 24 (MAG-24) to squadron VMSB-244. No known nickname or nose art. Squadron Number A-12, call sign 32.

Mission History
On May 17, 1944 took off from Nissan Airfield (Green Island Airfield) piloted by Captain John Allan Anderson on a bombing mission against Vunakanau Airfield near Rabaul. The formation included forty-two SBD Dauntless dive bombers from VMSB-244 and VMSB-236 led by Captain Richard Belyea of VMSB-244. Each dive bomber was armed with a 1,000 pound bomb with a fuse set for .01 second delay. The dive bombers were escorted by four fighters.

The weather enroute was .4 cumulus clouds with a base at 3,000' and top at 5,000'. Over the target the weather was clear with scattered cumulus clouds .2 coverage. After rendezvous over Cape Saint George at 11,500' and proceeded to the target.

Over Rabaul, the dive bombers made a high speed approach from the northwest at 15,000', with the dive bombing run started from 7,500' and bomb release at 2,800' and pullout at 1,200'. The SBDs also strafed the target area during their dives with their .50 caliber machine guns and .30 caliber rear guns. During the attack, moderate to intense anti-aircraft fire with varying degrees of accuracy was experienced.

During the dive bombing run, this SBD claimed a bomb hit on the runway at Vunakanau Airfield. Returning, this SBD was seen to crash into the Warangoi River about four and a half miles from the mouth of the river. When this aircraft failed to return the crew were declared Missing In Action (MIA).

Memorials
The crew were officially declared dead on May 18, 1945. Both crew earned the Purple Heart, posthumously. Both are memorialized on the tablets of the missing at Manila American Cemetery.

References
USN / USMC Overseas Aircraft Loss List - May 1944 SBD 28161
COMAIRSOLS Strike Command-Green SBD Intelligence 17 May 1944 pages 9-10
(page 9) "Damage to Planes: Plane #A-12, BuNo. 28161, failed to return. [this aircraft]
"Personnel Casualties: Captain John A. Anderson pilot of plane A-12 and his gunner Staff Sergeant Carmine "D" Faella are MIA.
** The plane was seen to crash into the Warengoi River [sic] about four and one half miles from the mouth."
(page 10) "Mission Log: [Plane No.] A12 [Pilot] Anderson [Gunner] Faella [Squadron] 244 [Call Sign] 32 [Remarks] Confirmed hit on R/W; failed to return"
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - John Allan Anderson
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - Carmine D. Faella
FIndAGrave - Capt John Allan Anderson (tablets of the missing)
FindAGrave - SSgt Carmine D Faella (photo, telegraph, tablets of the missing photo)
Ebay "Lot of WWII letters & telegram KIA gunner with USMC VMSB 244 from New Jersey" 361287158990 sold on May 10, 2015 for $155.49

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Last Updated
March 31, 2018

 

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