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Post Courier 2-22-08
|Pilot Lt. Francis B. McIntyre, USNR, O-099727 (MIA / KIA) Mitchell, SD
Gunner ARM2 William L. Russell, 6700044 (MIA / KIA) Cherokee, OK
Crashed November 10, 1943
William L. Russell was born April 22, 1916 in Cherokee, OK and attended Cherokee High School and the University of Kansas. On November 4, 1941 he enlisted in the U. S. Navy (USN) and was trained as a radio operator at San Diego and Norfolk followed by advanced radar training at Pearl Harbor before his assignment to VC-24.
Built by Douglas at El Segundo, CA. Constructors Number 4570. Delivered to the U. S. Navy (USN) as SBD-5 Dauntless bureau number 35931. Assigned to US Navy Composite Squadron VC-24 intended for USS Belleau Wood (CVL-24). Instead, this aircraft became land based, stationed with the squadron at Munda Airfield. No known nickname or nose art.
On November 10, 1943 took off from Munda Airfield piloted by Lt. Francis B. McIntyre with gunner ARM2 William L. Russell on a dive bombing mission against Buka and Bonis. Arrived over the target at roughly 8:10am, as part of a formation of fifty-five SBD Dauntless dive bombers plus thirty-four TBF Avengers escorted by fifty-four escorting fighters. Armed with a single 1,000 pound bomb with an instantaneous fuse. When this aircraft failed to return it was officially listed as Missing In Action (MIA). In fact, after releasing their bomb over Buka Airfield, the concision from the explosion caused their aircraft to go out of control and crash near the target, killing both crew on impact.
During 2007 a local discovered the wreckage of this aircraft near Buka Airfield at an area that was used as the town garbage dump. The wreckage included the remains of the crew, a shoe and a dog tag. The discovery was reported to Pacific Wrecks, the U. S. Embassy at Port Moresby. On February 22, 2008 reported in the Post Courier Newspaper "US Aircraft, Remains Found".
Recovery of Remains
During May 2008, a team from JPAC visited the crash site and found nearly complete skeletons of the two crew. According to John Lealai, Senior Technical Officer of PNG National Museum, Modern History stated that thew dog tag reads "Francis Bernard McIntyre" was located at the crash site. During 2009, another visit was made to this crash site.
The remains were stored at the JPAC / CILHI laboratory in Hawaii. McIntyre was identified by an mDNA match from a DNA sample taken from a hat he had once worn that was still in possession of the family. Both McIntyre and Russel were officially identified on January 14, 2010.
On September 22, 2010 the Department of Defense (DoD) US Defense Defense POW / Missing Personnel Office (DPMO) announced that McIntyre and Russell were identified.
Both crew were officially declared dead on January 1, 1946. Both earned the Purple Heart, posthumously. Both are memorialized at Manila American Cemetery on the tablets of the missing.
On September 29, 2010 at 11:00am McIntyre was buried at Arlington National Cemetery at section 59 grave 4418.
On October 1, 2010 Russell was buried at Arlington National Cemetery at section 59 grave 4419.
William M. Russell (father)
Chris Miller (nephew of Russell)
Cindy Finley (niece of Russell)
Michael Russel (nephew of Russell)
Navy Serial Number Search Results - SBD-5 Dauntless 35931
"35931 (VC-24) crashed near Buka Airfield, Papua New Guinea during bombing mission Nov 10, 1943. 2 crew KIA. Wreckage discovered in 2007"
NARA "Solomon Air Force November 10  Complete Reports on Buka-Bonis"
"Buka-Bonis strike at 0810L/10 by 55 SBDs and 34 TBFs indicate an excellent coverage of the assigned targets. The SBDs carried 1000 lb. instantaneous and the TBFs 2000 lb. 1/10 delay bombs. Photos after the strike show 7 bomb craters at Buka and 10 at Bonis on the runways. A SBD bomb hit a possible ammo dump causing large explosion and fire at the southwest end of the Buka runway. Other fires were started at both fields. A total of at least 38 hits by SBDs were made on or near AA positions in the area which appreciatively lessened the volume of gun fire. A direct hit was made among a group of buildings located at the south center of the Bonis runway. AA was described as of moderate intensity and light medium and heavy caliber with very intense heavy AA from the north tip of Sohano Island. Escort of 54 fighters had no contacts nor sightings of enemy aircraft. One SBD is missing [this aircraft]."
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - Francis B. McIntyre "remains have been recovered"
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - William L. Russell "remains have been recovered"
FindAGrave - LT Francis Bernard McIntyre (tablets of the missing)
FindAGrave - Lt Francis Bernard McIntyre (grave photo)
FindAGrave - ARM2 William Lloyd Russell (photo, tablets of the missing)
FindAGrave - William Lloyd Russell (photo, grave photo)
Post Courier "US Aircraft, Remains Found" February 22, 2008
DPMO New Release "Missing WWII Naval Aviations Identified" September 23, 2010
Daily Republic "Local native's remains buried at Arlington" October 1, 2010
Tulsa World "Remains of Oklahoma WWII serviceman identified" September 23, 2010
Thanks to Johnathan Nangas and Nick Kara for additional information
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