|Pilot Lt. Francis Bernard McIntyre, USNR, O-099727 (MIA / KIA) Mitchell, SD
Gunner ARM2 William L. Russell, 6700044 (MIA / KIA) Cherokee, OK
Crashed November 10, 1943
Built by Douglas. 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.
Took off from Munda Airfield on a bombing mission against Buka and Bonis. Arrived over the target at roughly 8:10am, as part of a formation of fifty-five SBD Dautless, plus thirty-four TBF Avengers and fifty-four escorting fighters. Armed with a single 1000 lbs. instantaneous fused bomb. This SBD failed to return from the mission, and in fact had crashed near Buka Airfield, with both crew aboard.
During 2007 a local discovered the wreckage of this aircraft near Buka Airfield and the town dump. The wreckage included the remains of the crew, a shoe and a dog tag. The discovery was reported to Pacific Wrecks, the US Embassy at Port Moresby and on February 22, 2008 in a newspaper article in the Post Courier 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 US Defense Defense POW / Missing Personnel Office officially announced McIntyre and Russell as identified.
Both crew members were officially declared dead on January 1, 1946 and are memorialized on the tablets of the missing at Manila American Cemetery.
After being identified, the remains of both crew were buried at Arlington National Cemetery. McIntyre was buried on September 29, 2010 at 11am at section 59 grave 4418. Russell was buried on October 1, 2010 at section 59 grave 4419.
November 10 Complete Reports on Buka-Bonis "Solomon Air Force"
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 Ted Darcy and Jim Sawruk for additional information
Solomon Air Force November 10 - Complete Reports:
"Buka-Bonis strike at 0810L/10 by 55 SBDs and 34 TBFs indicate an excellent coverage of the assigne 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 appreciately 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]."
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February 4, 2018