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|Pilot 1st Lt. Howard M. Coonley, O-021064 (MIA / KIA) Syracuse, NY
Gunner Pfc Jack Bernard Thomann, 502579 (MIA / KIA) New York, NY
Crashed January 26, 1944
Built by Douglas at El Segundo, California. Constructors Number 4870. Delivered to the U. S. Navy (USN) as SBD-5 Dauntless bureau number 36231. Disassembled and shipped to the South Pacific and reassembled.
Assigned to the U. S. Marine Corps (USMC), Marine Air Wing 2 (MAW-2), Marine Air Group 21 (MAG-21), Marine Scout-Bomber Squadron 341 "Torrid Turtles" VMSB-341. Plane number 105. No known nickname or nose art.
On January 26, 1944 took off from Torokina Airfield on Bougainville piloted by 1st Lt. Howard M. Coonley as one of thirty-two SBDs from VMSB-341 led by Major McDaniel on a dive bombing mission against Lakunai Airfield near Rabaul. Inbound, six SBDs aborted the mission due to mechanical problems. Over the target, this SBD was last seen going into its dive. When this aircraft failed to return, it was officially declared Missing In Action (MIA).
Both were officially declared dead on January 16, 1946. Both earned the Purple Heart, posthumously. Both are memorialized at Manila American Cemetery on the tablets of the missing.
Coonley also has a memorial marker at North Syracuse Cemetery in North Syracuse, NY at section W1.
Navy Serial Number Search Results - SBD-5 Dauntless 36231
USN Overseas Aircraft Loss List January 1944 - SBD-5 36231
NARA "Marine Scout Bombing Squadron 341 War Diary January 1944" page 8, 10, 12
(Page 3) "26 January, 1944: Thirty-two (32) pilots with their gunners were assigned to strike Lakunai Airfield, Rabaul. The strike was led by Maj. McDaniel. Lt. Howard M. Coonley and his gunner, PFC Jack B. Thomann, USMCR, Ser. No. 502579, did not return from the strike. They were last seen going into their dive over their assigned target. Lt. Coonley's plane was No. 105, BuNo. 36231. Six pilots returned before reaching target because of plane trouble. Mission report attached."
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - Howard M. Coonley
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - Jack Bernard Thomann
FindAGrave - 1Lt Howard M Coonley (group burial photo)
FindAGrave - Lieut Howard Mitchell Coonley (memorial marker photo)
FindAGrave - PFC Jack Bernard Thomann (photo)
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