|Pilot Lt(jg) Arthur H. Sparrow, O-125161, USNR (MIA / KIA) OH
Gunner AR2C Edward A. Porter, 2728314 (MIA / KIA) AL
MIA March 18, 1944
Built by Douglas at El Segundo, California. Constructors Number 5168. Assigned to the United States Navy (USN) to USS Lexington (CV-16) to squadron VB-16. No known nickname or nose art.
On March 18, 1944 took off from USS Lexington (CV-16) piloted by Lt(jg) Arthur H. Sparrow as one of twenty-two SBD's that took off on a bombing mission against Mili Atoll. This aircraft had instructions to rendezvous about 30 minutes later for their bombing runs. About 10 minutes prior to the rendezvous, other aircraft crews reported seeing this SBD go into a spiral dive from which they thought they saw it recover. Lookouts aboard the battleship USS New Jersey BB-62 saw a Dauntless crash into the ocean, likely this aircraft. When this aircraft failed to return it was officially declared Missing In Action (MIA).
During the afternoon strikes, aircraft from the second wave were instructed to look for this aircraft or any wreckage, but reported none visible or any sign of the crew. On March 19, 1944 after strikes, another search. An oil slick was found about 1.5 miles off the southeastern end of Mili Atoll, but no wreckage or personnel were visible.
The crew was officially declared dead on February 4, 1946. Both are memorialized at National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific (Punchbowl) on the courts of the missing.
Donnie F. Porter
Thanks to Donnie F. Porter for additional information
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January 22, 2019