|Pilot 1st Lt. Major F. Alford Jr. O-21643 (MIA / KIA) LA
Gunner Cpl Gene T. Baur, 493366 (MIA / KIA) Saint Joseph, MO
MIA June 16, 1944
Built by Douglas at El Segundo, California. Constructors Number 5541. Delivered to the United States Navy (USN) as SBD-5 Dauntless bureau number 36913. Assigned to the U. S. Marine Corps (USMC) to Marine Scout Bombing Squadron 235 (VMSB-235). No known nickname or nose art. Squadron number 145.
On June 16, 1944 one of eighteen SBDs that took off from Piva North Airfield (Piva Uncle) on Bougainville Island 8:10am piloted by 1st Lt. Major F. Alford Jr. on a mission to dive bomb and strafe gun positions and supply areas to the west of Simpson Harbor south of Rabaul.
The SBD formation was led by Captain Elmer F. Brooks with each dive bomber armed with a single 1,000 pound bomb with a 1/10 second delay fuse. Also participating in the raid were twelve TBF Avengers. Weather was scattered cumulus clouds at 1,800' to 3,000' over the target ceiling and visibility unlimited.
Over the target, the formation made a high speed approach from 14,700' from north to south with pushover at 9,000' at the start of the dive bombing run, bomb release at 1,800'. When this plane failed to return it was officially declared Missing In Action (MIA).
Both crew were officially declared dead on June 17, 1945. Both are memorialized on the tablets of the missing at Manila American Cemetery.
Navy Serial Number Search Results - SBD-5 Dauntless 36913
NARA "Marine Scout Bombing Squadron Two Thirty Five Combat Tour of Duty 1 June 1944 to 30 June 1944" page 11-12, 36-37
(Page 37) "Observations (3) The plane piloted by Lieutenant Alford with Corporal Baur as radio gunner is missing in action. A TBF pilot reports that an SBD plane turned right into Simpson Harbor, to make water landing, bounce and to sink. No one was observed to leave the plane."
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - Major F. Alford Jr.
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - Gene Tyre Baur
FindAGrave - 1Lt Major F Alford, Jr (photo, tablets of the missing)
FindAGrave - Corp Gene Tyre Baur (photo, tablets of the missing)
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February 4, 2018