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  TBF-1 Avenger Bureau Number 06239  

Pilot  Lt(jg) Frederic Burton Sleyster, O-116372 (MIA / KIA) Perry, MO
Radio  Second Class Harry Hampton Johnson, 6382500 (MIA / KIA) MN
Gunner  Third Class Manuel Paiva, 2044712 (MIA / KIA) RI

MIA  May 19, 1943

Pilot History
Frederic Sleyster was awarded the Air Medal and Purple Heart. He was 22 years of age when he was made Aviation Cadet on 2 Oct 1941. Sleyster flew a B-17 bomber and that he was on the USS Enterprise for a time. He was married with Dorothy Woodworth, living in Coronado, CA. without children. He was attached to the 493rd BS, 7th BG Heavy. He was attached to the Torpedo Squadron 21 and temporarily attached to a Marine unit, VMSB 143 (Marine Scout Bomber Squadron). Declared dead, Body not recovered.

Aircraft History
Built by Grumman. Delivered to the U. S. Navy (USN) as TBF-1 Avenger bureau number 06239.

Wartime History
Assigned to the U. S. Marine Corps (USMC) to squadron VMSB-143. No known nickname or nose art.

Mission History
On May 19, 1943 took off from Henderson Field on Guadalcanal piloted by Lt(jg) Frederic Burton Sleyster on an aerial mine laying mission against the Bougainville area. One pilot stated that numerous searchlights and anti-aircraft fire were encountered over the target area. When this aircraft failed to return it was officially declared Missing In Action (MIA).

The entire crew was officially declared dead on January 4, 1946. All are memorialized on the tablets of the missing at Manila American Cemetery.

Jill DeGraeve-Cruse for historical information:
"Fredric Burton Sleyster is my husband’s great uncle."

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Last Updated
February 4, 2018


Tech Info

3 Missing

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