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USS Intrepid (CV-11)
|Pilot Lt(jg) John J. Savage, 157494 USNR (POW, executed September 9, 1945, MIA)
Gunner AOM2c Ora Sharninghouse, 7232273 USNR (MIA / KIA, BR) OH
Radio ARM2c Albert "Bud" Rybarczyk, 6224029 USNR (MIA / KIA, BR) St. Joseph, MI
Crashed September 8, 1944
Built by General Motors, Eastern Aircraft Division. Delivered to the U. S. Navy (USN) as TBM-1C Avenger bureau number 16923.
Assigned to Torpedo Squadron 18 (VT-18) aboard USS Intrepid (CV-11). No known nickname, nose art or squadron number.
On September 8, 1944 took off from USS Intrepid (CV-11) piloted by Lt. John J. Savage armed with a single 2,000 pound bomb on bombing mission against against Japanese positions on Babelthuap Island in Palau.
Over the target, this Avenger bombed an ammunition dump at Bokerugeru Point. After releasing their bomb, the explosion that resulted tore off the aircraft's tail. Out of control, pilot Savage managed bail out before the aircraft crashed into the sea off Babelthuap Island. The other two crew members did not exit the aircraft and were killed in the crash. When this aircraft failed to return, it was officially listed as Missing In Action (MIA).
Fates of the Crew
Pilot Savage parachuted successfully and landed in the sea then swam ashore. He was captured by the Japanese and became a Prisoner Of War (POW) and immediately executed by beheading. He remains listed as Missing In Action (MIA).
The other two crew members: Sharninghouse and Rybarczyk went down with the aircraft and were officially listed as Missing In Action (MIA).
Other aircraft in the formation witnessed this Avenger crash and circled the area where it impacted but only saw hydraulic fluid and a deflated life raft floating on the surface.
On March 14, 2014 Bent Prop and Project Recover including Eric Terrill and Mark Moline used an ROV to locate the wreckage of the Avenger underwater roughly 100' offshore at a depth of 100'. On March 31, 2014 a flag ceremony was held for the three crew and the site was reported to Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command (JPAC).
Recovery of Remains
Sharninghouse also has a memorial marker at Weaver Cemetery in Bairdstown, OH.
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