01 JANUARY 1945
Captain Gerard F. Wientjes, pilot of "Playmate Four Two", departed Morotai for Tarakan, Borneo at 0255. He arrived at Bongao Island at 0923 and they proceeded to their destination. As they approached, they sighted numerous mirror flashes and ten men on the shore, waving frantically. Captain Wientjes circled the area several times to assure himself that no Japs were in the vicinity. He landed his ship in the sheltered waters of of the bay at 0955 and taxied inshore. As soon as his plane hit the water, the survivors started swimming and wading toward the rescue craft. Six men were swimming and pushing their life raft which contained the two injured men toward the rescue ship. When they reached the plane, 300 yards off shore, the injured were taken aboard followed by the others. Two members of the Catalina crew then boarded the raft and rowed ashore to pick up the remaining four men who were quickly transported to the rescue ship. The raft was then destroyed. The engines were started up and the ship became airborne at 1023; the actual rescue requiring about 30 minutes. During the taxi run, a Jap patrol boat was observed proceeding along the shore toward the survivors point of departure. However, they were too far away to exchange fire.

The injured men, each with a fractured arm were given first aid and made comfortable. The remaining survivors, some of whom had received minor injuries, were treated disrobed, and clothed in dry blankets. All survivors were given food, water, and stimulants as they were ravenously hungry and thirsty. The survivors were in pitiful state, both mentally and physically. They were wet, covered with mud, and mosquito bites and all of them bordering on acute hysteria. During the long ride home, the apprehensiveness of the survivors increased to such a degree that it was necessary to administer sedatives, particularly when Captain Wientjes was ordered to divert his course to search for another Snafu. This search was negative and the rescue ship landed at Morotai at 1525.

Read the story as told by one of the rescued men, 2nd Lt. David J. Gunn.
Read the Co-pilot's (Bill Helmantoler) account of this mission.

RESCUED B-25 CREWS: Plane 1 - P, Lt. Bill Smith; CP, Lt. James Wallace, E, Sgt. Rupert Blackwood; R, Sgt. Jim Ingram; TG, Sgt. Reginal (Pops) Lansdowne;

Plane 2
- P, 2nd Lt. David Gunn
; CP, 2nd Lt. Walter Buswell; E, Sgt Chris Strain; R, Sgt Kenneth Allison; TG, Sgt. Pat Welch; Observer, Capt Mike Murphy; Photographer. Capt. Robert Cohn. [see a photo of the crew]

USAAF SERNO: 44-33??? 

:  "Playmate 42" 
: (Pilot) Captain Gerard F. Wientjes, (Co-Pilot) Captain Willis L. Helmantoler

The narrative of these rescues was compiled and published in April 1946 from logbooks of pilots, notes, letters, and other
information by secretary Marina G. de Guzman in Pampanga, Philippines.

  * Aircraft produced at Canadian Vickers Ldt, Cartierville, Quebec, Canada
** Canadian Vickers contract number that was unique to each aircraft produced by at the Cartierville, Quebec plan


MARCH '45 - APRIL '45 - MAY '45 - JUNE '45 -
JULY '45  - AUGUST '45 - SEPTEMBER '45


2nd Emergency Rescue Squadron -  All Rights Reserved