MISSION REPORT - RESCUES - 01

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24 JULY 1945
The 13th Emergency Rescue Group Detachment at Palawan dispatched one Catalina and a B-17 carrying an airborne life boat to the vicinity of the survivors on the morning of 24 July. Both ships arrived at the rendezvous point at approximately 1000. "Jukebox" (B-17), piloted by Lieutenant Rogers sighted three dinghies, each containing one man. He dropped his boat near one of the survivors who immediately went aboard. Several ships were circling the other two dinghies, but apparently the man who reached the boat was unable to start the motors and was of no assistance in picking up the other survivors nearby. In the meantime, "Playmate Six Seven" spotted four other dinghies scattered over an area of 20 miles. The sea was so rough that Lieutenant Davis, pilot of the Catalina did not land. Both rescue planes remained in the vicinity until 1255, noting that another survivor has succeeded in reaching the "Flying Dutchman".

On the night of the 25th, Lieutenant Chavetz, pilot of "Playmate Six Seven", searched the area for three hours but was unable to find any trace of the boat or the remaining eight survivors. On the morning of 26 July 1945, Lieutenant McKeon, pilot of "Playmate Six Seven" returned to search the area and located one man in a dinghy at 1100'N, 11000'E and in spite of an extremely rough sea, landed and effected the rescue of Lieutenant Edward Gingerich, member of the 868th Bomb Squadron, one of the ten men, who bailed out on 23 July. After a long and hazardous run in ten foot swells with a gaping hole in the nose of the hull and his ship half full of water, Lieutenant McKeon finally succeeded in getting the heavily loaded ship off the water and returned safely to base with his survivor.

Day after day planes continue to search the area but thus far none of the remaining seven men have been reported rescued. The two who succeeded in reaching the lifeboat were later picked up by an American submarine. It is obvious that when a crew bails out over a wide area of the sea, they soon become scattered by wind and currents and with each succeeding day, their chances of rescue grows less and less.

RESCUED AIRMAN:  Member of the 868th Bomb Squadron - Lieutenant Edward Gingerich

AIRCRAFT: B-17H & OA-10A*  
USAAF SERNO: 44-33941
(CV-451)**    
CALLSIGN "Jukebox" & "Playmate 67"  
CREW:
(Pilot) 2nd Lt. Rogers, (Pilot) 2nd Lt. Donald F. McKeon, (Pilot) 2nd Lt. Albert Chavetz, (Co-Pilot) 2nd Lt. Lavern M. Mellstrom, (N) 2nd Lt. James E. Beavers, (Flight Surgeon) Capt. Nicholas E. Bailey, (Engineer) S/Sgt Frank J. Cope, (Radio) Sergeant Holley, (Radar) S/Sgt Ronald C. Gibson


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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
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