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Balovich and Hunter Crew Rescue by a PBY on December 12, 1944

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Balovich and Hunter Crew Rescue by a PBY on December 12, 1944 - Part 5:

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A PBY takes off from Morotai. Surely as ungainly looking as any aircraft ever built…but, given the proper circumstances, it could become the most beautiful and the most appreciated.

The newspaper article below, from the January 12, 1945, issue of the Alabama Journal, Montgomery, Alabama, tells the story of the rescue (probably on December 12, 1944) of ten 5th and 13th AAF airman from the Philippines including several from the 307th. The fliers were rescued by a PBY Catalina flying boat after a 424th squadron plane saw their mirror flashes and radio operator Dick Roth called for help. Among the rescued were members of the 424th Balovich and Hunter crews, shot down over Alicante on Negros Island on November 6th and November 8th, 1944. Enemy interception was always particularly fierce over Alicante, more so than over the many other Negros Island targets. Does the story about German flight instructors as told by survivor Richard Beard to War Correspondence Fred Hampson explain this energetic defense of Alicante? The Philippine guerillas who escorted the downed fliers to the rendezvous point from which they were rescued seemed to believe the story. Was it just a rumor, fervently believed by the local Philippine population? Did the Japs really need such training from anyone anyhow? Whatever - we do know that Alicante cost the 307th four B-24s shot down and many others damaged during a total of only four missions to that target. All things considered, it's not too difficult to accept the German instructor pilot story.


 

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