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Rice Crew —Shot down on 5 July 1944 near Yap
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Excerpt about the Rice Crew shoot down from "The Long Rangers" by Sam Britt: In an attempt to catch the Japanese interceptors on the ground, the Group attacked Yap Airdrome in two waves on July 5th. This required a night take off for the 424th and the 371st who made up the first wave. Only eight of the twelve planes reached the rendezvous at Sorol Island. The 371st leader was among the ones that did not make it, and Lt. Edward J. Rice assumed the lead. The hoped for surprise was not achieved and twenty-eight fighters attacked the eight planes. Only two fighters rose to attack the second wave. On the first pass, every crew member in the second wave fired and someone got one of the fighters. The remaining Zeke dropped two phosphorous bombs with no results. Lt. William Rouzie (372nd) did not make it to the target because of the loss of the static instruments shortly after takeoff. Lt. Edward J. Rice's (371st) plane received heavy damage. He instructed the other pilots to reduce air speed and keep together. He maintained the formation until the interceptors departed. He then announced, over the radio, in a bored and disgusted tone "I'm going to ditch the son of a bitch." He had waited too long because the plane was falling out of control. The plane slid steeply on the left wing and burned fiercely, hit the water and exploded. Five men were seen to bail out and later all five were observed swimming in the water. There were three rafts in the water, but the nearest one to a survivor was three hundred yards. A plane from the 371st and one from the 424th circled for twenty-five minutes but all searches proved negative.
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