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» Missing Air Crew Project Forum » Pat's Missing Air Crew Project Blog » July 1944 Rescue of the Russell TBM Crew from Yap

   
Author Topic: July 1944 Rescue of the Russell TBM Crew from Yap
Patrick Ranfranz
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I've researched a lot of planes shot down over Yap. While a majority of the men were killed, a few lucky crews were shot down and rescued to tell their stories. One instance is a three man crew of a TBM Avenger that was shot down on the afternoon of July 26, 1944. After hundreds of planes from a carrier task force (58.1) attacked Yap, the TBM piloted by John Russell of Portsmouth, Ohio with crew members AMM2c. Warren. Niles. Bennett of Jackson, Michigan and PhoMlc. Howard Medford Webster Jr. from Grayslake, Illinois made two photographic passes at 1500 and 500 feet to take pictures of the damage. On the second pass a large AA shell hit the plane and it burst into flames. All three crew members jumped from the burning plane and landed in the water inside the Yap reef near the village of Umung and Ueloi on Tomil Island. The Japanese shore batteries began firing at them while they floated in a raft. Two OS2U Kingfisher float planes from the USS Mobile arrived and recused the three crew members while under fire from the Japanese. All three crew members were burned but survived. I was able to locate pictures of the three crew members, their rescue and their return to the carrier the USS Cabot. A very interesting tale of survival that will eventually become a chapter in my book. My Yapese friends will enjoy the partial account of the rescue I located in the VT-31 war diary that describes the island, the fish and the Yapase, http://www.missingaircrew.com/pdf/russell-rescue.pdf. The action report provides an overview of the mission and rescue, http://www.missingaircrew.com/pdf/26july1944.pdf. Additional pictures and information can be viewed at: http://www.missingaircrew.com/yap/mac/27july1944.asp

Respectfully,

-Pat

Posts: 706 | From: Cameron, Wisconsin | Registered: Dec 2004  |  Logged: 173.248.29.95
   

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