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Original U.S. WWII 90th Bomb Group Jolly Rodgers KIA B-24 Liberator Navigator Grouping - Distinguished Flying Cross

Regular price $1,295.00

Item Description

Original Item: One-of-a-kind set. Lieutenant Regis E. Dietz was a navigator aboard a B-24 Liberator B-24D-115-CO Shack Rat Serial Number 42-40918 in the 5th Air Force, 90th Bombardment Group, 320th Bombardment Squadron “Jolly Rodgers” during WWII. Lt. Regis and his entire crew went missing in action on October 27th, 1943.

Shack Rat took off about 7:30 a.m. with a crew of 12 from an airfield outside Port Moresby, New Guinea, called 5-Mile Drome.

The crew included four gunners and Tyler, who was listed as the photographer.

The mission was designed to observe enemy shipping in the Bismarck Sea in preparation for an Allied attack on the big Japanese base at Rabaul, New Britain, northeast of Australia, according to the Defense Department's POW/missing personnel office.

Seven hours into the mission - perhaps on its way home - the plane was north of the Owen Stanley Mountains in the southeast part of New Guinea. It had been directed to land at an airstrip near Dobodura, north of the mountains because of bad weather back at Port Moresby.

Last contact with the plane was at 2:30 p.m. and did not include the aircraft's position, according to the Pentagon and PacificWrecks.

Shack Rat vanished from Allied radar in bad weather in the rugged Sarawaget Mountains, about 200 miles northwest of Dobodura, Papua New Guinea.

Over the next days and weeks, multiple air searches were conducted, but the aircraft was not located, the Defense Department said.

After the war, more searches were conducted in the area for [Dietz] and scores of other missing airmen, and in 1949 the aviators were declared unrecoverable.

In August 2003, a team from the Pentagon's missing-in-action office working in New Guinea heard about a crash site from a resident there.

The resident also turned over part of an identification card belonging to one of the crewmen and reported that there were possible human remains at the site.

This is the crew of Shack Rat:

Pilot 1st Lt Jack E. Volz, O-735707 (MIA / KIA) IN
Co-Pilot 2nd Lt Martin P. Murray, O-797914 (MIA / KIA) Lowell, MA
Navigator 2nd Lt Regis E. Dietz, O-798766 (MIA / KIA) PA
Bombardier 2nd Lt William J. Shryock, O-739001 (MIA / KIA) IN
Observer 2nd Lt Edward J. Lake, O-669326 (MIA / KIA) NY
Engineer T/Sgt Hollis R. Smith, 18136424 (MIA / KIA) AR
Radio T/Sgt Robert S. Wren, 9114505 (MIA / KIA) WA
Gunner S/Sgt Frederick E. Harris, 31133505 (MIA / KIA) MA
Gunner S/Sgt Berthold A. Chastain, 34266040 (MIA / KIA) GA
Gunner S/Sgt Clyde L. Green, 33296638 (MIA / KIA) PA
Tail Gunner S/Sgt Claude A. Ray, 18085253 (MIA / KIA) KS
Photographer S/Sgt Claude G. Tyler, 33200253 (MIA / KIA) MD
MIA October 27, 1943
MACR 963

Aircraft History
Built by Consolidated at San Diego. Constructors Number 1995. Ferried overseas via Hawaii to Australia.

Wartime History
Assigned to the 5th Air Force, 90th Bombardment Group, 320th Bombardment Squadron. Nicknamed "Shack Rat". When lost, engines R-1830-43 serial numbers 42-87514, 42-37673, 42-87690 and 42-86832.

Mission History
On October 27, 1943 took off from 5-Mile Drome near Port Moresby on a reconnaissance mission. Seven hours into the mission were directed to return to. Last contact was at 2:30pm when ordered to land at Dobudura due to bad weather at Port Moresby. Fighter Sector Command was tracking an aircraft in the Huon Bay area when it disappeared off the scope. In fact, this B-24 crashed in the Sarawaget Mountain Range in Morobe Province in bad weather.

After being declared missing, two B-24s searched the north coast of New Guinea from Tami Island to Cape Nelson. Others searched New Britain to the Huon Gulf, without results.

A local found a dog tag from one of the crew members and part of a wallet with a portion of Volz's ID card still inside and legible. These personal effects were presented to U. S. Army CILHI during their visit to PNG around 2002.

Recovery of Remains
During March 2005, JPAC conducted an IE at the crash site. A full three month recovery mission was conducted during January-March 2007 recovering remains and personal effects. Later, the entire crew was identified using mDNA and their identification was officially announced on March 3, 2010.

The entire crew was officially declared dead October 28, 1944. All are memorialized on the tablets of the missing at Manila American Cemetery.

A memorial service was conducted at Arlington National Cemetery in May 2011. There was one burial site for the remains and personal effects of those who could not be identified with a tombstone, bearing the names of all the airmen.

Missing Air Crew Report 963 (MACR 963)
Legacy of the 90th Bomb Group, page 70
PNG Museum Aircraft Status Card - B-24D Liberator 42-40918
Fallbrook Village "Soldier's Remains found after MIA 67 years" October 21, 2010

Los Angeles Times " WWII airmen laid to rest 67 years later" October 27, 2010

Washington Post "WWII aviator's long journey" to home" October 27, 2010

DPMO Recently Accounted For - Volz Crew March 3, 2010

Included in the comprehensive personal set of Lt. Dietz are the following items:
- Named Purple Heart In Case
- Named Air Medal in Case
- Un-named Purple Heart Medal
- Un-named Air Medal
- Distinguished Flying Cross
- Sterling Silver Navigator Wings
- Private purchase fighting knife with 5th Air Force insignia in grip. Sheath named REGIS DEITZ.
- Dog Tags of Regis Deitz with Patron Saint of Flyers medallion
- 90th Bomb Group Jolly Rodgers Wooden Nickel
- 2 x Original 5th Air Force embroidered Patch
- Jolly Rodgers embroidered Patch (appears to be a reproduction)
- Original WWII US Army Air Corps "Jolly Rogers" 90th Bomb Group Yearbook
- Original December 10th, 1943 letter notifying Rietz’s wife Jean that her husband is missing in action. The letter is signed by Adjunct General of the Army James Alexander Ulio.
- Original January 17th, 1944 letter signed by Senator Joseph F. Guffey explaining that he has no further information regarding the status of her husband.

A truly remarkable set from a lost then found air serviceman and hero that fought and died as a member of one of the most prestigious bomb groups of WWII; the Jolly Rodgers.

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