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On 11 March 1942, 1st Lt. Harl Pease piloted B-17 Flying Fortress #41-2452, from Batchelor air field to Del Monte. The aircraft as loaded with emergency supplies of the US Army Forces in the Philippine Islands. After he took off from Batchelor air field, a failure of the hydraulic system rendered the supercharger and wheel brakes inoperative, which meant a low altitude flight of 1,500 miles and a landing without brakes. The aircraft had to be ground looped to stop it in time.  This did not impress MacArthur, and he was even less impressed when he saw the young pilot of the B-17, 1st Lt. Harl Pease, slide out of the forward hatch of the aircraft. MacArthur was reported to have muttered "He's only a boy". (The citation for Pease's medal gives the date as the 11 March 1942 for the flight from Batchelor to the Philippines. MacArthur had not arrived there until 13 March, so perhaps the story about MacArthur's statement regarding Pease is untrue.)

1st Lt. Harl Pease unloaded the emergency supplies, had his aircrafts serviced and took off at night with 16 Air Corps passengers. Pease had to perform another ground loop when the aircraft landed back in Australia. 


Flying Fortress #41-2452

1st Lt. Harl Pease, Jr. 0-395206 Pilot
1st Lt. Carey L. O'Bryan, Jr. 0-22936 Co-Pilot
2nd Lt. Lawrence E. Gardner 0-433215 Navigator
S/Sgt. John F. Clark 6833655 Engineer
Pvt. Lloyd D. Whipp 19050662 Radio Operator
Sgt.  Douglas H. Logan 6297790 Gunner
Pvt. John J. Wilfley 17015875 Gunner


B-17 #41-2452 went missing on an operational flight in the vicinity of Malapla Island on 9 August 1942. A signal was received that the aircraft was landing on an island beach. The crew were as follows:-

Capt. H.J.M. Hawthorn
2nd Lt. P.J. Scarboro
2nd Lt. F.J. Haase
2nd Lt. N.E. Bryant
Cpl. Walter Buchanan
Cpl. Paul Harmon
Cp. R.M.M. Andrad
PCE Arnold Osborn
S/Sgt Selm



General Orders No. 37, Melbourne, Vic, April 5, 1942
Announcement of Awards of Distinguished Flying Cross

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This page first produced 16 April 2006

This page last updated 04 June 2006