Lowery Mission to Lae - May 25, 1942

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Posted by Edward Rogers on May 21, 2003 at 20:18:34:

I am trying to verify the identity of a 3rd BG B-25 crewman who was supposedly a friend and classmate of Walt Krell's. The source of the information is Martin Caidin's book "The Ragged Rugged Warriors." Mr. Caidin also wrote the book "The Mission" about LBJ's flight on a 22nd Marauder for which he was awarded a Silver Star. I needn't relate the story of the accuracy of this book now. It is obvious that Mr. Caidin liked to exaggerate and sensationalize his stories and the accuracy of what he wrote is difficult to determine though it is obvious that he interviewed many veterans.
Captain Herman Lowery of the 3rd BG led a flight of six B-25Cs against the Japanese Airdrome of Lae on May 25 (some say the 24th) 1942. The Japanese early warning system permitted an interception of the unescorted bombers and five of the six planes were shot down by Sakai, Nishizawa etc. Caidin mentions a "Don Mitchell" as the sole survivor of the crews of the five shot down Mitchells. [There were actually four survivors - Lt Irvine Shearer and three members of his crew - none of whom were named Don Mitchell].
The circumstances of "Don Mitchell's" escape and return to Moresby as written by Caidin (supposedly quoting Krell)is similar to the story of Sgt Louis Murphy who was the sole survivor among the crew of Lt Henry Keel's B-25 which was lost on May 23 over Lae. The only Don Mitchell that I have found served with the photo section of the 22nd.
I would appreciate it if anyone could help me figure this out. Was there actually a Don Mitchell on the May 25 mission or is this name another invention of Mr. Caidins.


Edward Rogers

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