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S/Sgt. Maynard M. Reese Biography-3

S/Sgt. Maynard M. Reese Biography-4

Last Mission of Reese's B-25 "Little Stinky

Dec 22,1943

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On December 22, 1943, the 501st Squadron – including Reese’s “Little Stinky” - took off near Port Moresby piloted by 1st Lt. Edward E. Bailey on a strike against a Japanese airfield. During the raid, a Japanese fighter shot up the cockpit and severely damaged one of the B-25’s engines. Separated from the rest of the Squadron, Pilot Bailey flow on alone until the engine caught fire. Bailey ordered the crew to bail out over Japanese territory; however, his parachute cord got tangled and he was unable to bail. Bailey miraculously crashed landed “Little Stinky” near a river, and walked thru the jungle for 10 days before being rescued by an Australian patrol.

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Maynard and his three fellow crew members who bailed out were never found. Possibly, they bailed out too low, their parachutes failed to open, or they died attempting to reach safety. All four remained listed as Missing In Action (MIA) until officially declared dead on January 24 1946.

Pilot Edward Bailey's Incredible Survival Story

 Edward Bailey survived the war, and his detailed account of the last mission of “Little Stinky” was documented in books such as “Warpath Across The Pacific” by Lawrence Hickey.

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Book no.1

Pvt. Paul R. Thomer Biography-1

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Paul Thomer's Watch Returned to His Family - Sept 2023

On Sept 9, 2023, Pvt. Thomer’s watch was returned to his daughter Deborah and her four siblings, exactly 80 years after Paul purchased it. They will treasure it as a tangible memory of their courageous Dad. Semper Fi.

Pvt. Paul Thomer -- 1942 Guadalcanal Marine & His Watch

Private Paul R. Thomer (1923–1992) fought at Guadalcanal as a member of the famed 1st Marine Division. Paul was from Pittsburgh PA, and enlisted in the Marines in January 1942.

The 1st Marine Division sailed from San Francisco in June, and landed on the island of Guadalcanal on Aug 7, 1942. This was the first major US amphibious landing of World War II. The invasion ignited a ferocious struggle with Japanese forces, marked by seven major naval battles, numerous clashes ashore, and almost continuous air combat through December 1942.

The fighting at Guadalcanal took a terrible toll; the 1st Division suffered 650 killed in action and 1,278 wounded, with a further 8,580 contracting malaria and other diseases. As one Marine recalled, ”the Division suffered 100% casualties, with the dead, wounded, and those sick from malaria, dengue fever, jungle rot, malnutrition and combat fatigue… “.

Battle-weary and in poor health following the Guadalcanal campaign, the men of the First Marine Division were shipped to Melbourne Australia for nine months recuperation in January 1943. “They were greeted with warm hospitality; these 15,000 young American men found a home away from home”.

On Feb 10, 1943, Paul Thome  purchased a steel-cased wristwatch from a local Melbourne jewelry store, and had it engraved “Paul R. Thomer ~ U.S.M.C. ~ 343824 ~ Australia ~ 2-10-43”.

The 1st Division returned to  combat in the South Pacific in October 1943, leading the December offensive at Cape Gloucester, New Britain. “The action they found there has been described as the toughest man has ever endured.” In July 1944, the 1st Division returned to the US for stateside duty. Paul was honorably discharged in 1945.

In 1954, Paul married Frances Mary LaRoche in Pittsburgh; in 1962, they moved to California. Paul and Frances had five children – two sons and three daughters.  Paul died on February 16, 1992, and is buried with Frances in the San Fernando Mission Cemetery in Mission Hills, CA.

Book no.1
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