Air Force Memorabilia

Sarsfield, William J

Rank: 1st Lieutenant
Serial Number: O-791243
Military Branch: 65th Bomber Squadrom, 43rd Bomber Group
Origin: Pennsylvania
Date of Death: 1943-6-26
Manila American Cemetery
Featured: No

This is a fantastic well documented group to 1st Lieutenant William J. Sarsfield, Jr. who was KIA in the Pacific early in WW2. His group includes his officially engraved posthumous slot brooch Purple Heart, officially engraved slot brooch Silver Star, and slot brooch Distinguished Flying Cross. The paperwork lists all the plane's crew and includes a poor quality Missing Air Crew Report, a lot of official paperwork written by the only survivor of the shootdown, Second Lieutenant Jose L. Holguin, the plane's navigator. Holguin was the only one to parachute from the strickened plane. He was badly wounded and after a few weeks, he was captured. Holguin recorded his statements after he was released from a Japanese prison camp in 1945. Also included is a copy of Holguin's 19 page written (in 1948) testimony about his brutal treatment as a prisoner of war, which was used as war crimes testimony.

Sarsfield's Siver Star Citation as seen in the Fifth Air Force GO No. 107, dated May 31, 1943, is as follows: "For gallantry in action over Hansa Bay, New Guinea, on April 14, 1943".

Vunakanau air base was the target of the mission that the 65th Bomb Squadron went on when Sarsfield's plane was shot down. 1st Lt. Sarsfield was the pilot of B17E "Naughty But Nice" Serial Number 41-2430. The fateful flight of June 26, 1943 started at 7-Mile Drome near Port Moresby, Australia, then refueled and Dobodura, taking off again at 1:45 AM for Vunakanau air base near Raboul. After dropping their bombs, the B-17 was fired on by intense anti-aircraft fire, but not hit. They loitered in the target area for another 30 minutes, and were about to return to base. From below, a J1N1 Irving piloted by Shigetoshi Kudo, made 3 firing passes at the bomber with its upward firing cannons. The second firing pass killed Sarsfield. The third set fire to the left wing and disabled the plane. Also lost that same night was B-17F "Taxpayer Pride" 41-24448. Prior to this, Sarsfield had been the co-pilot of B-17E "Gypsy Rose" S/N 41-9193 that was ditched on the return from a mission against Raboul on May 24, 1943. All the crew survived that mission. Most of this information was obtained from

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