Aircraft accidents

Kingfishers out of Hato Field, Curaçao (photo Mission4Today.com)
Kingfishers flying out of Hato Field, Curaçao. The island is visible in the background (photo Mission4Today.com)

After the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on 7 December 1941, the United States enter WW2. Negotiations start quickly with the Netherlands and British governments to replace the British military presence on Curaçao and Aruba, there since May 1940, with US troops. An agreement is reached within several weeks.
First to arrive on the islands in January 1942 are American military aircraft, bombers and fighters, to guard the islands against a possible attack from German surface raiders or submarines. They stayed on Hato Field (Curaçao) and Dakota Field (Aruba) for the duration of the Second World War.
During the war years a number of American airmen and their aircraft were lost to accidents on and around the islands. Their names and fate are given below.

The following information is given:
Date
Aircraft details and squadron
Accident details
LAST NAME, first name(s)
Rank and position

Place and date of birth
Place and date of death

Last resting place


23 February 1943

Douglas A-20A Havoc light bomber (s/n 40-095), USAAF 59th Bombardment Squadron

Aircraft takes off at 08.48 hrs from Hato Airfield (Curaçao), possibly to assist in the search for a missing Douglas B-18B Bolo aircraft from their squadron. Immediately after take off the aircraft is seen to ditch into the sea, just north of the airfield.

HEIST, Henry W.

Staff Sergeant, United States Army Airforce (Bombardier)
Unknown, Jefferson county (Kentucky, USA), 6 April 1921
Caribbean Sea, 23 February 1943
Lost at sea, seamans grave.

LIPPINCOTT, Robert Stapler

Captain, United States Army Airforce (Aircraft Commander)
Unknown (Pennsylvania, USA), appr. 1916
Caribbean Sea, 23 February 1943
Lost at sea, seamans grave.

O’NEIL, Harold

Corporal, United States Army Airforce (Gunner)
Unknown (Massachusetts, USA), appr. 1918
Caribbean Sea, 23 February 1943
Lost at sea, seamans grave.


18 July 1943

Bell P-39N Airacobra fighter (s/n 42-18871), USAAF 32nd Fighter Squadron

The aircraft is doing a close combat exercise with another P-39, in the vicinity of Dakota airfield (Aruba), when it crashes into Paardenbaai, in shallow water.

LITTLE, Delphis Joseph

2nd Lieutenant, United States Army Airforce (Pilot)
Providence (Rhode Island, USA), 14 November 1918
Caribbean Sea, 18 July 1943
Buried U.S. Military Cemetery Savaneta (Aruba). In February 1947 transferred to Saint Peters Cemetery, Sandwich, Barnstable county (Massachusetts, USA).


21 July 1943

Bell P-39D Airacobra fighter (s/n 41-6862), USAAF 32nd Fighter Squadron

During take off from Hato Airfield (Curaçao), the engine of the P-39 fails. The aircraft crashes within the airfield perimeter.

CARBONELL, Henri Joseph Sauveur

1st Lieutenant, United States Army Airforce (Pilot)
Pyrénées Orientales (France), 11 December 1921. Emigrated to the USA in 1924.
Hato Airfield (Curaçao), 21 July 1943
Buried U.S. Military Cemetery (Curaçao). In February 1947 transferred to Golden Gate National Cemetery, San Bruno, San Mateo county (California, USA).


21 December 1943

Bell P-39 Airacobra fighter (s/n 42-18865), USAAF 32nd Fighter Squadron

Four P-39 fighters take off from Dakota airfield (Aruba) to intercept an approaching U.S. Douglas C-47 Dakota transport aircraft, as part of an exercise. 5 miles West of Aruba the intercept is conducted, but while manoeuvring the P-39 crashes into the sea.

BORAM, Ellsworth

1st Lieutenant, United States Army Airforce (Pilot)
Colombiana (Ohio, USA), 6 March 1915
Caribbean Sea, 21 December 1943
Lost at sea, seamans grave.


22 December 1943

Lockheed PV-1 Ventura patrol bomber (s/n 34590), USN Bombardment Squadron VB-141

The aircraft takes off for a night anti-submarine patrol from Hato Airfield (Curaçao), but immediately after take off unknown problems develop. The aircraft is seen to crash into the sea, just north of the airfield.

BOWERS, Leonard

Lieutenant Junior Grade, United States Navy Reserve (Copilot and/or Bombardier)
Mount Carmel (Pennsylvania, USA), appr. 1919
Caribbean Sea, 22 December 1943
Lost at sea, seamans grave.

CAROTA, Louis Jr.

Aviation Radio Man 3rd Class, United States Navy Reserve (Radio Operator)
Passaic (New Jersey, USA), 3 June 1917
Caribbean Sea, 22 December 1943
Lost at sea, seamans grave.

EVANS, John Marcus

evansjohnmAviation Machinists Mate 2nd Class, United States Navy Reserve (Flight Engineer)
Saginaw (Michigan, USA), 20 March 1920
Caribbean Sea, 22 December 1943
Lost at sea, seamans grave.

LOMAS, William Warren

Lieutenant Junior Grade, United States Navy Reserve (Aircraft Commander)
Fall River Ward, Bristol county (Massachusetts, USA), appr. 1919
Caribbean Sea, 22 December 1943
Lost at sea, seamans grave.

MERIGLIANO, Joseph Anthony

Aviation Ordnance Man 2nd Class, United States Navy Reserve (Gunner)
Larchmont (New York, USA), appr. 1922
Caribbean Sea, 22 December 1943
Lost at sea, seamans grave.

MORIONDO, Arthur Michael

Seaman 2nd Class, United States Navy Reserve (Radio Operator)
Unknown (New York, USA), 6 April 1923
Caribbean Sea, 22 December 1943
Lost at sea, seamans grave.


20 September 1944

Douglas SBD-5 Dauntless dive bomber (s/n 54351), USN Scouting Squadron VS-37

Aircraft takes off for a training flight from Hato Airfield (Curaçao). Shortly afterwards, a Netherlands observation post east of the airfield reports having seen an aircraft ditch in the sea, appr. 7 miles northeast of the airfield.

DOEBEREINER, Charles F.

Private, United States Army (Passenger)
Morgan (Ohio, USA), 5 April 1917
Caribbean Sea, 20 September 1944
Lost at sea, seamans grave.

GETZ, Harold

Ensign United States Navy (Pilot)
Unknown (Illinois, USA), unknown date of birth
Caribbean Sea, 20 September 1944
Lost at sea, seamans grave.