On 10 December 1943, at about 1230 hours, a B-25D, # 41-30362, assigned to the ICWATC, Headquarters East Search Squadron, departed Chabua, Assam, India, to search the Chabua, India, area for a missing aircraft. The aircraft was downed in a mountainous region by fire from 15 to 16 enemy fighter aircraft. All crewman were killed except 2ndLt Spain. The crew was comprised of:
Pilot Capt. John L. Porter 0-420397
Co-Pilot 2ndLt James F. Spain 0-1698906
Radio Operator SSgt Walter R. Oswalt 35265154
Engineer Sgt Harold Neibler 15320642
Gunner SSgt Harry D Tucker 17014288
Passenger Maj. Ralph L. Dewsnup 0-346962
The last person to have radio contact was: SSgt Clifford T. Kindall, 15072688.
The next-of-kin listed were:
Maj. Ralph L. Dewsnup Mrs. Ruth B. Dewsnup, wife
430 G St., Salt Lake City, UT
Capt. John L. Porter Mrs. Jane S. Porter, wife
Washington St., Tiffin, OH
2ndLt James F. Spain Mrs. Virginia Spain, wife
1214 Platt St., Tampa, FL
SSgt Walter R. Oswalt Mrs. Vernie Oswalt, mother
So. Main St., Asonia, OH
Sgt. Harold W. Neibler Mrs. Margaret E. Neibler, mother
789 So. Wayne, Columbus OH
SSgt. Harry D. Tucker Mr. Andrew E. Tucker, father
Statement by 2ndLt James F. Spain, dated 31 January 1944: On the way back after the main attack by the Zeros was over, our right engine caught on fire from overheating. We feathered the prop and as we did that the Zero that was trailing us pulled up from 7 o’clock and shot out our left engine, setting the ship afire. No one but myself had their parachutes fastened on them. Capt. Porter immediately gave the order to bail out. While trying to go out the top hatch my clothes got hung and were freed by Capt. Porter pushing me out. When I left the ship it was entirely in flames. I pulled my ripcord and heard a loud explosion. About 2 seconds later, after coming below the clouds, I saw the plane burning about 5 miles away. No other parachutes were seen at any time.
About 10 miles south of Daha River and northeast of Assam, near the Hpungan Pass. Maj. Dewsnup was in the extreme rear of the plane, Capt. Porter was near the pilot’s seat, and the rest of the crew did not have parachutes on and had no time to use them. Oswalt was in the radio operator seat. Tucker was in the top turret. Neibler was on the nose gun. The co-pilot, 2ndLt James F. Spain, walked out of the jungle and returned to duty 6 January 1944.