About VFW Post 2280

Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) Post 2280 is known as the Ray Arendell Post. , named after Cpl. Raymond Arendell, U.S. Army. Cpl Ray Arendell was from Sarpy County Nebraska and served with the United States Army during World War II. Cpl Arendell was a flight engineer assigned to the 22nd Bomb Group under the command of Col. Richard Robinson and assigned to the 33rd Bomb Squadron. He was assigned duties aboard a B-29 Marauder, number 40-1467, piloted by 1st Lt. Spears R. Lanford.

Aircraft History
Shipped disassembled from the United States to Melbourne. On arrival it was reassembled by Commonwealth Aircraft Corporation (CAC). Assigned to the 22nd Bombardment Group on May 5, 1942 and flown to Queensland. Operating from 7-Mile Drome near Port Moresby, this bomber flew three combat missions, the first on May 21.

Mission History
This mission was originally planned for May 27th, but was delayed due to Japanese air raid against Port Moresby and bad weather.
Took off from 7-Mile Drome, one of five B-26s attacking Lae Airfield. Over the target, the bombers observed Zeros taking off from the airfield below. Over the airfield, they were met with accurate anti-aircraft fire. Intercepted by at least six A6M2 Zeros of the Tanain Kōkūtai.

Attacked, this aircraft was hit and observed to have its left engine on fire following which it ditched or crashed into the sea roughly two miles off Lae in Huon Gulf. Credit for the shoot down was given to PO1 Saburo Sakai and Lt(jg) Jun-ichi Sasai.

RAAF P/O Graham Robertson flying co-pilot with Lt. Burnside witnessed the demise of this B-26:

“Over to the right, one B-26 had three Zeros on him and, at last, his engine caught fire and he turned away towards the land, with the whole of the body alight. The Zeros did not give him any rest but kept on him. … The last we saw of [Lanford] was on the water, where he made a good landing, and we were able to distinguish, through glasses [binoculars], that some had got out onto the wing. They were a half-mile from land. We turned on the radio and wished them luck.”

There is no evidence that any of the survivors were captured by the Japanese. All crew members remain MIA. All were declared dead on the day of the crash. Memorialized on the tablets of the missing at Manila American Cemetery.