Aerial approach to Torokina representative of Lt. Marshall's returning view
Some interval after Morrell's division had returned, there was growing concern over the whereabouts of Faulkner's division as its return was overdue. Eventually, a single Corsair became visible over Empress Augusta Bay. Aware that his plane was damaged but not to what extent, Marshall cautiously circled the strip, allowing the air space above Torokina to clear of other aircraft before finally making his approach to land. His aircraft had been airborne for almost 4 hours since take off earlier that day.
Jack McGowan recalls,
"I saw him come in -- he allowed all the others to land ahead of him and he brought it in while pumping the hydraulic pump [to keep hydraulic pressure in the landing gear] during his approach. He landed and taxied up to the revetment. From the holes in the fuselage, I could see through it."
Doc Marker, who had recently arrived via SCAT after securing operations in the Russells, adds, "I don't recall how long I had been on the flight line when he taxied in, but I do remember seeing the plane was damaged and that blood was sprayed over the canopy. I think I jumped onto the wing and helped him out of the cockpit, but I'm not sure. I am sure that I was right there when we got him down on the ground and that I got that sick feeling in my stomach as I realized this was what war was all about. Until then it had all been a big game."
Benjamin Hargrave, Executive Officer, had also just arrived and recalls,
"All the planes flying around the strip had landed when a lone Corsair with the tail wheel extended. I didn't know who was in it but that it was one of our planes. The pilot landed successfully and taxied to the ready hut. The plane had a lot of bullet holes in it. When the pilot stood up in the cockpit to leave the plane I saw it was Marshall. His face and helmet were streaked with blood. The plane captain helped him down and I talked to him for a few minutes about what had happened. He did not know what had happened to Faulkner and Kemper, but that several zeros were firing at him and he dove down to the water and headed for Torokina. I told him he needed medical attention and got a squadron member to drive him in a jeep to see our squadron doctor. In looking over his plane, I could see where a 7.7 mm bullet had hit the opening between the rear seat armor plate and a small piece of armor fitted to the back of the cockpit canopy. These were the bullets that created the shrapnel that hit his head. The wings had many holes in them as well as the rear fuselage and elevators. Fortunately, I don't think the oil coolers were damaged as the plane was not leaking oil. The plane was not reparable as it was, but was salvaged for parts."
It was reported that a PBY Catalina Dumbo was later dispatched to locate the missing pilots and their aircraft the next day. Lt. Marshall also searched the area for the next two days.
Note: According to Guy's flight log, he had flown this same plane, #25 (BU#17736) on a routine operational flight from Torokina to Russells on 14 December 1943.