Topics - F4U Corsair Crashes
During the Korean War Time Frame
(July 25, 1950-January 31, 1955)

 
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Introduction

The Corsair is an inverted gull wing fighter aircraft with a single tail and engine.  During the Korean War there were 26 US Navy Squadrons and six USMC squadrons of Corsairs.  Designed for aircraft carriers, during the Korean War the Corsair provided ground attack and Close Air Support (CAS).  For more expanded knowledge of the use of this aircraft during the Korean War, the KWE suggests that our viewers read F4U Corsair Units of the Korean War by Warren Thompson.  To add more information or photographs to this page of the KWE, contact Lynnita.

Most recent update to this page - August 26, 2022

[This page was made possible by a grant from the Illinois Humanities Council.]


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F4 Crashes - 1950

September 19, 1950

Lieutenant Junior Grade Franklin Smith Jr. (born March 30, 1924/from South Carolina) was the pilot of a F4U-4 Corsair fighter with Fighter Squadron 63, Carrier Air Group Two aboard the aircraft carrier, USS Boxer (CV-21). On September 19, 1950, after completing a raid over Korea, as his aircraft landed, it struck the barrier and went overboard inverted. His remains were not recovered.

September 25, 1950

Ensign William Edmund Brown (Luzerne County, Pennsylvania) was the pilot of a F4U-4B Corsair fighter with Fighter Squadron 53, aboard the carrier USS Valley Forge (CV-45). On September 25, 1950, while on a combat mission near Sariwon, North Korea, his aircraft crash landed possibly due to enemy anti-aircraft fire. His remains were not recovered.

October 26, 1950

F4U Corsair WE18 was hit by ground fire during the Chosin Reservoir campaign and crash-landed in North Korea.  U.S. Marines rescued the pilot, Lt. Joe Bibby, and then threw hand grenades into the fuselage and cockpit to destroy what the crash didn't.

August 31, 1950

Capt. James A. English (born in Lawrence, Massachusetts) died on August 31, 1950.   He was leading his flight of four F4Us in close air support of friendly forces near Pohang-dong, South Korea when his aircraft received a direct hit by anti-aircraft fire and crashed. He gallantly gave his life for his country. Captain English was a veteran of World War II. In Korea he was the pilot of a F4U-4B Corsair fighter with Marine Fighter Squadron 214, Marine Air Group 33, 1st Marine Air Wing. For his leadership and valor, Captain English was awarded the Silver Star, the Distinguished Flying Cross with 2 Gold Stars, the Air Medal with 12 Gold Stars, Purple Heart, the Combat Action Ribbon, the Korean Service Medal, the United Nations Service Medal, the National Defense Service Medal, the Korean Presidential Unit Citation, the Republic of Korea War Service Medal and the World War II Victory Medal.

December 4, 1950

On December 4, 1950 an F4U took off from the USS Leyte CV-32, piloted by Ensign Jesse LeRoy Brown on a ground attack mission over Kot'o-ri near the Chosin Reservoir. Brown was flight leader with wingman F4U Corsair 82050 piloted by Lt(jg) Thomas J. Hudner, Jr. While flying in formation over the target, Brown was presumably hit by ground fire or small arms fire and reported losing oil pressure and selected a snow covered flat open area to the west of the Chosin Reservoir to make a force landing. During the force landing, Brown sustained injuries and the lower half of his body was trapped inside the cockpit preventing him from extricating himself from the aircraft. While flying in formation over the target, this aircraft was presumably hit by ground fire or small arms fire. While flying in formation, Brown reported losing oil pressure and selected a snow covered flat open area to the west of the Chosin Reservoir to make a force landing. During the force landing, Brown sustained injuries and the lower half of his body was trapped inside the cockpit preventing him from extricating himself from the aircraft. Meanwhile, wingman F4U Corsair 82050 piloted by Lt(jg) Thomas J. Hudner, Jr. who witnessed his flight leader's crash landing and spontaneously decided to force land his aircraft beside Brown. Hudner waded through the snow, finding Brown trapped inside the cockpit and was unable to free him. Seeing smoke, Hudner used a fire extinguisher on the nose of his plane. Returning, Hudner spoke with Brown until he expired from his wounds and exposure.

Simultaneously, a helicopter was dispatched to the site to rescue both pilots. When the helicopter arrived, Hudner used the helicopter's rescue ax in a futile attempt to cut into the aircraft's skin to free Brown's body, but was unsuccessful. The helicopter departed with Hudner, leaving Brown's body at the crash site. Both crash landed Corsairs were reported at approximately Lat 40 36' N Long 127 6' E roughly ten miles north of Yudam-ni. On December 6, 1950 an F4U Corsair from VF-32 returned to the crash site and observed Brown's body still inside the cockpit of his aircraft. On December 7, 1950 F4U Corsairs from VF-32 returned to the site and dropped napalm onto both aircraft to destroy them. Brown was officially declared dead the day of the mission and is still listed as Missing In Action (MIA). Presumably, Brown's body was destroyed by the napalm bombs dropped on December 7, 1950. Possibly, Chinese soldiers reached the site prior to the napalm strike and recovered his body or personal effects. Brown is memorialized at National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific (Punchbowl) on the courts of the missing, court 8. Posthumously, he earned the Distinguished Flying Cross (DFC), Purple Heart and Republic of Korean War Service Medal. In 1972, Knox-class frigate USS Jesse L. Brown (FF-1089) was named in his honor. [Source: Pacificwrecks.com]


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F4 Crashes - 1951

January 20, 1951

March 11, 1951

Capt. Leon John Bernal Jr. (born St. Louis, Missouri) was the pilot of a F4U-4 Corsair fighter with the Marine Fighter Squadron 212, Marine Air Group 33, 1st Marine Air Wing. On March 11, 1951, while on a combat mission of attacking enemy vehicles, his aircraft received a direct hit by anti-aircraft fire, crashed and burst into flames. His remains were not recovered. His name is inscribed on the Courts of the Missing at the Honolulu Memorial.

March 11, 1951

When an F4U crashed on takeoff off the forward end of the flight deck of the USS Princeton CV-37, the plane plunged off the deck and into the sea.  A rescue helicopter brought the injured pilot to safety.

April 4, 1951

Lieutenant Colonel Donald Paul Frame was the pilot of a F4U-4 Corsair fighter and the Commanding Officer of Marine Fighter Squadron 312, Marine Air Group 12 aboard carrier USS Bataan (CVL-29). On April 4, 1951 while on a combat mission near Hwangju, North Korea, his aircraft was struck by anti-aircraft fire. He bailed out ten miles north of Sariwon, but apparently struck the plain's tail section. Upon recovery, he died enroute to Seoul.

April 5, 1951

Ens. Maurice Alfred Tuthill was living in Stuttgart, AR when he enlisted and was the pilot of a F4U-4 Corsair fighter with Fighter Squadron 113, aboard the carrier USS Philippine Sea (CV-47). On April 5, 1951, while on a combat mission over North Korea, his aircraft was struck by anti-aircraft fire and he died from the wounds received. Ensign Tuthill was awarded the Purple Heart, the Combat Action Ribbon, the Korean Service Medal, the United Nations Service Medal, the National Defense Service Medal, the Korean Presidential Unit Citation and the Republic of Korea War Service Medal.  He was a son of William Warren Tuthill (1896-1968) and Nellie Averil Shut Tuthill (1894-1984).  Ensign Tuthill was the brother of Warren Edward Tuthill (1922-2003).  Born October 20, 1928 in Stuttgart, Arkansas, Alfred is buried in Lone Tree Cemetery, Stuttgart.

April 24, 1951

Lieutenant Commander Glenn Frye Carmichael (Columbia, Missouri) was the pilot of a F4U-4 Corsair fighter and the commander of Fighter Squadron 144 (884) aboard the carrier USS Boxer (CV-21). On April 24, 1951, while leading a close air support mission, his aircraft was hit by an anti-aircraft shell fragment. He bailed out and struck the tail assembly. He died shortly after rescue from the injuries received.  Lieutenant Commander Carmichael was awarded the Purple Heart, the Combat Action Ribbon, the Korean Service Medal, the United Nations Service Medal, the National Defense Service Medal, the Korean Presidential Unit Citation and the Republic of Korea War Service Medal.

April 29, 1951

April 29, 1951

May 18, 1951

Lieutenant Charles Garrison (born March 10, 1920, Bates County, Missouri) was a veteran of World War II, serving in the European and Pacific Theaters. In Korea he was the pilot of a F4U-4 Corsair fighter with Fighter Squadron 114 (884) aboard the aircraft carrier USS Boxer (CV-21). On May 18, 1951, as he was working with a ground controller, his aircraft was hit by small arms fire. He tried to parachute but struck the tail assembly. He landed and was taken prisoner. He was presumed dead on May 24, 1954. His remains were not recovered

May 18, 1951

First Lieutenant Walter Jung (Milwaukee, Wisconsin) was a veteran of World War II. In Korea he was the pilot of a F4U-4B Corsair fighter with Marine Fighter Squadron 214, Marine Air Group 12, 1st Marine Air Wing. On May 18, 1951, while on a combat mission, his aircraft received a direct hit by anti-aircraft fire, crashed and burst into flames.  First Lieutenant Jung was awarded the Purple Heart, the Combat Action Ribbon, the Korean Service Medal, the United Nations Service Medal, the National Defense Service Medal, the American Campaign Medal, the World War II Victory Medal, the Korean Presidential Unit Citation and the Republic of Korea War Service Medal.

May 19, 1951

This F4U crashed after experiencing engine failure on takeoff from the aircraft carrier USS Boxer.

June 17, 1951

Captain Bigelow Watts Jr. was the pilot of a F4U-4B Corsair fighter with the Marine Fighter Squadron 323, aboard the carrier USS Sicily (CVE-118). On June 17, 1951, upon returning from a combat air patrol, his aircraft was waved off as he tried to land. The aircraft crashed into the Yellow Sea and sank immediately. His remains were not recovered.  The son of Bigelow Watts, Sr., and Helen Spader Watts, he is buried in Arlington National Cemetery.

June 20, 1951

Lieutenant Royce Carruth (Texas) was a pilot of a F4U-4 Corsair fighter with Fighter Squadron 821 aboard the USS Princeton (CV-37). On June 20, 1951, his aircraft was hit by anti-aircraft fire, crashed and exploded near Sinpyong, Korea. He was listed as Missing in Action and was presumed dead on May 21, 1954.

July 3, 1951

The F4U Corsair piloted by Capt. James V. Wilkins was hit by enemy fire during an armed reconnaissance mission about 35 miles southwest of Wonsan.  He parachuted from the burning plane and survived, although he was burned around his legs.  The rescue helicopter that responded to his call for help crashed in fog after being hit by enemy ground fire.  Wilkins, the helicopter pilot (John Kevin Koelsch) and crewman AM3 George M. Neal, survived the crash but were all taken prisoner.

July 13, 1951

Captain William Knox Garmany (born April 9, 1923 in Hamilton County, Tennessee) was a veteran of World War II. In Korea, he was the pilot of an F4U-5N Corsair night fighter with the Marine Night Fighter Squadron 513, Marine Air Group 12, 1st Marine Air Wing. On July 13, 1951, while flying a combat mission over the Sibyon-ni Area, South Korea, contact with his aircraft was lost and he was listed as Missing in Action. He was presumed dead on December 15, 1953.

July 25, 1950

July 27, 1951

Captain Jeremiah David Shanahan was the pilot of a F4U-4B Corsair fighter with Marine Fighter Squadron 214, Marine Air Group 12, 1st Marine Air Wing. On July 27, 1951, while on bombing mission over North Korea, his aircraft received a direct hit by anti-aircraft fire, crashed and burst into flames. He was listed as Missing in Action and was presumed dead on December 15, 1953. His remains were not recovered.

July 30, 1951

Capt. Harold Hintz (born July 06, 1924) was the pilot of a F4U-4B Corsair fighter with Marine Fighter Squadron 312, Marine Air Group 12, 1st Marine Air Wing. On July 30, 1951, while on a combat mission near Pyongyang, North Korea, his aircraft received a direct hit by anti-aircraft fire, struck a U.S. Naval aircraft and crashed. He was taken Prisoner of War and died in a prison camp on November 16, 1951. His remains were not recovered. Graduate of Miami University in Oxford, Ohio.

July 30, 1951

Lieutenant Colonel Harry William Reed (USMC) was the pilot of a F4U-4B Corsair fighter with the Marine Fighter Squadron 312, Marine Air Group 12, 1st Marine Air Wing. On July 30, 1951, while on a combat mission near Pyongyang, North Korea, another F4U-4B was hit by anti-aircraft fire, went out of control and struck his aircraft, causing it to crash. Lieutenant Colonel Reed was awarded the Purple Heart, the Combat Action Ribbon, the Korean Service Medal, the United Nations Service Medal, the National Defense Service Medal and the Korean War Service Medal.

August 4, 1951

Lieutenant Junior Grade Henry Brownell Rathbone (born September 13, 1925/from Providence, Rhode Island) was the pilot of a F4U-4 Corsair fighter with Fighter Squadron 114 (884) aboard the carrier USS Boxer (CV-21). On August 4, 1951, immediately after take-off, his aircraft's engine suffered power failure and the plane crashed. His remains were not recovered. Per Dwayne Friese was attached to VF 194 on paper but was with 884 USS Boxer.

August 11, 1951

Lt. James Joseph Venes was the pilot of a F4U-4 Corsair fighter with Fighter Squadron 874 aboard the aircraft carrier USS Bon Homme (CV-31). On August 11, 1951, while making a dive on a bridge target in North Korea from 5,000 feet, the aircraft exploded and disintegrated in mid-air. He was listed as Missing in Action and was presumed dead on August 2, 1954. His remains were not recovered. His name is inscribed on the Courts of the Missing at the Honolulu Memorial. For his leadership and valor, Lieutenant Venes was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross, the Purple Heart, the Korean Service Medal, the United Nations Service Medal, the National Defense Service Medal, the Korean Presidential Unit Citation and the Republic of Korea War Service Medal.

October 10, 1951

Capt. Cornelius Taylor Montgomery Jr., 33, was killed-in-action after his F4U-4 Corsair fighter was struck by anti-aircraft fire on October 10, 1951, near Mulgae-Ri, Korea, and crashed into a mountain. His remains were never recovered.

December 5, 1951

Sgt. Donald K. Bartoli was a crew member of a F4U-4B Corsair fighter with the Marine Fighter Squadron 312, Marine Air Group 12, 1st Marine Air Wing. On December 5, 1951, while he was in his parked aircraft, a crippled AD-4L Skyraider collided with his plane, killing him.

December 9, 1951

Born in Aliquippa, Pennsylvania, Lt. James Thomas Porterfield Jr. was a veteran of World War II. In Korea, he was the pilot of a F4U-4B Corsair fighter with Fighter Squadron 653 aboard carrier USS Valley Forge (CV-45). On December 9, 1951, while conducting refresher air operations in TARE Area, his aircraft collided with another F4U-4B and crashed into the water. His remains were not recovered. His name is inscribed on the Courts of the Missing at the Honolulu Memorial.

December 21, 1951

Captain Herbert David Smith (born November 20, 1916, from St. Petersburg, Florida) was a pilot of a F4U-4B Corsair fighter with the Marine Fighter Squadron 323, Marine Air Group 12, 1st Marine Air Wing. On December 21, 1951, while on a combat mission, his aircraft received a direct hit by anti-aircraft fire and he bailed out. He was listed as Missing in Action and was presumed dead on December 15, 1953. His remains were not recovered. His name is inscribed on the Courts of the Missing at the Honolulu Memorial. For his leadership and valor, Captain Smith was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross, the Air Medal, the Purple Heart, the Combat Action Ribbon, the Korean Service Medal, the United Nations Service Medal, the National Defense Service Medal, the Korean Presidential Unit Citation and the Republic of Korea War Service Medal.


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F4 Crashes - 1952

January 01, 1952

Major Robert Wesley Gilardi (Oklahoma County, Oklahoma) was the pilot of a F4U-4B Corsair fighter with the Marine Fighter Squadron 312, Marine Air Group 12, 1st Marine Air Wing. On January 1, 1952, while on a combat mission near Chorwon, Korea, his aircraft received a direct hit by anti-aircraft fire and caught fire. He bailed out and was taken Prisoner of War. He died while a prisoner on January 6, 1952. His remains were not recovered.

January 07, 1952

Cpt. Wallace Norman Wood (born in Greenville, Alabama) was a veteran of World War II. In Korea he was the pilot of a F4U-4B Corsair fighter with the Marine Fighter Squadron 323, Marine Air Group 12, 1st Marine Air Wing. On January 7, 1952, while on a combat mission near Sibyon-ni, South Korea, his aircraft received a direct hit by anti-aircraft fire, went into a tight spin and crashed. His remains were not recovered. His name is inscribed on the Courts of the Missing at the Honolulu Memorial.

February 21, 1952

Lt. jg Francis Gene Gregen was the pilot of a F4U-4B Corsair fighter with Fighter Squadron 53, aboard the aircraft carrier USS Essex (CV-9). On February 21, 1952, he was escorting a flak damaged aircraft to Sokcho-ri Airfield (K-50), North Korea through a snowstorm, when he became disoriented and his aircraft suddenly swerved and crashed into the sea. His remains were not recovered. His name is inscribed on the Courts of the Missing at the Honolulu Memorial.  Francis was born in Geneva, Nebraska.

February 24, 1952

Captain William Perry Brown (born December 18, 1925 in Goliad County, Texas) was a veteran of World War II. In Korea, he was the pilot of a F4U-4B Corsair fighter with Headquarters Squadron, 12th Marine Air Group. On February 24, 1952, while on a combat mission of strafing enemy positions, his aircraft received a direct hit by anti-aircraft fire and crashed into the target area. His remains were not recovered.

May 29, 1952

Lt. (JG) Channing Gardner, 25, USN, son of Mr. and Mrs. James E. Gardner, 1220 East First Street, was killed when his fighter plane crashed in Korean waters. Navy officials informed his parents that Lieutenant Gardner's plane crashed on take off from a Navy carrier. His body was not recovered. The officer had been assigned to the carrier USS Valley Forge since last December and had completed numerous missions attacking enemy rail and supply lines. His plane was once struck by enemy anti-aircraft fire, forcing him to ditch in the sea in sub zero weather. Lieutenant Gardner was a graduate of the U. S. Naval Academy at Annapolis, Maryland and took flight training at Pensacola, Florida. He was commissioned in June, 1949. He was the son of Mr. and Mrs. James E. Gardner.  He was the recipient of the Distinguished Flying Cross for action against the enemy on December 18, 1951.

August 14, 1952

Ensign Donald Edwin Adams (Milwaukee, Wisconsin) was the pilot of a F4U Corsair fighter with Fighter Squadron 74, aboard the aircraft carrier Bon Homme Richard (CVA-31). On August 14, 1952, while on a strike mission in North Korea, his aircraft made a dive from 8,000 feet toward the target but failed to pull out of the dive, crashed and exploded. His name is inscribed on the Courts of the Missing at the Honolulu Memorial.

September 17, 1952

Lieutenant Owen Foch Williams (born March 25, 1919/from Compton, California) served was the pilot of a F4U-4 Corsair fighter with Fighter Squadron 193 aboard the USS Princeton (CV-37). On September 17, 1952, his aircraft crashed, exploded and burned on take-off. His remains were not recovered.

September 30, 1952

October 4, 1952

While on a combat mission, an F4U was attacked by a MIG-15 near the coast. The aircraft went into a steep dive and crashed into the water. The pilot was reported killed in action.

October 7, 1952

November 1, 1952

An F4U crashed while on a combat mission. Probable cause was enemy anti-aircraft fire. Pilot declared missing in action.

November 8, 1952

An F4U crashed on a combat mission over North Korea, probably due to anti-aircraft fire. Pilot declared missing in action.

November 28, 1952

Capt. Clyde Thaddeus Holmes Jr. (born March 12, 1922/from Birmingham, Alabama) was the pilot of a F4U-4B Corsair fighter with Marine Air Maintenance Squadron 12, Marine Air Group 12, 1st Marine Air Wing. On November 28, 1952, while departing on a combat mission, he crashed on takeoff into the water near Paengyong-do, Korea.  He was the son of Clyde Thaddeus Holmes and Annie Gady Barton Holmes.

December 27, 1952

An F4U from VF-884 ditched in water due to engine failure. Pilot was not injured.

1952

Colonel Robert Galer, a Marine Corps Ace from World War II, was the Commanding Officer of MAG-12 in 1952, when he was shot down behind enemy lines and protected by VMA-212 pilots until rescued by a Marine Corps helicopter.


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F4 Crashes - 1953

March 6, 1953

An F4U crashed on the aircraft carrier USS Oriskany on this date.

April 7, 1953

Lieutenant William Bernard Woerman (USN) (born March 29, 1925 in Hamilton, Ohio) was the pilot of a F4U-4 Corsair fighter with Fighter Squadron 92 aboard the aircraft carrier USS Valley Forge (CVA-45).  On April 7, 1953, while on a combat mission of strafing enemy positions south of Wonsan, Korea, his aircraft received a direct hit by anti-aircraft fire, crashed and burst into flames. His remains were not recovered.  For his leadership and valor, Lieutenant Woerman was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross, the Air Medal with Gold Star, the Navy Commendation Ribbon, the Purple Heart, the Korean Service Medal, the United Nations Service Medal and the National Defense Service Medal.

May 2, 1953

A veteran of World War II, Major Grover Betzer was the pilot of an F4U-4 Corsair fighter with Marine Fighter Squadron 312, Marine Air Group 12 aboard the USS Bataan. He was killed over North Korea while participating in the rescue of a downed pilot who was surrounded by enemy troops. During the rescue, Betzer flew a series of strafing attacks, drawing enemy fire. After his ammunition was gone, he continued simulated strafing attacks, enabling a helicopter to pick up the downed pilot. Betzer's plane was struck by anti-aircraft fire and crashed. His remains were not recovered. He was 36 years old at the time of his death. He was survived by his wife, Loralyn; a 2-year-old son and a 4-year-old daughter all of Santa Ana, California; his father, Ray Betzer, of Klamath Falls; and a sister, Mrs. Robert Pinneo, of Wichita, Kansas. He was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross, which was presented to his daughter. Betzer was also awarded the Air Medal with two Gold Stars, the Purple Heart, the Combat Action Ribbon, the Korean Service Medal, the United Nations Service Medal, the National Defense Service Medal, the Korean Presidential Unit Citation and the Republic of Korea War Service Medal. His name is inscribed on the Courts of the Missing at the Honolulu Memorial.

May 24, 1953

July 9, 1953

On July 09, 1953, an F4U-4 Corsair fighter with the Marine Fighter Squadron 332, Marine Air Group 12 aboard the aircraft carrier USS Bairoko (CVE-115) was strafing enemy troops in a village northwest of Changyon, North Korea, when the aircraft was hit by small arms fire and crashed. The pilot's remains were not recovered. His name was Walter Edward Lindberg, born February 12, 1921 in Worcester, Massachusetts.

July 26, 1953

An F4U-4 Corsair fighter with Fighter Squadron 152 aboard the USS Princeton (CV-37), while on a reconnaissance mission over enemy territory, was shot down by anti-aircraft fire.  Missing in action was the pilot, Lt. William Charles Blackford, USNR.  He was born May 3, 1924 in Eureka, California.  His home of record was Milwaukee, Wisconsin.


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F4 Crashes - 1954

July 04, 1954

En route from Washington, DC to NAS Brunswick, Maryland, this F4 crashed in Suffolk County, New York after USNR Lt. William F. Griffith bailed out safely.


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F-4 Crashes - 1955

March 10, 1955

2 Lt. James Francis Kunzmann was the pilot of a F4U-5 Corsair fighter with Marine Fighter Squadron 212, Marine Air Group 33, 1st Marine Air Wing. On March 10, 1955, his aircraft crashed, killing him. Second Lieutenant Kunzmann was awarded the Combat Action Ribbon, the Korean Service Medal, the United Nations Service Medal, the National Defense Service Medal, the Korean Presidential Unit Citation and the Republic of Korea War Service Medal.

 
 
 
 

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