January 5, 1943
|Pilot Major Allan Lindberg, O-383726 (MIA / KIA) New York, NY
Co-Pilot Captain Benton H. Daniel, O-421896 (MIA / POW / KIA) Hollis,
Bombardier 2nd Lt. Robert Hand, O-726160 (MIA /KIA) Hampstead,
Navigator 1st Lt. John W. Hanson, O-434002 (MIA / KIA) Missoula,
Engineer T/Sgt Dennis T. Craig, 6152544
(MIA / KIA) New York, NY
Radio S/Sgt Quentin W. Blakely, 6581181 (MIA / KIA) Washington,
Gunner Sgt Leslie A. Stewart, 6996623 (MIA / KIA) East Chicago,
Gunner Pvt Leland W. Stone, 19064721 (MIA / KIA) Oakland, CA
Gunner Pfc William G. Fraser, Jr., 20815917 (MIA / KIA) San Antonio, TX
Jack W. Bleasdale, O-022328 (MIA / POW / KIA) San Fernando,
General Kenneth N. Walker, O-012510 (MIA / KIA) Cerillos, NM
MIA January 5, 1943
Maj. Lindbergh who was the CO of the 64th BS, 43rd BG
General Kenneth N. Walker was commanding officer of 5th Bomber Command.
Built by Boeing at Seattle. Constructors Number 3132. Delivered to the U.S. Army on July 8, 1942. Ferried overseas to Australia.
Assigned to the 19th Bombardment Group. Later, assigned to the 43rd Bombardment Group, 64th Bombardment Squadron. Nicknamed "San Antonio Rose". When lost, engine and weapon serial numbers not noted in MACR.
Took off from 7-Mile Drome near Port Moresby leading a formation
of six B-17s and six B-24s bomb the harbor, shipping and the airfield
at Rabaul. Last seen over the target area, pursued by Japanese fighters and the left outboard engine smoking, this B-17 was never seen again. Also lost was B-17F 41-24538.
According to the aircraft's missing air crew report
on mission 4L to attack
Rabaul, at 0848
from 7-Mile Drome near Port Moresby to attack
ships in Simpson
Harbor. Last seen going into clouds, closely pursued by four
to five Japanese fighters. The left outboard
was observed to be smoking."
A memorandum to the MACR AG 704 (April 29, 1949)
"The plane in which these men became missing in action was a B-17
#458, observed turning left making a possible run on shipping in the Keravia Bay on 5 January 1943, in the Rabaul area. It was last seen
heading south, just east of Vunakanau, at about 5,000' with left outboard
motor smoking and out. The plane, closely pursued by several enemy
fighters, went into the clouds and did not rejoin the flight."
Fates of the Crew
Two of the crew: Bleasdale and Daniel successfully bailed out and were taken prisoner by the Japanese at Tol then transported to Rabaul and interrogated during February - March 1942.
Daniel's name was noted by a Catholic Priest also imprisoned at Rabaul. The two prisoners are mentioned
in documents supposedly signed by Bleasdale seen by surviving POWs during
their interrogations in July 1943.
Captain Daniel was captured during middle or late January 1943 at Tol and transported to Rabaul. In late February or early March, he was interrogated about the technical details of the B-17 including its performance and capabilities that was the subject of a report "The B-17 and Its Armament" March 2, 1943 and was intercepted by ATIS and translated. Daniel's name was noted by a Catholic Priest also imprisoned at Rabaul. Later, he was reportedly taken to Kavieng, and is presumed to have be executed or otherwise died there. He did not survive the war or captivity.
The fate of the rest of the crew is unknown. All are presumed to have died aboard the B-17 during the crash, or were wounded or killed during the air combat.
On January 6, 1943 B-24D piloted by Rose searched for this bomber. Over Wide Bay, it was shot down by Zeros from the 582 Kokutai. The Missing Aircraft Report (MACR) for this B-17 was generated long after the loss or postwar in early 1946.
The wreckage of this aircraft has never been found. To daye, the American miliatary, including US Army AGRS (1945-1949), US Army CILHI or JPAC have never actively searched for this bomber.
Kenneth Walker, Jr. (elder son of Kenneth N. Walker)
Douglas Walker (younger son of Kenneth N. Walker)
The entire crew was officially declared dead on December 12, 1945. All are memorialized on the tablets of the missing at Manila American Cemetery.
On March 11, 1943, Walker posthumously
earned the Medal of Honor and was the highest ranking MIA American missing in action on a combat mission during World War II.
Walker was given a memorial marker at Arlington National Cemetery on December 7, 2001 section MC Site 36-M (Memorial Section - Gravestone Only). At Maxwell AFB "Walker Hall" is named in his honor and is home to the College of Aerospace Doctrine Research and Education. Also, Walker AFB in Roswell, NM until closure in 1967.
Missing Air Crew Report (MACR) 15359 - generated retroactively during 1946
Pride of Seattle page 9
Kenneth N. Walker: Airpower's
Untempered Crusader biography of Walker
General Kenneth N. Walker (DVD) memorial service and interviews
Thanks to Douglas Walker, David Lindley, Steve Birdsall, Brian
Bennett, Richard Dunn and Larry Hickey for additional information
Are you a relative or associated with any person mentioned?
Do you have photos or additional information to add?
October 31, 2013
Walker Memorial Service
Japanese Side of the Mission
Speculation about POWs
Walker Medal of Honor Citation
MIA General Walker