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  B-17E Flying Fortress Serial Number 41-9118  
USAAF
13th AF
5th BG
72nd BS

Pilot  David C. Everitt, O-417018 (MIA / KIA) WI
Co-Pilot  1st Lt. Dan D. Drakulich, O-725134 (MIA / KIA) AZ
Bombardier  1st Lt John W. Sears, O-728952 (MIA / KIA) KS
Navigator  1st Lt. Robert L. Rose, O-427839 (MIA / KIA) CT
Engineer  SSgt Jack L. Woody, 6983982 (MIA / KIA) KY
Asst Engineer  SSgt Glover N. Brown, 6999210 (MIA / KIA) ILin
Radio  Cpl Benjamin C. Navage, 33080036 (MIA / KIA) PA
Asst Radio  Pfc Floyd E. Marshall, 17031352 (MIA / KIA) NB
Gunner  Pvt Francis J. Foye, 11051762 (MIA / KIA) MA

Crashed  October 4, 1942
MACR  801

Aircraft History
Built by Boeing at Seattle. Delivered to the U. S. Army. Ferried overseas via Hawaii to the South Pacific.

Wartime History
Assigned to the 13th Air Force, 5th Bombardment Group, 72nd Bombardment Squadron. No nickname or nose art. When lost, engines R-182-65 serial numbers 41-23473, 41-22385, 42-79299 and 41-22503. Weapon serial numbers not noted in MACR.

Mission History
On October 3, 1942 this B-17 was flown to Henderson Field on Guadalcanal and joined four other B-17s from the 11th Bombardment Group, 26th Bombardment Squadron. On October 4, 1942 took off from Henderson Field at 3:00am leading the formation on a bombing mission armed with twenty 100 poind bombs on a bombing mission against Buka Airfield.

Inbound to the target, the formation encountered bad weather and could not find the target and turned back for Guadalcanal. Off New Georgia, the bombers encountered six Japanese warships off including Japanese destroyers Nowaki, Maikaze, Akitsuki, Nisshin and Chitose. The B-17s were intercepted by Japanese floatplanes flying combat air patrol over the fleet, the B-17s claimed two Zeros shot down.

During the combat, this lead B-17 was deliberately rammed from below by a F1M2 Pete from Chitose piloted by PO Katsuki Kiyomi, to prevent it from bombing Nisshin. The right wing of the F1M2 Pete impacted this B-17's right wing, tearing off the wingtip damaging the vertical stabilizer. Immediately, the B-17 went into a spiral then crashed into the sea. Although the ramming damaged the right wing of the F1M2 Pete, both Katsuki and his observer successfully bailed out and were rescued by destroyer Akitsuki. For this attack, Kiyomi earned a commendation and gold chevron.

Memorials
The entire crew was officially declared dead in 1945. All are memorialized on the tablets of the missing at Manila American Cemetery. The entire crew earned the Distinguished Flying Cross (DFC) posthumously for this mission.

References
Note, some sources incorrectly stated this B-17 was "rammed by a Zero"
72nd Bombardment Group history:
"Lieut. Everitt's plane downed by Zero. On October 4th, 1942, Lieut Everitt's plane was downed on a bombing mission. A Zero [sic - F1M2 Pete] probably hit and out of control, crashed into the B-17, knocking off a wing tip and part of the vertical stabilizer. Some five miles from one of the Solomon Islands. Last seen in a spiral at 11,000' and entering an overcast . Two of the crew had bailed out. [Possibly a reference to crew of Pete who bailed out.]"
Fortress Against the Sun pages 272-273, 433
IJN Seaplane Carrier Chitose Tabular Record of Movement
Imperial Japanese Navy Aces page 42, 68, 102, 104 (ace list) 109
Thanks to Jim Sawruk and Minoru Kamada for additional information

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Last Updated
February 24, 2014

 

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