|Pilot 1st William S. Raper, O-421658 (survived)
Co-Pilot 2nd Lt. Edwin L. Sterling, O-436019 (survived)
Navigator 2nd Lt. Frank E. Ross, Jr., O-724072 (survived)
Bombardier 2nd Lt. Foster G. Daniels, O-724143 (survived)
Engineer Sgt Alva E. Dye, 33087947 (survived)
Radio Sgt Walter Dombrowski, 11021002 (MIA / KIA) MA
Gunner Pvt Walter J. Dutkiewicz, 12049789 (MIA / KIA) NJ
Assistant Engineer Cpl Jessie R. Downard, 17015695 (survived)
Assistant Radio Pvt Robert J. McKeage, 13045970 (survived)
Ditched June 15, 1942 at 9:00pm
Built by Boeing at Seattle. Delivered to the U. S. Army. Assigned to the 11th Bombardment Group, 38th Reconnaissance Squadron / 431st Bombardment Squadron.
No known nickname or nose art.
On December 6, 1941 took off from Hamilton Field on an unarmed ferry flight bound for Hickam Field on Oahu. Aboard was "Crew No. 5" including 1st Lt Earl J. Cooper, 2d Lt Richard J. Eberenz, 2d Lt John A. Crockett, Avn Cdt Jim R. Buchanan, TSgt Jesse R. Broyles, Sgt Joseph J. Bruce, Sgt Lee W. Best, Cpl Elmer G. Lippold, and Pvt Don C. McCord, Jr.
On the morning of December 7, 1941 incoming Japanese aircraft detected on radar were dismissed as the expected flight of B-17s. The formation of B-17s arrived during the Japanese surprise attack on Pearl Harbor and Oahu. Flying through friendly anti-aircraft fire and enemy fighters before successfully landing at Hickam Field without mishap.
Later, assigned to the 2nd Air Force, 303rd Bombardment Group, 360th Bombardment Squadron.
On June 15, 1942 took off from Hickam Field on a patrol and search mission. Returning, pilot Raper reported that he was low on fuel and did not know their position with a 300' ceiling. Out of fuel, this B-17 ditched at a bearing off Oahu of 262°, roughly 145 miles away (other sources say a bearing of 270° and 130 miles away). After ditching, one life raft was released and the top escape hatch failed to open. Two of the crew were not seen again and reported as missing. The other seven crew survived unhurt in the raft.
After the reported ditching, the US Navy and US Army searched for this aircraft and reportedly sighted a life raft and seven of the crew were rescued.
The two missing crew members: Dombrowski and Dutkiewicz were officially declared dead the day of the mission. Both are memorialized on the tablets of the missing at National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific (Punchbowl).
7 December 1941 - The Air Force Story -
Appendix D - B-17s Arriving During the Attack - B-17C 40-2054
"Crew No. 5: 1st Lt Earl J. Cooper, 2d Lt Richard J. Eberenz, 2d Lt John A. Crockett, Avn Cdt Jim R. Buchanan, TSgt Jesse R. Broyles, Sgt Joseph J. Bruce, Sgt Lee W. Best, Cpl Elmer G. Lippold, and Pvt Don C. McCord, Jr."
Fortress Against The Sun page 16, 382
Missing Air Crew Report 16123 (MACR 16123) created retroactively during 1945 or 1946.
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January 5, 2018