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  B-17C Flying Fortress Serial Number 40-2062  
USAAF
5th AF
19th BG
93rd BS

Click For Enlargement
AP March 10, 1942

Pilot  Captain Ray L. Cox, O-380226 (MIA / KIA) TX
Co-Pilot  1st Lt John E. L. Huse, O-021777 (MIA / KIA) ME
Crew  S/Sgt John U. Sowa, 6541524 (MIA / KIA) MT
Crew  Sgt. Arthur E. Karlinger, 6579249 (MIA / KIA) OR
Crew  Sgt John S. Penny, 17023807 (MIA / KIA) MS
Gunner  Pfc Jack E. Bingham, 20813175 (MIA / KIA) TX 131st Field Artillery (flying as gunner)
Gunner  Pvt. Don H. Barnes, 20813583
(MIA / KIA) TX 131st Field Artillery (flying as gunner)
Crashed  February 3, 1942
MACR  none

Aircraft History
Built by Boeing at Seattle. Assigned to the 19th Bombardment Group, 30th Bombardment Squadron to pilot Lt. Connally. No known nickname or nose art.

Wartime History
On December 8, 1941 this B-17 survived the Japanese attack on Clark Field. On December 10, 1941 at 5:30am this B-17 took off on a photo reconnaissance mission over Formosa.

Afterwards, ferried from Clark Field down to Del Monte Airfield on Mindanao. Next, on the morning of December 14, this B-17 piloted by Lt. Connaly blew a tire during take off on a mission to bomb Japanese off Legaspi, and did not participate in the mission.

On December 20, this B-17 was evacuated to Batchelor Field near Darwin.

On December 22, 1941 this B-17 was one of nine B-17s that took off from Batchelor Field on a for a bombing mission against Japanese shipping in Davao Bay. Returning, they land at Del Monte Airfield and afterwards return to Batchelor Field.

On December 30, at 8:00am, Major Walsh led six B-17s including this bomber, now the last operational B-17C in the theater to Malang AIrfield.

On the morning of January 8, 1942, flown from Malang AIrfield by Lt. Connally to Kendari II Airfield and took off again on a bombing mission. Became separated before arriving over Davao Bay and bombed a large transport, but missed and afterwards returned to Kendari II Airfield.

On January 11, 1942 at 5:55am took off from Singosari Airfield piloted by Lt. Kurts and Lt. Connaly to bomb the Japanese invasion force off Tarakan. Encountered a storm over the Java Sea forcing the formation to climb up to 27,000'. Nearing the target, they observed a smoke column from the burning Borneo oil fields and experienced a drop in oil pressure from the No. 1 engine, but adjusted controls and continued on the mission. At 11:45am, this B-17 dropped its bombs over Tarakan from 29,000' and damage was reported as uncertain and turned back for base, but began loosing altitude, 100' per minute and instead landed at Soerabaja Airfield, after an 11 hour, 30 minute mission. The next day, the B-17 returned to Singosari Airfield.

On January 19, took off piloted by Lt. Connally with co-pilot Major Combs took off from Malang AIrfield during a storm, on a joint bombing mission between the 19th BG and 7th BG, to attack Jolo then land at Del Monte to pickup stranded personnel and return to Malang. Finding Jolo cloud covered by the storm, the formation proceeded to Del Monte, but spotted Japanese warships in a hole in the clouds. Bombardier Sgt. Fesmire had stowed the bombsight, and quickly worked to install it, and dropped their 100 pound bombs on a tanker in two three bomber elements, scoring many hits and was burning and sinking by its stern. Landing at Del Monte, the B-17s picked up stranded 19th BG personnel, with priority to stranded pilots, and took off after midnight on January 20 for Malang. For his role in the evacuation flight, Connally earned the Distinguished Flying Cross (DFC).

Mission History
On February 3, 1942 took off from Singosari Airfield piloted by 1st Lt. Ray L. Cox (pilot from the 30th BS) on a test flight. Returning, he was jumped by A6M2 Zeros and attempted to outrun them over the ocean, but was shot down. The next day, the wreckage was found shot down and burning roughly 20 miles from Malang AIrfield, destroying the last operational B-17C in the theater.

Memorials
The entire crew was declared dead the day of the mission. Cox, Huse, Karlinger, Penny and Bingham are memorialized on the tablets of the missing at Manila American Cemetery. Sowa's remains were recovered and are buried at Plot N Row 5 Grave 84 at Manila American Cemetery.

References
A photo with the crew and this B-17 appeared March 10, 1942
Fortress Against The Sun pages 67, 77, 91, 100, 104, 116, 382, 404 (footnote 65), 404 (footnote 73), 405, 406 (footnote 44), 408
Thanks to Edward Rogers and William Bartsch for additional information

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Last Updated
February 4, 2018

 

Tech Info
B-17

MIA
MIA
7 Missing

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