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  B-17C Flying Fortress Serial Number 40-2074  
USAAF
5th AF
7th BG
14th BS

PacificWrecks.com
USN December 7, 1941

Pilot  Captain Raymond T. Swenson (survived)
Co-Pilot  Ernest L. "Roy" Reid (survived)
Bombardier  Aviation Cadet G. C. Beale (WIA, survived)
Navigator  2nd Lt. H. R. Taylor (WIA, survived)
Engineer  MSgt L. B. Pouncy (survived)
Asst Engineer  Sgt Earl T. Williams (survived)
Radio  Cpl M. C. Lucas (survived)
Gunner  Pvt. Bert Lee (survived)
Passenger  1st Lt. William R. Schick (WIA, KIA)

Destroyed  December 7, 1941
MACR  none

Aircraft History
Built by Boeing at Seattle. Constructors Number 2075. Assigned to the United States Army Air Force (USAAF) as B-17C Flying Fortress serial number 40-2074. No known nose art or nickname.

Mission History
On December 6, 1941 starting at 9:00pm, thirteen B-17s began taking off from Hamilton Field at 15 minute intervals on a ferry flight bound for Hickam Field. Each bomber was carrying their machine guns, but no ammunition. This B-17 took off second from Hamilton Field at roughly 9:15pm piloted by Captain Raymond T. Swenson with crew #3.

The formation was led by B-17E 41-2429 piloted by Major Richard H. Carmichael. The flight westward was uneventful.

During the morning of December 7, 1941 incoming Japanese aircraft detected on radar were dismissed as the expected flight of B-17s.

The B-17 formation arrived over Oahu at roughly 8:00am during the midst of the surprise attack and witnessed anti-aircraft fire bursting and air combat as they began their landing approach. While on finals to land at Hickam Field, two A6M2 Zeros opened fire from the rear, hitting the bomber's flare box, causing it to catch fire and fill the fuselage with smoke and Lt. Schick reported he was hit in the leg.

The B-17 aborted the landing and attempted to hide in clouds, but due to the smoke quickly landed. After touching down and rolling roughly 400', the fuselage, weakened by the fire buckled and broke off, separating from the front half of the bomber.

On the ground, the crew ran from the smoking wreckage while being strafed by Zeros. Taylor was hit by a small piece of shrapnel in the neck. Beale was shot in the leg. Schick who had been wounded in the leg in the air, was hit in the head by a bullet. Evacuated by ambulance, he died in the afternoon from his injuries.

Wreckage
After the attack, the fire was extinguished and the forward fuselage section was photographed in front of Hanger No. 5 at Hickam Field. This B-17 was never repaired and was scrapped.

Ernest Reid recalled in Shot Down at Pearl Harbor:
"While walking down the edge of the runway and looking in awe at what was left of our plane after the fire had been put out. The next day, I climbed up into the cockpit of our plane. I discovered four bullet holes in the armor plate behind my seat. I was one of the lucky ones on the Day of Infamy."

Relatives
Joan Reid Ahrens (daughter of Ernest Reid)
"My dad, Col. Ernest L. (Roy) Reid was the co-pilot. Flares caught fire from bullets from the attacking Zeros. Flight Surgeon, Schick, was wounded on board and hit again from strafing as he ran to the hanger and died later that day after refusing medical aid at the hospital steps."

Tammy Ahrens Funkhouser (granddaughter of Ernest L. "Roy" Reid)
"My grandfather, then a 2nd Lt, Roy Reid, was co-pilot of that plane."

References
Air Force Magazine "Shot Down at Pearl Harbor" by Ernest L. Reid Vol. 74, No. 12 Dec 1991
7 December 1941 - The Air Force Story - Appendix D - B-17s Arriving During the Attack page 158 "B-17C 40-2074"
Page 159 "Crew No. 3: Capt Raymond T. Swenson, 1st Lt William R. Schick (flight surgeon assigned to the squadron just before its departure), 2d Lt Ernest L. Reid, 2d Lt Homer R. Taylor, Avn Cdt G. C. Beale, MSgt Leroy B. Pouncey, Sgt Earl T. Williams, Cpl Mac L. Lucas, and Pvt Bert Lee, Jr."

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Last Updated
January 5, 2018

 

Tech Info
B-17
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