Built by Boeing at Seattle. Delivered to the U. S. Army Air Force (USAAF) as B-17E Flying Fortress serial number 41-2413. Assigned to the 11th Bombardment Group, 38th Reconnaissance 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. This bomber had the .50 caliber machine guns installed but carried no ammunition. Aboard was "Crew No. 1" including pilot Maj Truman H. Landon, co-pilot 1st Lt William B. M. Ellis, 2d Lt George L. Newton, 2d Lt Chester H. Budz, Avn Cdt Erwin F. Cihak, MSgt John B. Meeks, TSgt Jesse L. Schneider, SSgt Albert E. Brawley, and Sgt Benjamin L. Hale.
On December 7, 1941 in the morning incoming Japanese aircraft detected on radar were dismissed as the expected flight of B-17s and arrived during the Japanese surprise attack on Pearl Harbor and Oahu. This B-17 landed safely at Hickam Field.
After the attack, painted in the three-color camouflage scheme at the Hawaiian Air Depot (HAD) with dark green, olive drab and tan upper surfaces with gray lower surfaces. During late December 1942, this B-17 flew reconnaissance missions from Hickam Field over the Pacific Ocean around Hawaii.
Later, assigned to the 5th Bombardment Group, 72nd Reconnaissance Squadron. Nicknamed "Lucky 13" based on the last two digits of the serial number.
On April 13, 1943 took off from Henderson Field on Guadalcanal piloted by 1st Lt. Mario Sesso with engineer Jake Stull and Kris Kostopolus and tail gunner Ray Smith on a bombing mission against Kahili Airfield (Buin) on southern Bougainville. Returning, this B-17 ditched off Santa Isabel.
Fate of the Crew
Afterwards, the crew were rescued by a PBY Catalina.
7 December 1941 The Air Force Story - Appendix D B-17s Arriving During the Attack page 157
"B-17E 41-2413 / Crew No. 1: Maj Truman H. Landon, 1st Lt William B. M. Ellis, 2d Lt George L. Newton, 2d Lt Chester H. Budz, Avn Cdt Erwin F. Cihak, MSgt John B. Meeks, TSgt Jesse L. Schneider, SSgt Albert E. Brawley, and Sgt Benjamin L. Hale."
Fortress Against The Sun page 12, 387
Mack Morriss Diary - April 13, 1943
Bomber Baron Newsletter
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November 11, 2018