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  B-17E "Ole Sh'asta" Serial Number 41-2428  
13th AF
11th BG
42nd BS

Former Assignments
98th BS

Click For Enlargement
11th BG c1942

Pilot  1st Lt James R. Harp, O-433838 5th BG, 31st BS (MIA / KIA) OK
Co-Pilot  1st Lt Omar D. Thomas, O-433930 5th BG, 394th BS (MIA / KIA) WV
Crew  1st Lt Thornton H. Lewis, 0-432384 (MIA / KIA) CA
Crew  TSgt Elwood E. Miller, 6940866 (MIA / KIA) PA
Crew  TSgt Charles M. Noble, 6993807 (MIA / KIA) MD
Crew  SSgt Howard L. Krantz, 6978501 (MIA / KIA) DE
Crew  Cpl Sanford S. Caviness, 17030232 (MIA / KIA) MO
Crew  Cpl Walter E. Stephanik, 13011049 (MIA / KIA) PA
Crew  Pfc Henry Majeski, 7025106 (MIA / KIA) Philadelphia, PA

MIA  December 28, 1942
MACR  16271

Aircraft History
Built by Boeing at Seattle. Constructors Number 2239. Delivered to the U. S. Army. Ferried overseas via Hawaii to the South Pacific.

Wartime History
Assigned to the 11th Bombardment Group, 98th Bombardment Squadron. No known nickname or nose art. Later, assigned to the 42nd Bombardment Squadron. Nicknamed "Ole Sh'asta".

On June 4, 1942 took off from Midway Airfield piloted by Lt. Jack Whidden with tail gunner Sgt Frank Plunkett on a bombing mission during the Battle of Midway.

Maury Hurt (nephew of Frank Plunkett)
"Sgt Frank Plunkett, served as a B-17 tail gunner, and flew in the Battle of Midway (with pilot Lt. Jack Whidden on B-17E 41-2428) prior to being transferred in August 1942 to the 5th AF, 19th BG, 30th. One of the rewards of my research was that I was able to find Lt. Jack Whidden, who retired as a colonel and is alive and well at 87. He remembers Sgt Plunkett well, as Plunkett was one of the members of his first crew in 1941-42. Col Whidden is the only person I've ever been able to talk with who knew him in the service. His memory is no less than incredible, and he loves to talk about 'the old days'."

Mission History
On December 28, 1942 took off from Espiritu Santo on a mission over the northern Solomon Islands. The pilot and co-pilot were assigned to the 5th Bombardment Group, while the rest of the crew was from the 11th Bombardment Group, 42nd Bombardment Squadron. This B-17 reportedly crashed in sea off Choiseul Island. The crew remains Missing In Action (MIA).

Ewan Stevenson adds:
"Yes, the Colonel [Edward M. Lavin] and myself visited Choiseul in November 2011 and I surveyed a number of wrecks in the Southern part with the Col. tagging along. I really admire Colonel Lavin he is 60 odd years in age but he had the right exploratory spirit and we had a lot of fun. We did not find the particular B-17 41-2428. We were shown were it went in by eyewitness Reverend Bosetto and I GPS recorded the position but it is out in the slot and way too deep. We had an emotional ceremony over the site. It provided the colonel some peace."

The entire crew was officially declared dead the day of the mission. All are memorialized on the tablets of the missing at Manila American Cemetery.

Noble also has a memorial marker at Evergreen Cemetery in Jacksonville, FL at section A.

Edward M. Lavin (nephew of Henry Majeski)
"My uncle PFC Henry Majeski was a machine gunner aboard a B-17 which was shot down December 28, 1942 off the northwest coast of Choiseul Island, the Solomons, most likely pretty close to shore since one body washed up. The rest of the crew and the aircraft have never been found."

Maury Hurt (nephew of Frank Plunkett)
"Sgt Frank Plunkett, served as a B-17 tail gunner, and flew in the Battle of Midway (with pilot Lt. Jack Whidden on B-17E 41-2428)."

Missing Air Crew Report 16271 (MACR 16271) was created retroactively and does not note B-17's serial number
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - James R. Harp
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - Omar D. Thomas
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - Thornton H. Lewis
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - Elwood E. Miller
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - Charles M. Noble
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - Howard L. Krantz
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - Sanford S. Caviness
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - Walter E. Stephanik
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - Henry Majeski
FindAGrave - 1Lt James R Harp (tablets of the missing)
FindAGrave - 1Lt Omar D Thomas (tablets of the missing)
FindAGrave - 1Lt Thornton H Lewis (tablets of the missing)
FindAGrave - TSgt Elwood E Miller (photo, tablets of the missing)
FindAGrave - TSgt Charles M Noble (tablets of the missing)
FindAGrave - Charles MacIntosh Noble, III (memorial marker photo)
FindAGrave - SSgt Howard Linwood Krantz (tablets of the missing photo)
FindAGrave - Corp Sanford Sherwood Caviness (tablets of the missing)
FindAGrave - Corp Walter E Stephanik (tablets of the missing)
FindAGrave - PFC Henry Majeski (tablets of the missing photo)
Fortress Against The Sun pages 319, 384
Grey Geese Calling page 319

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Last Updated
February 4, 2018


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