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  B-17E "Yokohama Express" Serial Number 41-2442  
USAAF
13th AF
11th BG
42nd BS

Pilot  Captain Harold P. Hensley, O-413623 (MIA / KIA) CA
Co-pilot  1st Lt Charles D. Bingham, O-429251 (MIA / KIA) NY
Bombardier  SSgt Oreste George Natiello, 7024944 (MIA / KIA) Louisville, KY
Navigator  2nd Lt John H. Jackson, O-791595 (MIA / KIA) MS
Engineer  T/Sgt Lester L. Gudenschwager, 6291432 (MIA / KIA) WI
Asst Engineer  SSgt William J. Tomko, 13010674 (MIA / KIA) PA
Asst Radio  Sgt Peter R. Fabiano, 16003241 (MIA / KIA) IL
Radio  SSgt John N. Powers, 7026758 (MIA / KIA) PA
Gunner  SSgt Willett T. Allen, 6668695 (MIA / KIA) KY
MIA  February 1, 1943
MACR  16269

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

Wartime History
Assigned to the 13th Air Force, 11th Bombardment Group, 42nd Bombardment Squadron. Nicknamed "Yokohama Express".

Mission History
On February 1, 1943 took off from Henderson Field on Guadalcanal as one of nine B-17s on a mission to bomb Japanese shipping in the Shortland area. This bomber was part of a four plane second element with three B-17s from the 42nd BG (this aircraft), B-17E 41-9151, B-17E "Eager Beavers" 41-9122 and B-17 piloted by Captain Thomas from the 5th BG, 72nd BS. The second element was commanded by Captain Hall (C. O. of the 42nd Bombardment Squadron).

After bombing Japanese ships and claiming hits on their target, the formation turned right (eastward) toward Choiseul Bay, and were intercepted by 15-25 Zeros. This B-17 was shot down by Zeros over Bougainville and reportedly crashed into Shortland Harbor area. This B-17failed to return and was declared Missing In Action (MIA).

The sole surviving fourth plane, piloted by a Captain Thomas was also badly damaged but managed to crash land on Guadalcanal. Two crew members (radio and bombardier) were wounded.

Michael Paulson adds:
"MACR 16269 was not particularly helpful. It was prepared post-war, and noted that 'Flight records and individual flight forms on officers and enlisted men had been lost or destroyed in the movement' "

Memorials
Hensley was officially declared dead on January 11, 1946 and was promoted to Major. He is memorialized on the tablets of the missing at National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific (Punchbowl). The rest of the crew was declared dead on January 11, 1946 and are memorialized on the tablets of the missing at Manila American Cemetery. The entire crew earned the Purple Heart, posthumously.

Gudenschwager also has a memorial marker at Sandusky Village Cemetery in Sandusky, WI.

Relatives
Nick Barkas (nephew of Oreste George Natiello)
"My uncle was on B-17E "Yokohama Express" 41-2442 George Natiello. He had made 54 flights and was the only son of my grandfather. My mother was his sister. He was greatly mourned by the family as many were."

References
Missing Air Crew Report 16269 (MACR 16269)
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - Harold P. Hensley

American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - Charles D. Bingham

American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - Oreste G. Natiello
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - John H. Jackson
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - Lester L. Gudenschwager
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - William J. Tomko
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - Peter R. Fabiano

American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - John N. Powers
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - Willett T. Allen
FindAGrave - Maj Harold P Hensley (courts of the missing photo)
FindAGrave - 1Lt Charles D Bingham (tablets of the missing photo)
FindAGrave - SSgt Oreste George "George" Natiello, Jr (tablets of the missing photo)
FindAGrave - 1Lt John H. Jackson (tablets of the missing)
FindAGrave - SSgt Lester L Gudenschwager (tablets of the missing)
FindAGrave - Lester L Gudenschwager (memorial marker photo)
FindAGrave - SSgt William J Tomko (tablets of the missing)
FindAGrave - Sgt Peter R Fabiano (tablets of the missing photo)
FindAGrave - Sgt John N Powers (tablets of the missing)
FindAGrave - SSgt Willett T Allen (tablets of the missing photo)

Contribute Information
Are you a relative or associated with any person mentioned?
Do you have photos or additional information to add?

Last Updated
January 21, 2018

 

Tech Info
B-17

MIA
MIA
9 Missing

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