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  B-17F-20-BO "Omar Khayyam/The Plastered Bastard" Serial Number 41-24534  
USAAF
13th AF
11th BG
98th BS

Former Assignment
5th BG
43rd BG
403rd BS

Pilot  Captain Willis E. Jacobs, O-417147 11th BG, 431st BS (MIA / KIA) AL
Co-Pilot  2nd Lt Stanley H. Sommers, O-726839 11th BG, 431st BS (MIA / KIA) IL
Crew  2nd Lt Clarence R. Johnson, O-726027 11th BG, 431st BS (MIA / KIA) CO
Crew  2nd Lt William S. Jackimczyk, O-790138 11th BG, 431st BS (MIA / KIA) MA
Crew  SSgt Eino S. Hamalainen, 7071265 11th BG, 431st BS (MIA / KIA) NY
Crew  Sgt Delos J. Tuffey, 6974406 11th BG, 431st BS (MIA / KIA) NY
Crew  Cpl Clair W. Glover, 39307060 5th BG, 31st BS (MIA / KIA) Cheshire, OR
Crew  Cpl Ray Lindamood, 15070408 5th BG, 31st BS (MIA / KIA) OH
Crew  Pfc Arthur L. Lemar, 32222652 11th BG, 431st BS (MIA / KIA) NY
Crew  Cpl Joseph E. Hartman, 14055854 (survived) Birmingham, AL
Crashed  December 1, 1942
MACR  16444

Aircraft History
Built by Boeing at Seattle. On July 29, 1942 delivered to the U. S. Army Air Force (USAAF) as B-17F-20-BO Flying Fortress 41-24534. Assigned to pilot Lt. Edwin C. McAnelly. Nicknamed "Omar Khayyam".

Wartime History
On September 5, 1942 took off from Hamilton Field on a ferry flight via Hickam Field then across the Pacific bound for Australia. While in New Caledonia, this B-17 was assigned to the 11th Bombardment Group. Disobeying orders, McAnelly instead flew to Brisbane, and the next day to Torrens Creek Airfield. Instead, this B-17 was assigned to the 43rd Bombardment Group, 403rd Bombardment Squadron.

When officials caught up with this B-17 and it was removed from the squadron and reassigned to the 11th Bombardment Group, 98th Bombardment Squadron. Nicknamed "The Plastered Bastard".

On October 4, 1942 this B-17 flew its first combat mission in the Solomon Islands.

Mission History
On December 1, 1942 took off from Henderson Field on Guadalcanal at 05:30am piloted by Captain Willis E. Jacobs and a crew from the 431st BS with two crew from the 5th BG, 31st BS on a photo reconnaissance and search mission over over sector 3V40 the southern end of Bougainville. The weather was reported as fair.

Returning from the mission, while flying at 17,000', intercepted by six A6M Zeros at approximately 1:00pm over Cape Friendship. The crew claimed two shot down, and that the others departed. Another seven Zeros intercepted over the northern end of Choiseul. Six circled and maneuvered out of range of the bomber's guns.

Over New Georgia, a seventh unseen Zero dove at the nose and dropped four aerial bombs that were ineffective. The same Zero continued to dive and collided with the the B-17's behind the radio compartment and broke the bomber into two pieces. The front half caught fire and all aboard perished.

Fates of the Crew
The rear half descended in almost perfect equilibrium, knocking Cpl Joseph E. Hartman briefly unconscious. When he awoke, he opened the escape hatch and bailed out around 2,000' and again blacked out. Awakening again, he slipped out of his parachute a few feet above the sea, landing 150 yards off an island. Two hours later, he met friendly locals. After 67 days he was returned to his unit.

Memorials
The rest of the crew were officially declared dead the day of the mission. They are memorialized at Manila American Cemetery on the tablets of the missing.

Jacobs earned the Silver Star with Oak Leaf Cluster, Air Medal with Oak Leaf Cluster and Purple Heart, posthumously.

Sommers earned the Purple Heart, posthumously.

Johnson earned the Purple Heart, posthumously.

Jackimczyk earned the Purple Heart, posthumously. He also has a memorial marker at Massachusetts National Cemetery at plot MA grave 21.

Hamalainen earned Silver Star, Air Medal and Purple Heart, posthumously.

Tuffey earned the Purple Heart, posthumously.

Glover earned the Purple Heart, posthumously.

Lindamood earned the Purple Heart, posthumously.

Lemarearned the Purple Heart, posthumously.

Hartman survived World War II and continued to serve in the U. S. Air Force (USAF) serving in the Korean War and Vietnam. He earned the Silver Star and retired with the rank of Lieutenant Colonel. He passed away January 6, 1999 and is buried at Floral Hills Memorial Gardens in Gulfport, MS.

References
NARA World War II Army Enlistment Records - Joseph E. Hartman

USAF Serial Number Search Results - B-17F-20-BO Flying Fortress 41-24534
"24534 delivered to Cheyenne Aug 2, 1942; assigned to 43rd BG, 403rd BS at Hickam, HI Aug 30, 1942 named ("Omar Khayyam"); transferred to Mareeba, Australia Sep 5, 1942, re-assigned to 11thBG, 98thBS at New Caledonia Nov, 1942; MIA on Dec 1, 1942 after sustaining a mid-air collision with Japanese fighter which cut the aircraft in two, crashed, the tail gunner baled out and was the only survivor."
Missing Air Crew Report 16444 (MACR 16444)
News Oak Leaves "Posthumous Award of Purple Heart to Flier’s Mother" January 13, 1944, page 26
"The order of the Purple Heart was recently posthumously awarded to Capt. Willis E. Jacobs who lost his life on December 1, 1942. Mrs. Henry Burg of 265 Washington, the captain’s mother, received the decoration with the declaration from Washington of the official death of the aviator, just one year later on December 1, 1943, stating that all reasonable doubt of his death had vanished. Capt. Jacobs was confined in a hospital in Pearl Harbor on the day of the fateful invasion. A bomb which struck the hospital sent debris crashing through his room, covering him with plaster. He was not injured however. The battle in which Capt. Jacobs lost his life took place over the Solomons when his heavy fortress encountered a number of Jap planes and shot down four of them. The remainder disappeared and it looked like all was clear when a “suicide Jap” plane came through the clouds and rammed into the fortress. The impact, which occurred 1700 feet in the air, completely severed the tail of the fortress and all the crew were killed but the tail gunner. He regained his consciousness in time to open his parachute and landed in enemy territory, about 150 yards from shore. For 68 days he wandered about the island until finally natives aided him to return to his base. The young gunner, a native of Alabama, has written a number of letters to his captain’s mother and upon his return to this country visited Mrs. Burg and gave her the above information with the assurance that her son had certainly perished. Mrs. Burg has another son, Lester [Jacobs], in the navy, who is on the airplane carrier “Belleau Woods” and has seen action in Tarawa, Marshall and Gilbert Islands. Since the death of her son has bee ascertained, Mrs. Burg has received numerous letters from heads of the various branches of the armed forces, among them General Simpson, General Marshall and General Ulio."
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - Willis E. Jacobs
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - Stanley H. Sommers
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - Clarence R. Johnson
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - William S. Jackimczyk
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - Eino S. Hamalainen
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - Delos J. Tuffey
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - Clair W. Glover
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - Ray Lindamood
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - Arthur L. Lemar
FindAGrave - Capt Willis E Jacobs (obituary tablets of the missing photo)
FindAGrave - 2Lt Stanley H Sommers (tablets of the missing)
FindAGrave - 2Lt Clarence R Johnson (tablets of the missing photo)
FindAGrave - 2Lt William S Jackimczyk (tablets of the missing photo)
FindAGrave - William S Jackimczyk (memorial marker photo)
FindAGrave - SSgt Eino S Hamalainen (tablets of the missing photo)
FindAGrave - Sgt Delos J Tuffey (tablets of the missing)
FindAGrave - Corp Clair W Glover (obituary, photo, tablets of the missing photo)
FindAGrave - Corp Ray Lindamood (tablets of the missing photo)
FindAGrave - PFC Arthur L Lemar (tablets of the missing photo)
FindAGrave - Joseph E. Hartman (grave photo)
Pride of Seattle page 13
Fortress Against The Sun page 302, 392

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Last Updated
October 11, 2018

 

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B-17

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