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  B-17E "Madame X" Serial Number 41-2525  
USAAF
13th AF
5th BG
31st BS

Former Assignment
11th BG
98th BS

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USAAF c1942

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USN c1943

Pilot  1st Lt. Richard A. Snoddy, O-725217(MIA / KIA) Straford, OK
Co-Pilot  1st Lt. Frank D. Sprague, O-725219 (MIA / KIA) De Moines, IA
Bombardier  TSgt Lawrence O. Habermehl (MIA / KIA) Salt Lake City, UT
Navigator  SSgt Ernest N. Bowser, O-797255 (MIA / KIA) Washington County, MD
Engineer  SSgt J. H. Swanner, 14037725 (MIA / KIA) Knoxville, TN
Asst Engineer  SSgt Lawrence E. Hill, 19053554 (MIA / KIA) Shreveport, LA
Radio  MSgt Carl M. Mosher, 6916132 (MIA / KIA) Traverse City, MI
Asst Radio  Sgt Clifford M. Wolff, 18007047 (MIA / KIA) West Englewood, NJ
Gunner  SSgt Frederick H. Swonsey, 39165588
(MIA / KIA) South Gate, CA
MIA  June 9, 1943 at 19:10
MACR  799

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, 98th Bombardment Squadron. Nicknamed "Madame X".

This B-17 was flown from Hickam Field piloted by 1st Lt. Richard A. Snoddy with an extra bomb bay fuel tank to Midway Airfield on Eastern Island to search for Japanese Naval forces and participated in the Battle of Midway then returned to Hickam Field.

Later, transfered to the 5th Bombardment Group, 31st Bombardment Squadron. Afterwards, flown across the Pacific Ocean to the South Pacifc. This bomber flew at least eight bombing missions, claimed three fighters and a ship. When lost, engine R-1820-65 serial numbers 41-24891, 41-24890, 41-24592 and 41-23868. Weapon serial numbers not noted in Missing Air Crew Report 799 (MACR 799).

Mission History
On June 9, 1943 took off from Henderson Field on Guadalcanal on a night bombing mission against Kahilli Airfield (Buin Airfield) on Bougainville. Over the target at dusk, this bomber was last contacted by radio at 19:10 and failed to return from the mission. It was believed this B-17 was lost in the vicinity of the target area.

Search
The next day, three B-17s from the 31st Bombardment Squadron led by Captain Carroll searched for this bomber unsuccessfully. Several US Navy planes also conducted searches without results. On June 12, 1943 two B-17s led by Captain Roberts conducted another search without results.

Memorials
The entire crew was officially declared dead on December 19, 1945. The entire crew (with the exception of Bowser) is memorialized on the tablets of the missing at Manila American Cemetery. Bowser is memorialized at the courts of the missing at National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific (Punchbowl). Mosher also has a memorial marker at Ogdensburg Cemetery at Mapleton, MI.

References
Pilot 1st Lt. Richard A. Snoddy flew during the Battle of Midway.
Missing Air Crew Report 799 (MACR 799) incorrectly states the date of loss as June 10, 1943
Fortress Against The Sun page 386
FindAGrave - Carl M. Mosher (memorial photo)
Thanks to Steve Birdsall for additional information

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Last Updated
January 5, 2018

 

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