|Pilot 1st Lt. Albert J. Wilsey, Jr., O-411749 (MIA / KIA) WI
Co-Pilot 1st Lt Raymond L. Adair, O-431834 (MIA / KIA) CA
Crew Lt Charles H. Cooper, O-426871 (MIA / KIA) SC
Crew Lt John W. Sheppard, O-727121 (MIA / KIA) TX
Crew Cpl Paul W. Lyden, 16034351 (MIA / KIA) IL
Crew Pvt Charles M. Kantner, 13028937 (MIA / KIA) PA
Crew Pvt Rudolph S. Olesnevich, 16022524 (MIA / KIA) MI
Crew Pvt Harold N. Knutson, 39092195 (MIA / KIA) OR
Crew Pvt Donald W. Brown, 17034137 (MIA / KIA) IL
MIA August 28, 1942
Built by Boeing at Seattle. Delivered to the U. S. Army Air Force (USAAF) as B-17E Flying Fortress Serial Number 41-9146.
Assigned to the 11th Air Force, 28th Bombardment Group, 36th Bombardment Squadron. No known nose art or nickname.
On August 28, 1942 one of three B-17s led by Colonel William O. Eareckson that took off on a bombing mission that took off behind shedule to bomb Kiska Island. Returning the flight, last seen by flying formation with Col Eareckson, then disappeared during a turn in the darkness and rain storm. A radio transmission was heard from this B-17 stating the bomber had an hour of fuel left, and was never seen again.
The entire crew was officially declared dead the day of the mission. All are memorialized at the court of the missing at National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific (Punchbowl).
USAF Status Card lists this B-17 as condemned July 18, 1942, possibly the loss of B-17E 41-9126 and B-17E 41-9146 have been confused or switched accidentally due to the similarity of their serial numbers.
Other sources list this crew as lost aboard B-17B Flying Fortress 38-215
36th Bomb Squadron Histoy, page 13
The Thousand-Mile War pages 144-145, footnote referencing Steve Birdsall research
Aleutian Campaign, Part III: June 1942-August 1943. Draft Chronology Compiled by John Haile Cloe page 121-122 (via ArmyAirForces Forum)
"28 Aug 1942 (Fri) MIA: Colonel William O. Eareckson led three B-17Es from the 36th Bombardment Squadron on bombing mission against Kiska. The flight, late in taking off, ran into darkness and rain during the return flight. The first B-17 landed at Cape Field in heavy rain followed by Colonel Eareckson 30 minutes later. The third bomber, 41-9146, flown by Lt Albert J. Wilsey, who had been flying formation with Colonel Eareckson disappeared during a turn in the darkness. Lieutenant Wilsey and his copilot apparently became disorientated and flew off in another direction. The last radio transmission heard from him was that he had an hour of fuel left. In addition to Lt Wilsey, those lost included Lt Raymond L. Adair, Lt Charles H. Cooper, Lt John W. Sheppard, Cpl Paul W. Lyden, Pvt Charles W. Fantner, Pvt Rudoph S. Olesnsevich, Pvt Harold N. Knutson and Pvt Donald W. Brown. (Hist, 36th Bomb Sq, p. 13; Wheeler Diary, Carter and Mueller, Combat Chronology, World War II, p. 35.)
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January 5, 2018