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  B-17E Flying Fortress Serial Number 41-9194  
USAAF
5th AF
43rd BG
65th BS

Pilot  1st Lt Robert K. Freeman, O-425072 (KIA, BR) IL
Crew  2nd Lt Harry L. Moy (survived)
Co-Pilot  2nd Lt Clinton L. Smith, O-726838 (KIA, BR) Chesterhill, OH
Crew  S/Sgt Richard M. Cullisun, 6940977 (survived)
Crew  S/Sgt James M. Iverson, 6146915 (KIA, BR) ME
Crew  Sgt Wilbert H. Grogan, 6971925 (survived)
Crew  Cpl Saul Berstein (survived)
Crew  Cpl Morris McFarland (survived)
Crew  Cpl Robert F. Wright, 16012771 (KIA, BR) MI

Crashed  December 2, 1942
MACR  none

Aircraft History
Built by Boeing at Seattle. Constructors number 2256. Delivered to the U. S. Army. Ferried overseas via Hawaii to Australia.

Wartime History
Assigned to the 5th Air Force, 43rd Bombardment Group, 65th Bombardment Squadron. No known nickname or nose art.

Mission History
On December 2, 1942 took off from 7 Mile Drome near Port Moresby, this B-17 was returning from a combat mission when it crashed into a hill between 5 Mile Drome and 7 Mile Drome near Port Moresby.

D. Hassemer, 43rd Bomb Group, former operations officer:
"Went into a steep wing level glide while turning on finals and crashed into a hill between Wards Drome and Jackson Drome. Angle of crash was estimated to be about 35 degrees down. Crash was so abrupt that concentrated debris: didn't show much evidence of the cause."

Wreckage
Until the 1970s, this bomber remained on the top of a hill near the Moitaka Wildlife Farm.

Bruce Hoy reports:
"On a hill behind the wildlife farm at Moitaka was the remains of this B-17, with just the wing spars and engines plus smaller items.  With squatters now nearby, perhaps nothing remains."

Memorials
The four crew members killed in the crash were officially declared dead they day of the mission. Postwar, their remains were transported to Hawaii and the United States for permanent burial.

Postwar, three of the crew were permanently buried at National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific (Punchbowl). Freeman at plot F row 0 grave 662. Iverson at plot B row 0 grave 1079. Wright at plot B row 0 grave 643.

Smith is buried at Camp Butler National Cemetery in Springfield, IL at plot 3, grave 923-M.
Moy is buried at Wilburton City Cemetery in Wilburton, OK.
McFarland is buried at Gettysburg National Cemetery in Gettysburg, PA at section 2, row 2, grave 53.

Relatives
David Smith (great-nephew of Clinton Smith)
"Smith was born January 28, 1920 Chesterhill, Morgan County, Ohio."

References
Hassemer, Operations Officer 43rd Bomb Group:
"[This B-17] went into a steep wing level glide while turning on finals and crashed into a hill between Wards Drome and Jacksons Drome. Angle of crash was estimated to be about 35 degrees down. Crash was so abrupt that concentrated debris: didn't shay much evidence of the cause."
Cadiz Republic "Fortress Pilot Killed In Action" December 17, 1942
PNG Museum Aircraft Status Card - B-17E 41-2445
Joe Baugher's Aircraft Serial Number "crashed into hill at Port Moresby Dec 2, 1942."
FindAGrave - Robert K Freeman (photo, grave photo)
FindAGrave - Clinton L Smith (grave photo)
FindAGrave - Lieut Harry L. Moy (grave photo)
FindAGrave - James M Iverson (grave photo)
FindAGrave - Corp Morris McFarland (grave photo, obituary)
FindAGrave - Corp Robert F Wright (grave photo)
Thanks to Bruce Hoy and Steve Birdsall for additional information

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Last Updated
February 4, 2018

 

Tech Info
B-17

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