|Pilot ? (survived)
Engineer Sgt Purpura (survived)
Photographer TSgt Shaweker (survived)
Crash Landing December 26, 1942
Built by Consolidated at San Diego. Constructors Number 361. Delivered to the U. S. Army. Ferried overseas via Hawaii to Australia.
Assigned to the 5th Air Force, 90th Bombardment Group, 320th Bombardment Squadron. Later, assigned to the 400th Bombardment Squadron. Nicknamed 'Wilco' on the side of the nose in white block letters with quotation marks on each side.
On December 25, 1942 took off from off 5 Mile Drome (Wards) near Port Moresby on a night mission against Rabaul. This was the first nighttime mass raid again Rabaul by the 5th Air Force. Aboard was engineer Sgt Purpura and photographer TSgt Shaweker. Over the target, visibility was very good but the surrounding area was cloudy. During the first bomb run, the bomb bay doors malfunctioned, creeping and preventing the bombs from being released. The second bomb run was made through heavy anti-aircraft fire. On the ground, incendiaries started fires in the Rabaul town area. Returning on December 26, 1942, this B-24 crashed on landing. The landing completely demolished the underside of the fuselage, landing gear and propeller tips. No one aboard was injured.
On December 28, 1942 officially written off. Afterwards, written off and scrapped or otherwise disappeared.
Note some source incorrectly state this bomber was nicknamed "Heavenly Body". Other sources incorrectly state this B-24 was lost on December 28, 1942, but this was the date it was officially written off.
Thanks to Pete Johnston for additional information.
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January 5, 2018