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  B-24D-5-CO "Little Eva" Serial Number 41-23772  
USAAF
5th AF
90th BG
320th BS

Click For Enlargement
90th BG c1942

Pilot  2nd Lt. Dayton S. Altman, Jr., O-659626 (MIA / KIA) SC
Co-Pilot  Lt. Norman D. Smith O-661983 (survived)
Navigator
 2nd Lt. William H. Hoyt, Jr., O-660493 (MIA / KIA) TN
Bombardier  2nd Lt. Herbert H. Gardner, O-727630 (MIA / KIA) GA
Crew  TSgt Freddie K. Affeld, 15082101 (MIA / KIA) IN
Radio  TSgt Francis M. Brigham, 11010936 (MIA / KIA) CT
Crew  SSgt Vincent H. Calise, 32199356 (MIA / KIA) NY
Crew  SSgt John F. Ratliff, 13035569 (MIA / KIA) VA
Crew  SSgt Francis H. Bogucki, 11010977 (MIA / KIA) CT

Ditched  January 9, 1943
MACR  764 / 15683

Aircraft History
Built by Consolidated at San Diego. Delivered to the U. S. Army. Ferried overseas via Hawaii to Australia.

Wartime History
Assigned to the 5th Air Force, 90th Bombardment Group, 320th Bombardment Squadron. Nicknamed "Little Eva". Pilot Crosson of B-24D "Little Eva" 41-23762 requested exclusive rights to this nickname, but this bomber crashed before it could be removed or renamed.

Mission History
On January 9, 1943 took off from 7 Mile Drome near Port Moresby on a bombing mission against a Japanese convoy bound for Lae, sighted east of Finscahfen in the Huon Gulf. This B-24 was given the convoy's position via radio and flew to the target at 7,000' though broken clouds and did not spot the convoy until they overflew it.

As the B-24 made its bomb run, it was attacked by eight escorting Zeros attacking in pairs, making seven or eight passes head on. The nose gun ceased firing and a shell severely wounded pilot Altman was in his head and also hurt the radio operator Brigham.

Taking the controls, co-pilot Smith dove down to 2,000' and tried to evade the Zeros in clouds, but they continued to damage the bomber, setting the no. 3 engine on fire, but was extinguished using the the fire extinguisher, but the no. 2 engine also caught fire and was extinguished, but the propeller would no feather. Smith called for the crew to prepare to ditch, but none responded.

Smith and wounded Altman tried to make a smooth water landing, but suffered a violent impact, submerging the nose section. Smith was able to escape through the cockpit window and shouted for others, but none responded. Swimming to a floating life raft, the plane sank presumably with the rest of the crew aboard. Alone, Smith rowed to shore.

Memorials
The dead crew members was officially declared dead the day of the mission. All are memorialized on the tablets of the missing at Manila American Cemetery.

Relatives
Dayton Altman (nephew of Lt. Dayton Altman)

References
Missing Air Crew Report 764 (MACR 764), Missing Air Crew Report 15683 (MACR 15683)
PNG Museum Aircraft Status Card - B-24D Liberator 41-23772
The Jolly Rogers pages 30-31, 195

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Last Updated
February 4, 2018

 

Tech Information
B-24

MIA
MIA
8 Missing

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