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  B-24D-7-CO Liberator Serial Number 41-23835  
USAAF
5th AF
90th BG
320th BS

Pilot  1st Lt. Harold M. Adams, O-435835 (MIA / KIA, BR) TX
Co-Pilot  2nd Lt. Alexander S. Dewar, O-790223 (MIA / KIA, BR) NY
Crew  TSgt John P Beecroft, 12039537 (MIA / KIA, BR)
Crew  SSgt SSgt Paul E Zogg, 35376189 (MIA / KIA, BR) WV
Crew  SSgt Sol Allen, 19079962
(MIA / KIA, BR)
Crew  2nd Lt. Truman C Metcalf, O-726925 (MIA / KIA, BR)
Crew  2nd Lt. Warren H. Sleeper, O-727930 (MIA / KIA, BR)
Crew  SSgt William M. Gretka, 12044281 (MIA / KIA, BR)
Crew  Leonard H. Sooter, 39019029
(MIA / KIA, BR)
Crashed  December 18, 1942
MACR  15388

Aircraft History
Built by Consolidated at San Diego. Delivered to the U. S. Army. Ferried overseas via Hickam Field across the Pacific to Australia.

Wartime History
Assigned to the 5th Air Force, 90th Bombardment Group, 320th Bombardment Squadron. No known nose art or nickname.

Mission History
On December 18, 1942 one of five B-24s that took off from Iron Range Airfield at 4:00pm piloted by 1st Lt. Harold M. Adams on a bombing mission against a Japanese convoy between New Guinea and New Britain. The formation was led by Captain Roy W. Taylor.

Over the Owen Stanley Mountains in New Guinea, the flight experienced an afternoon build up of clouds and caused the formation to break up and severe turbulance, icing, up and down drafts that caused gyroscope failures. This B-24 was last seen entering the overcast and failed to return. One of the other B-24s aborted the mission and landed at Milne Bay. Due to the bad weather, only two of the B-24 found the convoy and bombed the vessels claiming near misses in the darkness. The rest of the formation bombed Lae instead then landed at Milne Bay.

When this B-24 failed to return, the entire crew was officially declared Missing In Action (MIA). In fact, this B-24 crashed roughly 8 miles northwest of Bulldog.

Wreckage
Afterwards, the crash site was located by ANGAU (Australia New Guinea Administrative Unit) and the remains of the crew were recovered.

Memorials
The entire crew was officially declared dead the day of the mission. After the recovery of the remains, the crew were transported to the United States for permanent burial.

Adams was buried at Oak Grove Cemetery in Walnut Springs, TX.

Six of the crew are buried in a group burial at Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery at section 82 site 153 including Beecroft, Allen, Metcalf, Sleeper, Gretka and Sooter.

Two of the crew are buried at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific (Punchbowl) Dewar at plot B grave 542 and Zogg at plot F grave 800. Adams is buried at Oak Grove Cemetery in Walnut Springs, TX.

References
Missing Air Crew Report 15388 (MACR 15388)
FindAGrave - 1LT Harold M Adams (grave photo)
FindAGrave - Lieut Alexander S Dewar (grave photo)
FindAGrave - John P Beecroft (grave photo)
FindAGrave - SSgt Paul E Zogg (grave photo)
FIndAGrave - Sgt Sol Allen (grave photo)
FindAGrave - Warren H Sleeper (grave photo)
FindAGrave - William M. Gretka (grave photo)
FindAGrave - Leonard H Sooter (grave photo)
FindAGrave - Truman C Metcalf (grave photo)
PNG Museum Aircraft Status Card - B-24D Liberator piloted by Adams
Legacy of the 90th Bombardment Group page 27-28

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Last Updated
February 4, 2018

 

Tech Information
B-24

MIA
MIA
9 Missing
Resolved
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