Pacific Wrecks
Pacific Wrecks   Donate Now  
Search Chronology Locations Aircraft Vessels Missing In Action (MIA)
 
  B-24D-10-CO "The Bad Penny" Serial Number 41-23899  
USAAF
13th AF
7th ADS

Former Assignments
307th BG
370th BS

Pilot  1st Lt. Harold E. Surbaugh, O-672897 307th BG, 370th BS (MIA / KIA) Champaign, IL
Co-Pilot  2nd Lt. Thomas J. Price, O-801394 (rescued)
Navigator  1st Lt. Charles L. Ogg, O-390814 (rescued)
Engineer  SSgt Stanley A. Okon, 32380081 7 ADS (MIA / KIA) Erie County, NY
Radio  Pfc Stephen F. Sakalski, 33355550 (rescued)
Passenger  Captain R. S. Taylor, SIDF (MIA / KIA)

Ditched  May 1, 1944
MACR  16546

Aircraft History
Built by Consolidated at San Diego. Constructors Number 694. Fort Worth modification center line number 88. Delivered to the U. S. Army on September 8, 1942 as B-24D-10-CO Liberator serial number 41-23899.

On September 22, 1942 at St. Joseph then on September 29, 1942 at Consolidated. On October 21, 1942 to Sioux City and October 23, 1942 to Sacramento Air Depot (SAD).

On October 26, 1942 flown from Hamilton Field on a ferry flight to Hickam Field as part of the cadre of the 307th Bombardment Group. The ferry crew included pilot 2/Lt Buford B. Flahaven, co-pilot 2/Lt John H Ralph, bombardier 2/Lt Moses Payton, navigator 2/Lt Michael J Hriczko, 2nd navigator 2/Lt Walter C Witherspoon, Engineer S/Sgt John W Anderson, Engineer, radio operator S/Sgt Stanley W. Maperkoski, assistant engineer S/Sgt James M Faulkenberry, and S/Sgt assistant radio operator John E Fanning and tail gunner Sgt Donald J Potter.

Assigned Project Number 30044 and afterwards ferried overseas across the Pacific to the South Pacific.

Wartime History
Assigned to the 13th Air Force, 307th Bombardment Group, 370th Bombardment Squadron. Nicknamed "The Bad Penny" with the nose art of a penny with "One Cent U.S.A." with wings, a halo plus devil horns and a tail.

On December 21, 1942 took off from Oahu on a flight to Midway Airfield to stage for a bombing mission against Wake Island.

On December 22, 1942 one of twenty-six B-24s from the 307th Bombardment Group took off from Midway Airfield on December 21, 1942 at 4:30pm and climbed to 10,000' for a night bombing mission against Wake Island. Participating bombers include this bomber plus B-24D "Bundles For Japan" 41-23965 and B-24D "Flying Gator" 41-23898. Over the target at December 23, 1942 from midnight until 12:40am, the B-24s bombed one of nine targets from 4,000' making a single bomb run. The B-24s were armed with five 500 pound general purpose bombs, with some fused with 1/10 second delay fuses for specific targets, the rest with instantaneous fuses. The Japanese appeared to be caught off guard and did not offer a coordinated defense, with anti-aircraft fire and search lights not beginning until the raid began and described as light and mostly from machine guns with some heavy anti-aircraft guns. Search lights did not seem to be coordinated with anti-aircraft fire and caught only a quarter of the formation in their beams. Four enemy aircraft were believed to be in the air but did not intercept. Afterwards, the formation returned to 10,000' and returned to Midway Airfield and landed between 5:50am to 7:30am. No B-24s were lost or crew members injured. Only slight superficial damage was sustained on two bombers. In total, this mission spanned over 4,300 nautical miles and reported in the press as a Christmas Eve attack.

Afterwards, flown back to Oahu then ferried overseas across the Pacific to the South Pacific. During early 1943 until early 1944, this bomber flew combat missions in the South Pacific based at Henderson Field and Carney Field on Guadalcanal.

Later, the original green house nose was replaced with a nose turret. On the left side of the nose was painted "899" (the last three digits of the serial number). A scoreboard with Japanese flags indicating enemy aircraft claimed shot down was located on the left side of the nose below the cockpit. On April 30, 1944 condemned (CON AFMSC) as war weary.

Afterwards, assigned to the 7th Airdrome Squadron (7th ADS) and used as a transport. During late April 1944 or May 1, 1944 this B-24 flew from Henderson Field on Guadalcanal to Sydney Airport (Mascot) near Sydney with the same air crew.

Mission History
On May 1, 1944 took off from Sydney Airport (Mascot) near Sydney piloted by Surbaugh on a flight bound for Henderson Field on Guadalcanal. Aboard was passenger Captain R. S. Taylor, Solomon Islands Defence Force (SIDF) who was returning from leave in Australia. Possibly, additional non-American passengers were also aboard this flight. Due to bad weather, this B-24 ditched into the sea nine miles off the coast of Guadalcanal. When this B-24 failed to arrive it was officially declared Missing In Action (MIA).

Search
After the crash, a search was conducted over the immediate area and surrounding waters and islands but nothing was located.

Rescue
Later, Price, Ogg and Sakalski were rescued and transported to Guadalcanal.

Memorials
Surbaugh and Okon were officially declared dead on May 1, 1944. Both are memorialized on the tablets of the missing at Manila American Cemetery. Passenger Taylor was officially declared dead "between May 1-31, 1944" and is memorialized at the Bourail Memorial at Bourail Cemetery on panel 10.

References
CINCPAC "Action Report - Night Bombardment Raid, Wake Island 22-23 December 1942" December 26, 1942
Individual Aircraft Record Card (IARC) - B-24D Liberator 41-23899
NARA Electronic Army Serial Number Merged File - Harold E. Surbaugh

NARA World War II Army Enlistment Records World War II Army Enlistment Records - Stanley A. Okon

Missing Air Crew Report 16546 (MARC 16546) created retroactively on November 5, 1948
List of Names of Western Pacific Local Forces to appear The Bourail Memorial - Solomon Island Defense Force
"Captain Taylor, R. S." via Martin Hadlow
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - Harold E. Surbaugh
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - Stanley A. Okon

CWGC - R. S. Taylor
FindAGrave - 1Lt Harold E Surbaugh (tablets of the missing)
FindAGrave - SSgt Stanley A Okon (tablets of the missing)
Thanks to Bob Livingston for additional aircraft information and Martin Hadlow for information on Taylor

Contribute Information
Are you a relative or associated with any person mentioned?
Do you have photos or additional information to add?

Last Updated
May 22, 2017

 

Tech Information
B-24

MIA
MIA
3 Missing

    All rights reserved.  
  Pacific Wrecks Inc. is a non-profit 501(c)(3) charity dedicated to bringing home those Missing In Action (MIA) and leveraging new technologies in the study of World War II Pacific and the Korean War.  
Facebook Twitter YouTube Google Plus Instagram
 
Forum Updates People Museums Reviews Submit Info How You Can Help