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|Pilot Captain Uhner Newman (survived)
Co-Pilot Eugene J. Marx (survived) Gregory, SD
Navigator Jack Newton (survived)
Crew Sgt John L Knisley (KIA, BR) PA
Crew Henry Wolf (survived)
Crew Silas Bell (survived)
Crew Anthony Chudsik (survived)
Crew Wayne Shirley (survived)
Crew George Gathers (survived)
Crashed February 16, 1943
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 "The Bad Penny" 41-23899 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, ferried across the Pacific and operated from Guadalcanal. After the crash, officially written off on June 11, 1945.
When morning came, they discovered they were over Marovo Lagoon off New Georgia. While circling over the lagoon, the engines cut out one by one due to fuel starvation. The entire crew bailed out with the bomber set on auto pilot. The plane continued to circle by itself, gradually loosing height until it crashed into one of barrier islands. The only member of the crew was killed.
Fates of the Crew
Paul Sodemann reports:
Display The nose art is incorrectly listed as "Blondie". Traces
of the yellow "Bundles" are visible, and the girl in a red dress.
The nose art is incorrectly listed as "Blondie". Traces of the yellow "Bundles" are visible, and the girl in a red dress.
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