Pacific Wrecks
Pacific Wrecks    
  Missing In Action (MIA) Prisoners Of War (POW) Unexploded Ordnance (UXO)  
Chronology Locations Aircraft Ships Submit Info How You Can Help Donate
 
  B-24D-15-CO Liberator Serial Number 41-23970  
USAAF
11th AF
28th CG
36th BS

Pilot  1st Lt. Don J. Gilliland, O-435763 (MIA / KIA) TX
Co-Pilot  2nd Lt. Donald G. Walker, O-726523 (MIA / KIA) CA
Navigator  2nd Lt. Travis V. Hodges, O-660863 (MIA / KIA) Delight, AR
Bombardier  2nd Julius Keller, O-728494 (MIA / KIA) MO
Engineer  TSgt John D. Helm, 6934736 (MIA / KIA) KS
Asst Engineer  Sgt Harold A. Swetland, 6913973 (MIA / KIA) OH
Radio  TSgt Grady W. Anglin, 18018795 (MIA / KIA) TX
Belly Gunenr  Sgt Lonnie I. Sewell, 18018793 (MIA / KIA) TX
Tail Gunner  Sgt Jes S. McArthur, 18008703 (MIA / KIA) TX
Photographer  Cpl John V. Beulick
, 36395716 (MIA / KIA) IL
Passenger  Cpl Stanley G. Harmon, Jr., 20916502 (MIA / KIA) CA
Crashed  April 15, 1943
MACR  16219

Aircraft History
Built by Consolidated at San Diego. Constructors Number 765. Delivered to the U. S. Army Air Force (USAAF) as B-24D-15-CO Liberator serial number 41-23970.

Wartime History
Assigned to the 11th Air Force, 28th Bombardment Group (28th Composite Group), 36th Bombardment Squadron. No known nickname or nose art.

Mission History
On April 15, 1943 took off piloted by 1st Lt. Don J. Gilliland on a bombing mission against Kiska Island. Aboard was passenger Cpl Stanley G. Harmon, Jr. who was normally a cook and was a stowaway. Over the target, this B-24 was shot down by anti-aircraft fire over Kiska Harbor and crashed into the sea roughly 300 yards east of North Head. When this bomber failed to return it was officially listed as Missing In Action (MIA).

Memorials
The entire crew were officially declared dead the day of the mission. All are memorialized at National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific (Punchbowl) on the courts of the missing. Gilliland, Hodges, Keller. Anglin, Helm, Sewell, Harmon and Beulick on court 7. Walker and Swetland on court 5.

Gilliland earned the Distinguished Flying Cross (DFC) and Purple Heart, posthumously.

Hodges earned the Air Medal and Purple Heart, posthumously.

Walker earned the Air Medal and Purple Heart, posthumously. He also has a memorial marker at Belmont Memorial Park in Fresno, CA in the family plot.

Keller earned the Air Medal and Purple Heart, posthumously. He also has a memorial marker at Walnut Ridge Cemetery in Fayette, MO.

Helm earned the Air Medal and Purple Heart, posthumously. He also has a memorial marker at Skyline Memorial Gardens in Portland, OR.

Swetland earned the Air Medal and Purple Heart, posthumously. He also has a memorial marker at Fairview Cemetery in Belle Center, OH.

Anglin earned the Air Medal and Purple Heart, posthumously.

Sewell earned the Air Medal and Purple Heart, posthumously.

McArthur earned the Air Medal and Purple Heart, posthumously.

Harmon earned the Purple Heart, posthumously.

Beulick earned the Air Medal and Purple Heart, posthumously.

Relatives
Elizabeth Garcia (relative Harold Swetland)
"My relative is Harold Swetland. I have been in contact with family of 10 of the 11 boys on this flight. I have more info I can share. I've spent five years researching these 11 young men, working on making a web section on our private website and eventually making a shutterfly book for the families. So, I would be happy to share! Especially in hopes that along down the road someone might be looking and I might find out more!"

References
USAF Serial Number Search Results - B-24D-15-CO Liberator 41-23970
"23970 (28th BG, 21st BS) lost in Pacific Apr 15, 1943."
N. D. Communique No. 346 April 17, 1943 North Pacific
"On April 15, Japanese installations at Kiska were attacked thirteen times by formations of U. S. Army planes. Liberator heavy bombers (Consolidated B-24), Mitchell medium bombers (North American B-25), and Lightning and Warhawk fighters carried out these raids. Many hits were scored in the main camp and on the runway and hangar areas, causing numerous fires and explosions. One heavy bomber was shot down by enemy antiaircraft fire."
Missing Air Crew Report 16219 (MACR 16219) was created retroactively circa 1945-1946
(Page 1) Incorrectly lists B-24 serial number "41-3970" [sic, 41-23970]
(Page 2) "Plane shot down over Kiska Harbor, North American area. B-24 was shot down by enemy anti-aircraft fire over Kiska, Alaska. Plane fell in flames into water about 300 yards east of North Head. No one got out. Strafed by Jap guns in the water."
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - Don J. Gilliland
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - Donald G. Walker
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - Travis V. Hodges
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - Julius Keller
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - Grady W. Anglin
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - John D. Helm
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - Harold A. Swetland
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - Lonnie I. Sewell
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - Jes S. McArthur
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - Stanley G. Harmon
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - John V. Beulick
FindAGrave - 1Lt Don Joseph Gilliland (photo, courts of the missing photo)
FindAGrave - 2Lt Donald George Walker (courts of the missing photo)
FindAGrave - Lieut Donald George Walker (memorial marker photo)
FindAGrave - 2LT Travis Vestal Hodges (courts of the missing photo)
FindAGrave - 2LT Travis Vestal Hodges (photos, courts of the missing photo)
FindAGrave - 2Lt Julius Keller (courts of the missing photo)
FindAGrave - Lieut Julius Keller (memorial marker photo)
FindAGrave - TSgt John DeWane “Johnny” Helm (courts of the missing photo)
FindAGrave - TSGT John DeWane “Johnny” Helm (memorial marker photo)
FindAGrave - Sgt Harold Alton Swetland (courts of the missing photo)
FindAGrave - Sgt Harold Alton Swetland (photo, memorial marker photo)
FindAGrave - TSgt Grady W Anglin (courts of the missing photo)
FindAGrave - Sgt Grady W. Anglin
FindAGrave - Lonnie I. Sewell
FindAGrave - Jes S. McArthur
FindAGrave - John V. Beulick
FindAGrave - Stanley G. Harmon, Jr.
Thanks to David Schurhammer and Elizabeth Garcia for additional information

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

Last Updated
August 10, 2019

 

Tech Information
B-24

Tech Information
MIA
11 Missing
  Discussion Forum Daily Updates Reviews Museums Interviews & Oral Histories  
 
Pacific Wrecks Inc. All rights reserved.
Donate Now Facebook Twitter YouTube Google Plus Instagram