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  B-24D-15-CO Liberator Serial Number 41-23973  
USAAF
11th AF
28th CG
36th BS

Pilot  1st Lt. Robert Geatches, O-670520 (KIA, BR)
Co-Pilot  2nd Lt. Robert D. Moss, O-812642 (survived)
Navigator  2nd Lt. Richard R. Chapman, O-695876 (KIA, BR)
Bombardier  2nd Lt. James S. Lawrence, O-678372 (KIA, BR)
Passenger  1st Lt. William J. Grace, O-855602 (minor injuries, survived)
Engineer  SSgt Martin Woogen, 12218427 (minor injuries, survived)
Radio  SSgt Lyle G. Strathman, 37658790 (KIA, BR)
Asst Engineer  Sgt John A. Eubanks, 14097147 (KIA, BR)
Gunner  Sgt Llewellyn G. Thien, 32751204 (survived)
Asst Engineer  SSgt Robert W. Smith, 15335007 (survived)

Radar  SSgt Oscar W. Windham, 33374571 (survived)
Photographer  TSgt Roy W. Both, 36033872 (MIA / KIA, BR) Chicago, IL
Crashed  September 3, 1944
MACR  15767

Aircraft History
Built by Consolidated at San Diego. Constructors Number 768. Delivered to the U. S. Army Air Force (USAAF) as B-24D-15-CO Liberator serial number 41-23973.

Wartime History
Assigned to the 11th Air Force, 28th Bombardment Group (28th Composite Group), 404th Bombardment Squadron. No known nickname or nose art.

Mission History
On September 3, 1944 at 1:22pm took off from Elmendorf Field piloted by 1st Lt. Robert Geatches on a flight bound for Adak Airfield. While flying northeast of Iliamna, this bomber suffered an explosion in the air that caused a fire in the no. 2 engine. When it failed to arrive it was officially listed as Missing In Action (MIA).

Fates of the Crew
Six of the crew survived the crash: Moss, Grace, Woogen, Thien, Smith and Windham. On September 13, 1944 the survivors were rescued and transported to Iliamna then back to Elmendorf Field where they were briefly hospitalized then returned to duty with the exception of Woogen who had foot problems.

Wreckage
On September 15, 1944 the crash site was located at roughly Lat 59.59N Long 154.08W and the bodies of the five crew members located and recovered.

Recovery of Remains
On September 18, 1944 the remains of five of the crew were recovered and later identified as Geatches, Lawrence, Chapman, Strathman and Eubanks and were transported back to Elmendorf Field by September 22, 1944 and afterwards, buried at Fort Richardson Post Cemetery.

Both remained listed as Missing In Action (MIA) until his body was located and recovered on September 29, 1944 and was later transported to back to to Elmendorf Field. Afterwards, buried at Fort Richardson Post Cemetery until permanently buried in Sika National Cemetery.

Memorials
Both is buried at Sika National Cemetery at section AA, site 10.

References
USAF Serial Number Search Results - B-24D-15-CO Liberator 41-23973
Missing Air Crew Report 15767 (MACR 15767) created September 6, 1944
Benton Harbor News "Tech. Sgt. Roy Both Killed in Alaska" October 11, 1944
Thanks to David Schurhammer for additional information

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Last Updated
August 10, 2019

 

Tech Information
B-24
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