|Pilot 1st Lt. George K. Trager, O-442557 (MIA / KIA) KS
Co-Pilot 2nd Lt Theodore Barton, O-662722 (MIA / KIA) TX
Crew 2nd Lt. George G. Radford, O-387242 (MIA / KIA) ID
Crew 2nd Lt. Hiram E. Battersby, O-728250 (MIA / KIA) PA
Crew S/Sgt. William A. Stearns, 19049588 (MIA / KIA) OK
Crew T/Sgt Hiram W. Meigs, 20467632 (MIA / KIA) AL
Crew S/Sgt Leo J. Eilts, 39679465 (MIA / KIA) NE
Crew Sgt Herman E. Selvig, 16022598 (MIA / KIA) WI
Crew Sgt Elbert H. Boyer, 36176998 (MIA / KIA) MI
Crashed February 13, 1943
Built by Consolidated in San Diego. Constructors Number 772. Delivered to the U. S. Army. Ferried overseas via Hawaii to Australia.
Assigned to the 13th Air Force, 307th Bombardment Group, 424th Bombardment Squadron. No known nose art or nickname. When lost, engines R-1830-43 serial numbers 41-23??0, 42-4820, 42-??414 and 42-42379.
On February 13, 1943 one of six B-24s that took off from Henderson Field as the second wave of a bombing mission against shipping in the Shortland-Buin area. Escorted by 4 P-38s and 7 P-40s (2 P-38s and 3 P-40s abort due to engine trouble).
Over the target, this B-24 suffered a direct hit by anti-aircraft fire over Shortland Harbor. It caught fire and disintegrated with the loss of the entire crew.
Justin Taylan adds:
"I researched this mission at the Tokyo Defense archives. A total of 39 Japanese aircraft attacked the bomber formation including: 11 Rufes (one aborted) of 802 Kōkūtai, 20 Zeros of the 252 Kōkūtai and 9 Zeros of the 204 Kōkūtai."
The entire crew was officially declared dead the day of the mission. All are memorialized on the tablets of the missing at Manila American Cemetery.
Guadalcanal and the Origins of the 13th Air Force page 180-181
Vampire Squadron, page 25-26
Kodochosho, 802 Kōkūtai, February 13, 1943
Kodochosho, 204 Kōkūtai, February 13, 1943
Kodochosho, 252 Kōkūtai, February 13, 1943
ABMC incorrectly lists Barton and Battersby as died April 13, 1943
Pilot Trager is also sometimes listed as "Traeger" in wartime records
Thanks to Paul Roales for additional information
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January 5, 2018