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  B-24D-30-CO "Joltin' Janie" Serial Number 42-40065  
USAAF
5th AF
43rd BG
403rd BS

Former Assignments
90th BG
321th BS

Click For Enlargement
Click For Enlargement
circa 1943

Click For Enlargement

July 13, 1944

Pilot  2nd Lt. Povlsen (survived)
Co-Pilot  Major Joshua H. Barnes, C. O., 65th BS (survived)
Crew Chief
 TSgt Thomas H. Skorczewski (KIA, BR) MN

Ditched  September 9, 1943
MACR  none

Aircraft History
Built by Consolidated at San Diego for $297,627.00 on September 12, 1943. Delivered to the U. S. Army on December 15, 1942. Ferried overseas via Hawaii to Australia arriving around April 14, 1943.

Wartime History
Assigned to the 5th Air Force, 90th Bombardment Group, 321st Bombardment Squadron. This B-24 flew many combat missions over New Guinea during 1943. Next, assigned to the 43rd Bombardment Group, 403rd Bombardment Squadron. Pilot Bill Martin nicknamed it "Joltin Janie" after his wife. The nose art depicted a Walt Disney "Thumper" bunny rabbit.

Mission History
Took off from Port Moresby on a training flight for co-pilot Barnes who was transitioning from B-17s to B-24s. Crew Chief Skorczewski asked to join the flight, but Barnes refused. Instead, he stowed away inside the bomber.

After take off, the landing gear did not raise nor did the B-24 gain altitude above 200' so the the pilots decided to ditch into Bootless Bay near Oyster Bay. During the ditching, the bomb bay doors were ripped off and the fuselage broken and Skorczewski was killed in the crash. After its ditching, Martin named his next aircraft B-24D "Joltin Janie II" 42-40233.

Wreckage
This aircraft was largely intact after the war, but gradually pieces have been removed by villagers for scrap metal. By the 1980s all that remained was the wings and center fuselage.

Memorials
Skorczewski is buried at Saints Peter and Paul Catholic Cemetery in Ivanhoe, MN. He has a military marker and is listed on his parents grave stone.

References
AFLC 42-40065
PNG Museum Aircraft Status Card - B-24D Liberator 42-40065
Wrecks & Reefs page 130-131
FindAGrave - Thomas Skorczewski (grave photo)

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Last Updated
January 5, 2018

 

Tech Information
B-24
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