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  B-24D-35-CO Liberator Serial Number 42-40210  
USAAF
13th AF
5th BG
72nd BS

Pilot  Captain Charles K. Frampton, O-727204 (MIA) CA
Co-Pilot  1st Lt. Wilder G. Purdy, O-793169 (MIA) Gardiner, ME
Navigator  John X. Farrar, Jr., O-792449 (MIA) Westerville, OH
Bombardier  1st Lt. Charles E. Konkle, 0-735879 (MIA) Amarilo, TX
Asst Bombardier  1st Lt. Walter A. Shephard, O-730824 (MIA) Johnson City, TN
Engineer  TSgt Leonard W. Shofler, 37135172 (MIA) Joplin, MO
Asst Engineer  Sgt Robert W. Betts, 10100404 (MIA) Youngstown, OH
Radio  TSgt Grady M. Russell, 35256218 (MIA) Kevil, KY
Asst Radio  Cpl Gilbert L. Landerud, 37274371 (MIA / KIA) Minn, MN
Gunner  SSgt Earl T. Howard, 37088667 (MIA) Rowlins, WY
Gunner  SSgt John T. Reardon, 11052388 (MIA) Boston, MA

MIA  October 10, 1943 at 11:25 aprox
MACR  803

Aircraft History
Built by Consolidated at San Deigo. Delivered to the U. S. Army. Ferried overseas via Hawaii to the South Pacific.

Wartime History
Assigned to the 13th Air Force, 5th Bombardment Group, 72th Bombardment Squadron. No known nickname or nose art.

Mission History
On October 10, 1943 took off on a bombing mission against Kahili Airfield on southern Bougainville. This B-24 was leading the second element of bombers along with 24 B-24's, 50+ P-38's but experienced bad weather on the route to the target. Also, P-40's, and P-39's, and 50+ USN fighters and dive bombers participated, including eight F4Us from VMF-214 'The Black Sheep', but two aborted due to mechanical failures.

The formation attacked Kahili Airfield and surrounding areas, hitting runways, a fuel dump, supply area, buildings, the Navy dive bombers hit Malabita Hill gun positions. The bombing was not accurate with about half the bombs falling into the water off Bougainville 'killing many small fish'. Jumped by 10-15 Zeros, and fired on by accurate anti-aircraft guns around Kahili and Ballale.

Two B-24s were damaged. This bomber was attacked by a Zeke from 2 o'clock between bomber #1 and #2 and the third element. This bomber was hit and engines #2 and #3 were observed to burst into flames, and it held position for 30-40 seconds then went into a glide, pulled up momentarily and then went into a spin at 15,000', burning and gray-white smoke was observed pouring form the waist windows. Three of the crew were observed to bail out from the rear hatch, followed by two other crew bailing out later. The bomber was seen to crash into the sea be did not immediately break up. Bomber crashed between Fauro and Choiseul, MACR estimates the position to be 15 miles north-west of Choiseul. The parachutes were strafed by Japanese fighters as they descended.

Search
That afternoon, a PBY Catalina was sent to search for this crew, escorted by 16 F4U Corsairs, eight P-40s of the RNZAF and 11 P-38s from Munda Airfield at 14:45 to search for survivors. They searched as far north as Kieta but failed to locate any of the crew.

Memorials
The entire crew was declared dead on October 10, 1943. Memorialized on the tablets of the missing at Manila American Cemetery.

Relatives
Doublet_kc (nephew of Charles Konkle)
"My uncle, Lt. Charles Konkle was a Bombardier in B-24's with the 13th AAF, 5th Bomb Group, 72nd Bomb Squadron. His plane, a B-24D named "My Baby Bubb" was shot down by Japanese Zero fighters near Bougainville Island on October 10, 1943. The plane and crew were never found. I have a very high level of interest in this aspect of WWII and will appreciate any information that can be provided about the 13th AAF during this period of the war."

References
Missing Air Crew Report 803 (MACR 803)
The Black Sheep page 248-250

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Last Updated
January 5, 2018

 

Tech Information
B-24

MIA
MIA
11 Missing

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