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  B-24D-80-CO "Alley Cat" Serial Number 42-40646  
USAAF
13th AF
307th BG
72nd BS

Former Assignments
5th BG
72md BS

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Jeff Johnson 1997

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John Laird 2003

Pilot  2nd Lt Raymond W. Prince (KIA, BR)
Crew  2nd Lt Thomas L. McConnell, O-736281 (KIA, BR) Wichita, KS
Crew  2nd Lt Arnold H. Recknagel, O-667430 (KIA, BR) MI
Crew  2nd Lt Louis Z. Orihuela (KIA, BR) Tampa, FL
Crew  2nd Lt James L. Taylor (KIA, BR)
Crew  TSgt Dayle C. Potter, 16028767 (KIA, BR) IL
Crew  Sgt Emery E. Jacaway, 16054655 (KIA, BR) IL
Radio/Gunner  Sgt Warren S. Ryan (KIA, BR) Milwaukee, WI
Crew  SSgt Delvan E. Hazelrigg, 424th BS (KIA, BR) Macon, IL
Crew  Pvt William Rothman (KIA, BR) NY
Crew  Pvt Peter J. Tenorella
(KIA, BR)
Crashed  July 10, 1943
MACR  none

Aircraft History
Built by Consolidated at San Diego using funds F-1, order number AC-24620 at a cost of $297,627.00. Constructors Number 1723. On April 14, 1943, delivered to the U. S. Army Air Force (USAAF) as B-24D-80-CO Liberator Serial Number 42-40646. Ferried overseas via Hickam Field then across the Pacific to the South Pacific.

Wartime History
Assigned to the 13th Air Force, 5th Bombardment Group, 72nd Bombardment Squadron. Later, assigned to the 307th Bombardment Group, 424th Bombardment Squadron. Possibly, this B-24 was nicknamed "Alley Cat".

Mission History
On July 10, 1943 took off from Carney Field (Bomber 2) on Guadalcanal on a bombing mission against Kahili on Bougainville. Returning from the mission, an American radar operator at Cape Esperance reported a large plane was tracked four miles inland then disappeared. For reasons unknown, this B-24 crashed onto a ridge inland from Cape Esperance, killing the entire crew on impact. This B-24 was officially condemned on December 1, 1943.

Search
The next morning, Fred and Ed McConnell of the 424th Bombardment Squadron searched from an altitude of 1,500' and spotted the wreckage of a B-24 in a ravine inland from Yenton Point on Cape Esperance. The position of the crash indicated that the bomber was approaching from the sea (flying north to south).

Recovery of Remains
After the crash site was located, a U. S. team recovered the remains of the crew.

Memorials
After the recover of remains, the crew was buried at the American Cemetery Guadalcanal. Postwar, their remains were transported to the United States for permanent burial.

Three of the crew are buried at National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific (Punchbowl). McConnell at Plot B, Row 0 Grave 1195. Recknagel at section B site 652. Jacaway at section N site 65.
Rothman is buried at Long Island National Cemetery at section H site 8316.
Orihuela is buried at Barrancas National Cemetery at plot 20, 0, 5.
Ryan at Holy Sepulchre Cemetery, Southfield, MI at plot section 27.
Taylor is buried at Willow Dale Cemetery in Goldsboro, NC at section 1.
Potter has a grave/memorial marker at Fairfield Cemetery in Newman, IL / Woodlawn Cemetery Urbana, IL.

Wreckage
The crash site of this B-24 remains but has been scattered down the mountain by landslides and erosion. During 1997, rediscovered with the U. S. star and tail serial number "240646" clearly visible on the tail.

Jeff Johnson visited the site in 1997 and reports:
"While I was at the Vila War Museum, the curator, told of us a 'B-17' that had recently been found. He offered to take us there for $50. As it was a long hike, we set out early the next morning. We started on a grassy plain and started up a jungle trail alongside a small stream at the base of the ridge.

The first thing we saw was a crumpled supercharger from one of the engines about 2500 feet away from the main crash site. It appeared that the rains had flushed a number of parts down the ridge and some pieces had been thrown clear on the initial impact. As we hiked up a 50 to 70 degree incline for the next hour, we saw various pieces of fuselage. We then ran across one of the landing gear.

We finally reached the site and saw a large piece of fuselage, the waist section, pointed straight down into the ground. There was numerous live .50 cal rounds scattered about. You could still make out the American star on the port side. A little further away was a number of bent propeller blades and the tail section. On this tail section in yellow letters about 5 inches high was the number '240640'.

After rummaging around, we found a single .50 cal machine gun in a very rusted state without the barrel. Sections of wing and the elevators were also about. It was a great experience and the highlight of my sail across the South Pacific."

During the 2003, RAMSI operations, Australian Defense Force soldiers visited the crash site. They recovered one 50 caliber machine gun from the site and transported it to GBR at Honiara. Later, it was donated to the Solomon Islands Museum.

Memorials
The entire crew was officially declared dead the day of the mission. After the recovery of remains, the remains of the crew were transported to the United States for permanent burial.

Three of the crew are buried at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific (Punchbowl). McConnell at section B, site 1195. Recknagel at section B, site 652. Jacaway at section N, site 65.

Prince has an unknown burial likely in his hometown.
Orihuela is buried at Barrancas National Cemetery in Pensacola, FL at 20, 0, 5.
Taylor is buried at Willow Dale Cemetery in Goldsboro, NC at plot section 1.
Potter is buried at Fairfield Cemetery in Newman, IL.
Potter also has a memorial marker at Woodlawn Cemetery in Urbana, IL.
Ryan is buried at Holy Sepulchre Cemetery in Southfield, MI at section 27.
Hazelrigg is buried at Graceland Cemetery in Decatur, IL.
Rothman is buried at Long Island National Cemetery at plot H, site 8316.
Tenorella has an unknown burial likely in his hometown.

References
USAF Serial Number Search Results - B-24D-80-CO Liberator 42-40646

Diary of Oscar C. Fitzhenry - July 11, 1943
"Price [sic Prince] (307th) and crew were reported killed last night / one plane crashed Mt., July 9 [sic, July 10] - all crew killed (Price and crew)"
NARA World War II Army Enlistment Records - Arnold H. Recknagel
NARA World War II Army Enlistment Records - Louis Orihuela
NARA World War II Army Enlistment Records - Dayle C. Potter
NARA World War II Army Enlistment Records - Emery E. Jacaway
NARA World War II Army Enlistment Records - Delvan E. Hazelrigg

The Long Rangers: A Diary of the 307th Bombardment Group (H)

Wichita State University Libraries Special Collections - McConnell Air Force Base, McConnell Brothers [PDF]
FindAGrave - Thomas L McConnell (photo, news, grave photo)
FindAGrave - Lieut Arnold H Recknagel (grave photo)
FindAGrave - Louis Orihuela (grave photo)
FindAGrave - James L. Taylor
FindAGrave - Dayle C Potter (Fairfield Cemetery photo)
FindAGrave - Sgt Dayle C. Potter (grave photo)
FindAGrave - SGT Emery E Jacaway (grave photo)
FindAGrave - Sgt Warren A Ryan (grave photo)
FindAGrave - Delvan E Hazelrigg (grave photo)
FindAGrave - William Rothman (grave photo)
Thanks to Jeff Johnson for additional information

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Last Updated
September 20, 2018

 

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B-24

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