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  B-24D-95-CO "Mohawk" Serial Number 42-40786  
USAAF
14th AF
308th BG
373rd BS

Click For Enlargement
Nippon News Sept 1943

Pilot  2nd Lt. Earl B. Johnson, O-735385 (KIA, BR) Pasadena, CA
Co-Pilot  2nd Lt. Thomas H. Chambers, O-797468 (POW, survived) Paterson, NJ
Navigator  2nd Lt. Jack D. Quarant, O-797390 (POW, survived) New York, NY
Bombardier  2nd Lt. Joseph R. Manella, O-734953 (POW, survived) Milford, MA
Engineer  T/Sgt Earl S. Vann, 34305605 (POW, survived) Murfreesboro, NC
Radio  T/Sgt Herschell R. Nelson (KIA)
Asst Engineer
 S/Sgt Abe Trachtenberg, 13081374 (POW, survived) Ashley, PA
Ball Turret/Radio  S/Sgt William L. Lambert, 33212423 (KIA, BR) Pulaski, VA
Waist Gunner  S/Sgt Paul Cybowski, 32554616 (MIA / KIA) S. Plainfield, NJ
Tail Gunner  S/Sgt Frank D. Robbins, 37219214 (KIA, BR) Wichita, KS
Crashed  September 15, 1943 at 2:30pm
MACR  2355

Aircraft History
Built by Consolidated at San Diego. Constructor Number 1864. Delivered to the U. S. Army Air Force (USAAF) as B-24D-95-CO Liberator serial number 42-40786

.

Wartime History
Assigned to the 14th Air Force, 308th Bombardment Group, 373rd Bombardment Squadron. Nicknamed "Mohawk". When lost, engines R-1830-43 serial numbers a) 42-86860 b) 42-86940 c) 42-86768 d) 42-86939.

Mission History
On September 15, 1943 one of five B-24s that took off from Yangkai Airfield on a bombing mission against a cement plant north of Haiphong near Hanoi. While on the bomb run at 12,000', the bombers were intercepted by 50+ Japanese fighters that shot down four of them, including this bomber.

Also lost were B-24D "Temptation" 41-24129 and B-24D "Daisy Mae" 41-24218.

Pilot Johnson was dead in cockpit, by attacks by enemy fighters. Gunner Robbins, Cybowski, Nelson and Lamber were killed by enemy fighters. The dead crew members were buried by the French officials near Haiphong, on the day of the crash.

Several of the crew bailed out including: Manella who exited the nose wheel door, Tractenberg out the bomb bay. Chambers was badly wounded.

Fates of the Crew
Several of the crew were captured and interrogated by the Japanese. The crash site and crew being interrogated was filmed by Nippon News and released on October 19, 1943 in Japan.

Quarant and Manella were initially picked up by the French and taken to a hospital in Hanoi along with Stomberg a crew member from B-24D "Temptation" 41-24129. The crew were imprisoned in Hanoi and interrogated by the Japanese, who showed the survivors a photo of Robbins, Nelson and said he was dead.

The surviving crew members were liberated at the end of the war and returned to the United States. Van, Manella, Chambers and Quarant were liberated from Malaya Camp #5 Malay Peninsula 6-104. Manella was hospitalized at Walter Reed Hospital and debriefed by intelligence on October 1, 1945.

Memorials
The crew killed in the crash were officially declared dead on September 15, 1943. Cybowski remains Missing In Action (MIA) and is memorialized on the tablets of the missing at Manila American Cemetery. Postwar, Lambert was is buried at Plot C Row 0 Grave 444 at Hawaii Cemetery (Punchbowl). Robbins is buried at Greenwood Cemetery in Wichita, KS. Johnson's burial is unknown, presumed to be in a private cemtery in the United States.

Relatives
Rikki Traina (granddaughter of Abe Tractenberg)
Sal Traina (grandson in law of Abe Tractenberg)

Jim Manley (great nephew of Paul Cybowski)
"Paul Cybowski is my great uncle and I've been working a few years with DPAA to recover his remains. Back in the late 90's I was fortunate enough to spend the weekend with Earl Vann, the flight engineer, who survived the crash. Earl shared with me that the crew had decided to name their aircraft "Pistol Packin Mama", after the name of a popular song at that time. Unfortunately they had not gotten around to painting the nose art prior to the shoot down. I have a picture of the crew with all individuals named if you would like."

References
USAF Serial Number Search Results - B-24D-95-CO Liberator 42-40786
"40786 (308th BG, 373rd BS) lost Sep 15, 1943 over Haiphong. MACR 2355"
NARA World War II Prisoners of War Data File - Thomas H. Chambers
NARA World War II Prisoners of War Data File - Jack D. Quarant
NARA World War II Prisoners of War Data File - Joseph R. Manella
NARA World War II Prisoners of War Data File - Earl S. Vann
NARA World War II Prisoners of War Data File - Abe Tractenberg
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - Paul Cybowski
FindAGrave - Sgt William L. Lambert (grave photo)
FIndAGrave - Sgt Frank Dale Robbins
FindAGrave - SSgt Paul Cybowski (photos)
FindAGrave - Sgt William L Lambert (grave photo)
Thanks to Rikki Traina, Sal Traina and Jim Manley for additional information

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Last Updated
September 13, 2018

 

Tech Information
B-24

POW/MIA
MIA / POW
1 Missing
5 Prisoners

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