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  B-24D-130-CO "The Milk Run / Hit Parader" Serial Number 42-41087  
USAAF
5th AF
90th BG
319th BS

Click For Enlargement
Click For Enlargement
90th BG c1943

Pilot  1st Lt. Robert J. Tilden, O-747363 (MIA / KIA) Pasadna, CA
Co-Pilot  2nd Lt Henry P. Baker, O-684671 (MIA / KIA) Greenwood, SC
Bombardier  1st Lt Corbett Laws, O-730335 (MIA / KIA)
Navigator  2nd Lt Vernon M. Moreland Jr., O-683851 (MIA / KIA) MD
Engineer  TSgt Keith R. Bash, 17059181 (MIA / KIA) Kansas City MS
Radio  TSgt John W. Twitty Jr., 33128079 (MIA / KIA) Portsmouth, VA
Gunner  SSgt Frank W. Athey, 36434611 (MIA / KIA) San Francisco, CA
Gunner  SSgt Lester E. Bacon, 19052514 (MIA / KIA) Oxnard, CA
Gunner  SSgt Vernon M. Clogston, 14161811 (MIA / KIA) Grenada, MS
Gunner  SSgt John W. Kannapel, 35492426 (MIA / KIA) Hardinsburg, KY
MIA  February 28, 1944
MACR  4339

Aircraft History
Built by Consolidated at San Diego. Constructors Number 2164. Delivered to the U. S. Army Air Force (USAAF) as B-24D Liberator serial number 42-41087. Ferried overseas via Hickam Field across the Pacific to Australia.

Wartime History
Assigned to the 5th Air Force, 90th Bombardment Group, 319th Bombardment Squadron. Nicknamed "The Milk Run" with nose art of a baby running with a bottle. Later, renamed "Hit Parader" later adding the nose art of a woman marching and carrying a base drum with one hand raised and wearing high heel boots. In New Guinea, this B-24 flew over forty bombing missions and claimed several Japanese aircraft shot down.

When lost engines R-1830-43 serial numbers: 42-38666, 42-39854, 42-38461, 42-43736. Armed with .50 caliber machine guns (flexible) serial numbers 315214, 122219 plus .50 caliber machine guns (fixed) serial numbers 666625, 666420, 688359, 467977, 216359, 112463, 454887.

Mission History
On February 28, 1944 took off at at 11:41pm from Nadzab Airfield (No. 1) piloted by 1st Lt. Robert J. Tilden as one of six B-24s on a night bombing mission against Hollandia. This B-24 was last seen at take off headed on a course of course of 300°. Other crews flying the same mission reported stormy weather with heavy rains inbound and returning from the target area. When this bomber failed to return it was officially declared Missing In Action (MIA).

Search
No wartime search was conducted for this bomber.

Memorials
Seven of the crew: Baker, Law, Moreland, Twitty, Athey, Clogston and Kannapel were officially declared dead on Mach 7, 1946. Three of the crew: Baker, Bash and Bacon were officially declared dead on July 7, 1946.

The entire crew earned the Air Medal and Purple Heart, posthumously. All are memorialized at Manila American Cemetery on the tablets of the missing.

Baker has a memorial marker at Rosemont Cemetery in Newberry, SC at section C3.

Laws has a memorial marker at Liberty United Methodist Church Cemetery in Whitney, SC.

Relatives
Bill Purdham (nephew of Vernon M. Moreland Jr.)
"By all accounts he was a good Christian man, he was married, very smart, very brave and very young. I believe that those us alive today owe so much to these men that it is our duty to do all we can to bring their remains home and with the technologies available today."

Ruthie Wheatley (niece of John William Kannapel)
"About 28 years ago I did a great deal of research on my uncle's loss."

References
USAF Serial Number Search Results - B-24D-130-CO Liberator 42-41087
"41087 (90th BG, "The Milk Run") lost Apr 28, 1944, New Guinea. MACR 4339. Feb 28, 1944 also quoted (MACR 8450)"
Missing Air Crew Report 4339 (MACR 4339)
PNG Museum Aircraft Status Card - B-24D Liberator 42-41087
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - Robert J. Tilden
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - Henry P. Baker
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - Corbett Laws
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - Vernon M. Moreland Jr.
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - Keith R. Bash
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - John W. Twitty Jr.
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - Frank W. Athey
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - Lester E. Bacon
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - Vernon M. Clogston
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - John W. Kannapel
FindAGrave - 1Lt Robert J Tilden (tablets of the missing)
FindAGrave - Lieut Henry Parr Baker (photo, tablets of the missing photo)
FindAGrave - Henry Parr Baker (photo, gave photo)
FindAGrave - Corbett Laws (memorial marker)
FindAGrave - 2Lt Vernon M Moreland, Jr (tablets of the missing photo)
FindAGrave - TSgt Keith R Bash (tablets of the missing photo)
FindAGrave - TSgt John W Twitty, Jr (tablets of the missing photo)
FindAGrave - SSgt Frank W Athey (tablets of the missing photo)
FindAGrave - SSgt Lester E Bacon (tablets of the missing)
FindAGrave - SSgt Vernon Merritte Clogston (tablets of the missing)
FindAGrave - SSgt John W Kannapel (tablets of the missing)
Legacy of the 90th Bombardment Group pages 102, 103 (map), 200 (Casualties)
War History Department, NIDS "Subject: Result of Study on the Inquiry by Ms O'Donoghue" 23 July 92
"29 Feb 44 - Hollandia: Received 7 to 8 bombs from a bomber around 0230.”
Thanks to Bill Purdham and Ruthie Wheatley for additional information

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Last Updated
January 28, 2019

 

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