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|Pilot Lt John W. Taylor, O-797637 (survived) TN
Co-Pilot 2nd Lt Patrick J. Freeman, O-743232 (survived) Gilberts, IL
Navigator 2nd Lt William E. Townsend, O-676174 (survived) Mena, AR
Bombardier 2nd Lt James C. Brown, O-676418 (survived) SC
Engineer S/Sgt Patrick P. Steffanelli 12132191 (survived) NJ
Assist. Engineer Sgt Joseph C. Keen Jr 35467991 (survived) OH
Radio S/Sgt Robert E. Fitzgerald 31163118 (survived) MA
Asst. Radio Sgt Joseph G. Bialy, 32452236 (survived) NJ
Gunner Sgt Harry F. Huntington, 19087985 (survived) CA
Gunner Sgt Louis O. Ball, 35342063 (survived) IL
Crashed October 18, 1943
On July 14, 1943 flown to Love Field, TX and the next day to Biggs Field at El Paso, TX then to Lincoln, NB. On August 9, 1943 arrived at Long Beach, CA and three days later flown to Fairfield Airfield.
On August 17, 1943 assigned to "Left" (5th Air Force) and departed Fairfield Airfield on a flight to Hickam Field where it was further modified at the Hawaiian Air Depot (HAD) including the removal of the Sperry ball turret and installation of ASV radar.
On August 24, 1943 departed Hickam Field on a ferry flight across the Pacific arriving in Australia on September 5, 1943. This B-24 was further modified at the 4th Air Depot at Garbutt Field near Townsville. Afterwards assigned to the 43rd Bombardment Group on September 29, 1943.
When lost, engines R-1830-43 AAF serial numbers 42-88841, 42-88846, 42-87685, 42-88844. Weapon serial numbers noted in Missing Air Crew Report 964 (MACR 964) including nine .50 caliber machine guns and two .30 caliber machine guns serial numbers 71617 and 74536. Officially, this B-24 was condemned on January 6, 1944.
Inbound to the target, the formation encountered bad weather and aborted the mission with some bombing the alternate target of Cape Hoskin. Returning from the mission at 8,000', as the formation entered a thunder storm.
At approximately 2:45pm, at roughly Lat 7.30 Long 148E the formation passed through a thunderstorm for approximately two minutes. At that time, this B-24 was observed to peel off to the left in a dive and come out of the dive at the right of his element when it was last sighted by other 43rd Bombardment Group B-24s in the formation including B-24D "Double Trouble" 42-41226.
After exiting the thunderstorm, last seen by B-24D 42-41086 approximately five miles to the right of the formation. Taylor's B-24 radioed asking what ship they were. Both the pilot and co-pilot answered, but did not get a response from Taylor. This B-24 was last observed on an approximate course of 205° at roughly 10,000' and last at approximately Lat 8.40 S Long 147.40 E. Another wartime coordinate listed was Lat 8.56 S Long 147.18 E.
When this B-24 failed to return, it was listed as Missing In Action (MIA). In total, four B-24s were lost including this bomber, B-24D "Sky Lady" 41-24043, B-24D "Ben Buzzard" 42-40670 and B-24D 42-40885.
In fact, this B-24 became separated from the rest of the formation. Low on fuel and when three engines cut out the pilots placed the bomber into a turn and ordered the crew to bail out. All successfully parachuted out of the B-24 before it crashed into the ground.
Fates of the Crew
Freeman flew a total of 60 combat missions in the Pacific Theater during World War II. He continued as a pilot, participating in the Berlin Airlift, Korean War and Cuban Missile Crisis. He was a member of the 440th Tactical Airlift Group of Milwaukee, then transferred to the 928th Tactical Airlift Group (TAG) at O'Hare Field in Chicago, IL and was promoted to both group and base commander. He retired with 33 years of service as a Brigadier General from the U.S. Air Force (USAF). Freeman died on March 8, 2008 and had a military funeral with the 126th Air Refueling Group at O'Hare Field. He is buried at Saint Marys Cemetery in Gilberts, IL at plot 11-D.
Townsend died on December 27, 2008 and is buried at Riverside National Cemetery in Riverside, CA.
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