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  B-24D-145-CO "St. Quentin Quail" Serial Number 42-41205  
USAAF
7th AF
11th BG
98th BS

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11th BG January 2, 1944

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11th BG January 28, 1944

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DR Spennemann 1996

Pilot  1st Lt. Roger Willis Morse, O-661537 (MIA / KIA) CA
Co-Pilot
 1st Lt. Herbert Stanley Evans, O-727706 (MIA / KIA) OR
Navigator
 2nd Lt. Robert H. Wirostek, 2045310 (MIA / KIA) OR
Bombardier  2nd Lt. William Fredric Carpen, O-661590 (MIA / KIA) PA
Engineer  Sgt Marion Lewis Farmer, 15082302 (KIA, BR) IN
Asst Engineer  S/Sgt I. L. Stowe, 18009618 (MIA / KIA) TX
Radio  T/Sgt John William Horman, 39178564 (MIA / KIA) WA
Asst Radio  Pvt Robert Paul McTwigan, 19083867 (MIA / KIA) CA
Gunner  S/Sgt Paul Howard Van Buskirk, 11117149 (MIA / KIA) MA
Gunner  S/Sgt Henry R. Wyka, Jr., 12155281 (KIA, BR) NY

Ditched  January 2, 1944 at 12:05am
MACR  1629

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

Wartime History
Assigned to the 7th Air Force, 11th Bombardment Group, 98th Bombardment Squadron. Nicknamed "St. Quentin Quail".

When lost, engines R-1830-65 serial numbers a) 42-87653 b) 42-88110 c) 42-88288 d) 42-87653. Aboard were ten .50 caliber machine guns, serial numbers unknown. Plus two .30 caliber machine guns, serial numbers unknown.

Mission History
On January 2, 1944 one of seven B-24s that took off from Tarawa Airfield (Hawkins Field) piloted by Morse on a bombing mission against Taroa Airfield at Maloelap Atoll. The weather was rain with low clouds. After the bombing run, the formation was attacked by twenty to thirty Japanese A6M Zero fighters.

Damaged, this B-24 and ditched off Jab'u Island into Arno Atoll near the beach in the south center of the lagoon on January 3, 1944 at 12:05pm.

As the damaged bomber descended, B-24J 42-73153 piloted by 2nd Lt. Alton O. McCleskey, O-662577 escorted them down, dropped emergency rations and observed six or seven crew members hauling equipment out of the bomber onto the beach and officers aboard B-24J "Homesick Angel" 42-73153 took photographs of the crash site.

Search
On January 3, 1944 a PBY Catalina escorted by F6F Hellcats were sent to the crash site to search for the crew. Over the crash site, they circled the wreckage for two hours but saw no sign of life, other than many footsteps across the beach. It was believed the crew were taken prisoner as Japanese occupied Majuro Atoll was approximately ten miles to the west.

On January 4, 1944 an aircraft was sent to destroy the ditched bomber, but was unsuccessful. On January 5, 1944 another aircraft attempted to destroy the bomber, but again failed. Later another B-25G Mitchell was again scheduled to attempt to destroy the bomber, but is unclear if it performed its mission or was successful.

Fates of the Crew
Eight of the crew members survived and were housed and fed by the Marshallese during January 3-16, 1944 on Arno Island. Two of the crew: Farmer and Wyka died during the interception or as a result of the ditching and were buried on Arno Island by the survivors.

On January 16, 1944 a Japanese patrol boat arrived from Taroa Island and captured the eight survivors. All eight airmen were transported to Maloelap Atoll where they were detained until January 20, 1944.

Wreckage
This bomber ditched in the tidal zone off off Jab'u Island near a rock spur. The B-24 was partially submerged in 1 meter to 1.5 meters of water at low tide, roughly 30-40 meters from the present day high tide mark.

Since 1944, small pieces of aluminum have been utilized by the Arno people as a resource for aluminum to manufacture coconut-grater blades, husking-stick points and other artifacts for daily use.

In the late 1990s, the left wing, part of the right wing and center fuselage section plus the four engines remain at the crash site. Only one propeller was seen, although the others may well rest buried in the sand, somewhere to the rear of the plane, ripped off during the crash landing. The tip section of the port wing from the port No.2 engine onwards is snapped off and twisted backwards. The bottom of the lagoon shows a few isolated pieces of aluminum, among them the ring of the central Martin turret. No pieces of the pilots cockpit or the entire rear fuselage including rear ailerons could be located.

Recovery of Remains
Postwar, the remains of Farmer and Wyka were recovered and were transported to the United States for permanent burial.

Memorials
Farmer and Wyka were officially declared dead on January 3, 1944. The other eight crew members were officially declared dead on February 3, 1944.

The eight Missing In Action (MIA) crew members are memorialized at National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific (Punchbowl) on the courts of the missing. Morse, Evans, Horman, McTwigan and Carpen on court 7. Wirostek, Stowe and Van Buskirk on court 5.

Wyka is buried at Long Island National Cemetery at plot J, grave 14180.
Farmer's burial is unknown, presumed to be in a private cemetery in the United States.

References
NARA World War II Army Enlistment Records - Marion L. Farmer
Missing Air Crew Report 1629 (MACR 1629)
None of the crew appear in NARA World War II Prisoners of War Data File
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - Roger W. Morse
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - Herbert S. Evans
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - Robert H. Wirostek
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - William F. Carpen
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - I. L. Stowe
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - John W. Horman
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - Robert P. McTwigan
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - Paul H. Van Buskirk
FindAGrave - 1Lt Roger W Morse (courts of the missing photo)
FindAGrave - 1Lt Herbert S Evans (courts of the missing photo)
FindAGrave - 2Lt Robert H Wirostek (courts of the missing photo)
FindAGrave - 2Lt William F Carpen (courts of the missing photo)
FindAGrave - SSgt I L Stowe (courts of the missing photo)
FindAGrave - TSgt John W Horman (courts of the missing photo)
FindAGrave - Pvt Robert P McTwigan (courts of the missing photo)
FindAGrave - Sgt Paul H Van Buskirk (courts of the missing photo)
FindAGrave - Henry R Wyka, Jr (photo, grave photo)
Marshalls digital micronesia "Wreckage of a Consolidated B-24D "Liberator" off Jab'u, Arno Atoll" by Dirk H. R. Spennemann

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Last Updated
May 22, 2017

 

Tech Information
B-24

POW / MIA
POW / MIA
8 Missing

Photos
Photo Archive

Map
Map 1996

SCUBA
0 - 1.5m

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