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  SB-24D "Sergeant Stripes... Forever!" Serial Number 42-63805  
USAAF
13th AF
868th BS

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13th AF c1944

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Shane Elliott 2008

Pilot  2nd Lt. Robert A. Robbins, O-679120 (MIA / KIA)
Co-Pilot  2nd Lt. Lawrence R. Purvis, Jr., O-684772 (MIA / KIA)
Navigator  2nd Lt. John A. Grant, O-685594 (MIA / KIA)
Bombardier  2nd Lt. Lionel A. Wolpin, O-679270 (MIA / KIA)
Engineer  S/Sgt Lynn C. Warner, 32491528 (MIA / KIA)
Asst Engineer  S/Sgt Jacob B. Clemmer, 14134750 (MIA / KIA)
Radio  S/Sgt James M. McNutt, 39844564 (MIA / KIA)
Radar  S/Sgt Dominick A. Moccia, 32466190 (MIA / KIA)
Gunner  Sgt George D. Charette, 31163876 (MIA / KIA)
Gunner  S/Sgt Samuel Morrell, 13031083 (MIA / KIA)
Weather Observer  Major Samuel Conway, O-090035 (MIA / KIA)

Crashed  April 1, 1944 at 1:55am
MACR  4102

Aircraft History
Built by Consolidated at Fort Worth as B-24D-5-CF Liberator. Constructors Number FW-54. Delivered to the U. S. Army May 21, 1943. Converted into a a radar equipped SB-24 at Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. Assigned to Langley Field and converted into a snooper. Afterwards, this aircraft was ferried overseas to the South Pacific.

Wartime History
Assigned to the 13th Air Force, 868th Bombardment Squadron "Snooper Squadron", directly under the command of 13th Bomber Command. Nicknamed "Sergeant Stripes... Forever!". When lost, engines R-1830-43 serial numbers: 1) CP-303540 2) CP-303731 3) CP-803839 4) CP-303809.

Mission History
On April 1, 1944 took off from Munda Airfield and landed on Bougainville to refuel then proceeded on a bombing mission against Truk Lagoon. Returning from the mission, this B-24 was last sighted near Rendova at 0055L. Reportedly, observed to crash and explode on Rendova at 12:55am, the explosion was visible 160 degrees from Munda Airfield, two miles inland about two-thirds of the way up the ridge. The cause was undetermined.

Wreckage
A search by twenty men from the US Army 369th Infantry, departed for the site at 1300L on the day of the crash. Company "S" of the 369th initiated a search at 2200L. The crash was found on April 2, 1944 at 11:00am.

Shane Elliott adds:
"According to locals I talked to in 2008, another mysterious American had visited the crash site several years before, upon my return to the United States I found this American to former Professor Ronnie Day, whom I reckon would have been the first American to visit the wreck since WWII and myself being some years after in 2008."

Recovery of Remains
The remains of the eleven crew were buried and marked by Graves Registration. Later, the remains were exhumed for final burial.

Four of the crew are buried at Manila American Cemetery Moccia, Charette, Clemmer and Grant. The others are presumed to be buried in their hometowns.

Relatives
Robert J. Robbins (son of pilot Robbins)
"My father, Robert A. Robbins, was the pilot of the plane."

References
Missing Air Crew Report 4102 (MACR 4102)
Thanks to Shane Elliott for additional information.

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Last Updated
April 24, 2018

 

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