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  B-24D-155-CO Liberator Serial Number 42-72814  
USAAF
5th AF
90th BG
321st BS

Click For Enlargement
90th BG 1943
Pilot  1st Lt John Thomas O'Brien, O-736554 (MIA / KIA) Palatine, IL
Co-Pilot  2nd Lt. Earl G. Sherman, O-674526 (MIA / KIA) Springville, PA
Navigator  1st Lt. Lawrence E. Kuhlman, O-725995 (MIA / KIA) OH
Bombardier  2nd Lt. Edward A. Fay, Jr., O-734327 (MIA / KIA) CA
Engineer  TSgt Emmett Jones, 34266668 (MIA / KIA) Marion County, GA
Radio  TSgt Robert J. Beil, 15102304 (MIA / KIA) OH
Gunner  SSgt James W. Moore, Jr., 14123990 (MIA / KIA) NC
Gunner  SSgt Richard E. Smith, 6281847 (MIA / KIA) OK
Gunner  SSgt Jesse A. Tidwell, 6918368 (MIA / KIA) IL
Gunner  SSgt Warren G. Card, 17091507 (MIA / KIA) Mineral County, CO
MIA  November 6, 1943 at 3:20am
MACR  1485

Aircraft History
Built by Consolidated at San Diego. Constructors Number 2384. Delivered to the U. S. Army Air Force (USAAF) as 42-72814. Ferried overseas via Hickam Field then across the Pacific to Australia. At either the Hawaiian Air Depot (HAD) or in Australia, this bomber was modified into a B-24D-1 with the installation of a nose turret for assignment to the 5th Air Force.

Wartime History
Assigned to the 5th Air Force, 90th Bombardment Group, 321st Bombardment Squadron. Converted to a B-24D-1. Nicknamed "Miss Deed" with the nose art of a reclining nude woman. When lost, engines R-1830-43 serial numbers 42-90364, 42-90704, 42-90194 and 42-90467. Armed with .50 caliber machine guns serial numbers 382138, 113139, 382126, 362719, 381884, 382595, 382204 and 382771.

Mission History
On November 6, 1943 at 3:00an took off from Horanda No. 4 (Dobodura No. 4) near Dobodura piloted by 1st Lt John Thomas O'Brien on a weather reconnaissance mission over Rabaul. The weather during the flight was unknown. Their instructions were to radio in every 30 minutes during the mission. After their first radio message 20 minutes after takeoff, this B-24 was never heard from again. When it failed to return, the crew was listed as Missing In Action (MIA).

Search
Afterwards, two U. S. Navy (USN) PBY Catalinas searched for this bomber unsuccessfully. One other Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) Catalinas also performed a search unsuccessfully. No trace of this aircraft was found.

Memorials
The entire crew was officially declared dead the day of the mission. The American crew all earned the Silver Star, Air Medal, Purple Heart, posthumously. All are memorialized at Manila American Cemetery on the tablets of the missing.

O'Brien also has a memorial marker at Hillside Cemetery in Palatine, IL.

Sherman earned the Silver Star, Air Medal, Purple Heart

Tidwell also has a memorial marker at Lakeview Cemetery in Johnston City, IL.

Relatives
Tracy R. Young III (nephew Sherman)
"Earl G. Sherman was born. December 27, 1922 and declared MIA November 6th, 1943 as a member of the 'Jolly Rogers'. He received a silver star, air medal, and purple heart."

Lori Goff-O’Brien (daughter in law of O'Brien)
"O’Brien was born and raised in a suburb of Chicago, Illinois. He was an excellent student in school and a top athlete in the rural town of Palatine. In 1942 he joined the Army and immediately transferred into the Army Air Corps, which now is known as the Air force. After flight training he moved into a bomber group and was trained to fly B-24 bombers. He was then sent to his first and only duty station in Port Moresby. New Guinea was a very dangerous place at that time because the Japanese were still in control of that part of the Pacific plus the island of New Guinea has extremely bad weather patterns that made it very difficult for all the pilots who did not have the modern equipment for bad weather landings that we have today. Everything they did was strictly visual. On Lieutenant O’Brien’s 24th mission, he would have finished his tour of duty after 25, he was sent out at 3:30 am to do a recon mission to take pictures of the prior days raids. He was to run on radio silence and report in every 20 minutes. He reported in once and then was never heard from again. Rescue teams were sent out, but nothing was ever found and no one knows exactly what happened. His son John Jr., who he never saw, was eight weeks old. He was officially reported Missing In Action. Medals awarded are: Silver Star, Distinguished Flying Cross, Pacific Campaign (Asiatic), Purple Heart, Freedom Medal."

References
NARA World War II Army Enlistment Records - Earl G. Sherman

NARA World War II Army Enlistment Records - Edward A. Fay, Jr.

NARA World War II Army Enlistment Records - Emmett Jones
NARA World War II Army Enlistment Records - Robert J. Beil

NARA World War II Army Enlistment Records - James W. Moore, Jr.

NARA World War II Army Enlistment Records - Warren G. Card
USAF Serial Number Search Results - B-24D-155-CO Liberator 42-72814
"72814 (90th BG, "Miss Deed") lost on weather recon mission near New Guinea Nov 6, 1943. MACR 1485. 11 KIA"
Missing Air Crew Report 1485 (MACR 1485) created December 1943
Legacy of the 90th Bombardment Group page 43
PNG Museum Aircraft Status Card - B-24D Liberator 42-72814
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - John T. O'Brien
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - Earl G. Sherman

American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - Lawrence E. Kuhlmann
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - Edward A. Fay, Jr.
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - Emmett Jones
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - Robert J. Beil
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - James W. Moore, Jr.
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - Richard E. Smith
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - Jesse A. Tidwell
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - Warren G. Card
FindAGrave - 1Lt John T O'Brien (photos, tablets of the missing photo)
FindAGrave - Lieut John Thomas O'Brien (memorial marker photo)
FindAGrave - 2Lt Earl Griffin Sherman (tablets of the missing photo)
FindAGrave - TSgt Robert J Beil (tablets of the missing)
FindAGrave - SSgt Richard E Smith (tablets of the missing photo)
FindAGrave - Sgt Jesse August Tidwell (photo, tablets of the missing)
FindAGrave - Sgt Jesse August Tidwell (photo, memorial marker)
FindAGrave - SSgt Warren G Card (tablets of the missing photo)
Thanks to Pete Johnstone, Tracy R. Young III and Lori Goff-O’Brien for additional information

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Last Updated
August 10, 2019

 

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