Pacific Wrecks
Pacific Wrecks    
  Missing In Action (MIA) Prisoners Of War (POW) Unexploded Ordnance (UXO)  
Chronology Locations Aircraft Ships Submit Info How You Can Help Donate
 
  B-24J-50-CO Liberator Serial Number 42-73466  
USAAF
13th AF
307th BG
424th BS

Pilot  1st Lt William E. Francis, Jr., O-793754 (MIA / KIA) Jackson, TN
Co-Pilot  1st Lt Joseph J. Slater, O-748819 (MIA / KIA) Cohoes, NY
Bombardier  1st Lt Robert W. Bjornholm, O-676339 (MIA / KIA) Quincy, MA
Navigator  1st Lt. John W. Geiger, Jr., O-673142 (MIA / KIA) Flushing, NY
Engineer  TSgt Robert L. Taberski, 35259464 (MIA / KIA) South Ben, IN
Asst Engineer  SSgt William H. Landacre, 16015110 (MIA / KIA) Chicago, IL
Radio  TSgt Richard W. Krueger, 33447184 (MIA / KIA) Washington, DC
Asst Radio  SSgt Adrian T. McKinney, 35508069 (MIA / KIA) Cogswell, KY
Gunner  SSgt Robert E Brink, 13093672 (MIA / KIA) Eagles Mere, PA
Gunner  SSgt Richard L. Haskins, 14080691 (MIA / KIA) Lake Hamilton, FL

MIA  March 29, 1944 at 2:00pm
MACR  3738

Aircraft History
Built by Consolidated in San Diego. Delivered to the U. S. Army Air Force (USAAF) as B-24J-50-CO Liberator serial number 42-73466. Ferried overseas via Hickam Field to the South Pacific.

Wartime History
Assigned to the 13th Air Force, 307th Bombardment Group, 424th Bombardment Squadron. No known nickname or nose art.

Mission History
On March 29, 1944 took off from Munda Airfield on New Georgia piloted by 1st Lt William E. Francis, Jr. as one of nineteen participating in the 307th Bombardment Group's first daylight mission against Dublon Island, Moen Island and Eten Airfield on Eten Island in Truk. This bomber first flew to Torokina Airfield on Bougainville and was armed with bombs then departing bound for Nissian Airfield (Green) to refueled before taking off again targeting Eten Airfield on Eten Island in Truk.

Over the target, formation was intercepted by 75-90 aggressive enemy fighters for an hour. Eyewitness accounts reported seeing this bomber's no. 3 engine on fire then flames in the waist compartment. At least four of the crew were observed to bail out, and a fifth crew member exited the plane either without a parachute or his failed to open. The bomber was observed to make a controlled water landing at roughly 5° 34' N - 152° 11' E, none of the crew were observed exiting the bomber. The parachutist and bomber were strafed by the attacking enemy fighters.

The B-24 remained afloat for about 30 seconds then sank into the open sea. When this B-24 failed to return it was officially listed as Missing In Action (MIA).

Search
Afterwards, COMAIRSOLS made an intensive search for any surviving members of the crew, but none were found.

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

Francis is also memorialized on a plaque at the St. Luke's Episcopal Church in Jackson, TN.
Landacre also has a memorial marker at Memorial Park Cemetery in Clinton, IN.
Brink also has a memorial marker at Pleasant Hill Cemetery in Hughesville, PA.

Francis earned the Silver Star and Air Medal with 6 Oak Leaf Clusters.
Slater earned the Distinguished Flying Cross (DFC), Silver Star, Air Medal and Purple Heart with Oak Leaf Cluster.
Bjornholm earned the Silver Star, Distinguished Flying Cross, Air Medal with Oak Leaf Cluster.
Geiger earned the Air Medal.
Taberski earned the Distinguished Flying Cross (DFC), Air Medal, Purple Heart with Oak Leaf Cluster.
Landacre earned the Air Medal with 5 Oak Leaf Clusters.
Krueger earned the Distinguished Flying Cross (DFC), Air Medal, Purple Heart with Oak Leaf Cluster.

Relatives
Andrea Simpkins (great niece of Haskins)
John W. Geiger (nephew of Geiger)

References
USAF Serial Number Search Results - B-24J-50-CO Liberator 42-73466
"73466 lost Mar 29, 1944, Etean [sic] Island, South Pacific. MACR 3738"
Missing Air Crew Report 3738 (MACR 3738)
American Battle Monuments Commission - 1st Lt William E. Francis, Jr.
American Battle Monuments Commission - Joseph J. Slater
American Battle Monuments Commission - Robert W. Bjornholm
American Battle Monuments Commission - John W. Geiger, Jr.
American Battle Monuments Commission - Robert L. Taberski
American Battle Monuments Commission - William H. Landacre
American Battle Monuments Commission - Richard W. Krueger
American Battle Monuments Commission - Adrian T. McKinney
American Battle Monuments Commission - Robert E. Brink
American Battle Monuments Commission - Richard L. Haskins
FindAGrave - 1Lt William E Francis, Jr (tablets of the missing)
FindAGrave - 1Lt Joseph J Slater (tablets of the missing)
FindAGrave - 1Lt Robert W Bjornholm (tablets of the missing)
FindAGrave - 1Lt John William “Jack” Geiger, Jr (photo)
FindAGrave - TSgt Robert L Taberski (tablets of the missing)
FindAGrave - SSgt William Harold Landacre (tablets of the missing)
FindAGrave - Harold Landacre (memorial marker)
FindAGrave - TSgt Richard W Krueger (photo, news, tablets of the missing photo)
FindAGrave - SSgt Adrian T McKinney (tablets of the missing photo)
FindAGrave - Adrian Turner McKinney (memorial marker photo) date of death incorrectly listed as March 28, 1944
FindAGrave - SSgt Robert E Brink (tablets of the missing photo)
FindAGrave - Robert Elton Brink (memorial marker)
FindAGrave - SSgt Richard L Haskins (tablets of the missing photo)
WWII Wrecks of the Truk Lagoon page 173
Thanks to Andrea Simpkins for additional information

Contribute Information
Are you a relative or associated with any person mentioned?
Do you have photos or additional information to add?

Last Updated
August 8, 2018

 

Tech Info
B-24

MIAMIA
10 Missing
  Discussion Forum Daily Updates Reviews Museums Interviews & Oral Histories  
 
Pacific Wrecks Inc. All rights reserved.
Donate Now Facebook Twitter YouTube Google Plus Instagram