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  B-24J-150-CO Liberator Serial Number 44-40188 Number 188
5th AF
90th BG
400th BS

Pilot  1st Lt. William J. Maxwell, O-802596 (KIA) WV
Co-Pilot  2nd Lt. Nicholas Covell (KIA)
Crew  2nd Lt. Kent L. Christensen (KIA)
Crew  1st Lt. Kenneth R. Buck (KIA)
Crew  TSgt Ernest C. Smith (KIA)
Crew  SSgt Edward A. Kiaune (KIA)
Crew  TSgt Daniel W. Rahl, 32138894 (KIA) NY
Crew  Melone (survived)
Crew  SSgt Vincent F. Sardisco (survived)
Crew  SSgt Louis D. Nuzzi (survived)
Crew  SSgt Eugene T. Shannon (survived)

Crashed  June 11, 1944
MACR  6584

Aircraft History
Built by Consolidated. Assigned to the 90th Bombardment Group, 400th Bombardment Squadron. Number 188. Presumed to be serial number 44-40188.

Mission History
Prior to the mission, took off from Nadzab Airfield on a flight to Hollandia Airfield. On the morning of June 11th, took off from Hollandia Airfield and flew to Wakde Airfield to rearm and refuel with a maximum load of ammunition (400 rounds) per gun, a bomb load 180 x 30 lbs fragmentation bombs and a full load fuel (3,100 gallons).

Took off from Wakde Airfield on a bombing mission against Peleliu Airfield on Peleliu. A total of twenty-two B-24s participated including four 319th Bombardment Squadron B-24s and seven 400th Bombardment Squadron B-24s.

About 50 miles from the target, the formation was intercepted by an estimated forty enemy fighters that dropped aerial bombs and making attacks before and during the bomb run, along with accurate anti-aircraft fire.

Returning from the mission, this B-24 followed another B-24 piloted by Ryan with seriously wounded aboard and landed at Wakde Airfield. Taking aboard the wounded, took off again bound for Hollandia Airfield at night.

Approaching the runway, this B-24 crashed into the jungle prior to landing, crashed and caught fire. Four of the crew from the waist were thrown clear during the crash unconscious and survived. The rest of the crew perished in the crash. The bodies of the dead crew members were recovered and buried until the end of the war.

Postwar, two were buried at Manila American Cemetery. Maxwell is buried at plot F row 6 grave 47. Rahl is buried at plot D row 3 grave 107. Covell was buried at Golden Gate National Cemetery at section J site 626 on June 29, 1948.

David Wride (nephew of Covell)

Note, this B-24s serial number is presumed to be 44-40188
Legacy of the 90th Bombardment Group, page 120-121

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Last Updated
February 4, 2018


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