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  B-24J-155-CO Liberator Serial Number 44-40332  
USAAF

Pilot  2nd Lt. Wayne R. Kimble (KIA / BR) New Martinsville, WV
Co-Pilot  2nd Lt William E. Somsel Jr. (KIA / BR) Philadelphia, PA
Navigator  2nd Lt Charles E. Mueller (KIA / BR) Detroit, MI
Engineer  2nd Lt. Morris Righthand (KIA / BR) Lehighton, PA
Gunner  SSgt Jack J. Dowd (KIA / BR) Jackson, MI
Gunner  SSgt Marion F. Norman (KIA / BR) Augusta, MI
Gunner  Sgt James H. Means (KIA / BR) Belden, MS
Gunner  Cpl. Manual F. Campos (KIA / BR)
Gunner  Cpl. Gerald L. Weiss (KIA / BR) Mason, WI
Gunner  Cpl. Joseph J. Carlucci (KIA / BR) Port Chester, NY

Crashed  May 5, 1944
MACR  15138

Aircraft History
Built by Consolidated at San Diego during March 1944. Delivered to the U. S. Army.

Wartime History
This bomber was flown from Hamilton Field and was flown overseas to Hickam Field. This B-24 was not yet assigned to any Bombardment Group or Bombardment Squadron when lost. No nickname or nose art. When lost, engine and weapon serial numbers unknown.

Mission History
On May 5, 1944 took off from Hickam Field at 5:22am on a ferry flight bound for Australia where it would be assigned to the 5th Air Force. Soon after take off only six miles away this bomber failed to make a turn (other sources report a fuel problem) causing the B-24 to crash into Puu Nau ridge near Aiea. On impact, the B-24 immediately caught fire and the entire crew was killed in the crash.

Wreckage
Afterwards, the crash site was located and the remains of the crew were recovered. During February 1993, the crash site was rediscovered by members of the QuestMasters Museum. Only the right and left wing with wheels, four engines, tail turret, and many small parts remained at the site. They removed the nose turret and martin turret

Memorials
The entire crew was officially declared dead the day of the mission. After their remains were recovered, four of the crew were buried at National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific (Punchbowl). Carlucci is buried at section B site 73. Norman is buried at section N section 39. Righthand is buried at section C site 1322. Mueller is buried at section A site 938.

Somsel is buried at Arlington National Cemetery at section 12, site 3357.
Dowd is buried at Saint Johns Catholic Cemetery in Jackson MI.
Means is buried at Saltillo Cemetery in Saltillo, MS
Weiss is buried at Weston Cemetery in Rensselaer, IN at section O lot 35 space 3
Campos is presumed to be buried in a private cemetery in the United States.

On May 5, 2008 a memorial plaque was erected at the Aiea Loop Trail head near Hickam Field on the 64th anniversary of the crash with the names of each crew member and a summary of the mission. The plaque reads:

B-24J Liberator SN: 44-40332
Along this trail are the remains of a B-24J Liberator Bomber. In the early morning of May 5 1944 2 LT Kimble and crew departed Hickam Field on a replacement mission enroute to the 5th AF. Six miles after take-off, failing to make a turn, they crashed into the Pu'u Uau Ridge Ko'olau Range. All ten aviators perished serving their country.
2 LT W R Kimble
2 LT C E Mueller
S SGT J J Dowd
2 LT W E Somsel
Sgt J H Means
CPL M F Weiss
CPL M F Campos
2 LT M Righthand
S SGT M F Norman
CPL J J Carlucci
Hawaii Aviation Preservation Society
May 5th, 2008 marks the 64th anniversary. You are not forgotten!

Recovery
The nose and martin turret were recovered for restoration by QuestMasters Museum.

References
Missing Air Crew Report 15138 (MACR 15138) does not list Cpl Manuel F. Campos
QuestMasters Aircraft Archeology - B-24J 44-40332
QuestMasters - B-24
Facebook Hawaii Aviation Preservation Society B-24J 44-40322 5May1944 Crash Survey - Aiea Loop Trail
Aircraft Wrecks in the Mountains and Deserts of the American West - B-24J Oahu, Hi
FindAGrave - William E Somsel, Jr. (grave photo)
FindAGrave - memorial plaque (photo)
FindAGrave - Charles E Mueller (grave photo)
FindAGrave - Lieut Morris Righthand (grave photo)
FindAGrave - Jack J. Dowd (grave photo)
FindAGrave - Marion F Norman (grave photo)
FindAGrave - Sgt James Hoyt Means (grave photo)
FindAGrave - Gerald Leon Weiss (grave photo)
FindAGrave - Joseph J Carlucci (grave photo)

Contribute Information
Are you a relative or associated with any person mentioned?
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Last Updated
January 5, 2018

 

Tech Information
B-24

MIA
MIA
10 Missing
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