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  B-24J-185-CO Liberator Serial Number 44-40929  
USAAF
13th AF
307th BG
372nd BS

Pilot  2nd Lt. Herbert N. F. Patrick, O-764421 (MIA / KIA) Lindsburg, TX
Co-Pilot  Lt. Col J. W. Hinton, O-326153 (MIA / KIA) Bay City, TX (Group C. O.)
Navigator  1st Lt. Fred K. Harrison, Jr., O-711395 (MIA / KIA) New Orleans, LA
Bombardier  2nd Lt. Robert M. Jones, O-762923 (MIA / KIA) Glastonbury, CT
Engineer  T/Sgt Roy E. Hanan, 38564678 (MIA / KIA) Shattuck, OK
Asst Engineer  S/Sgt George H. Westlund, 37549431 (MIA / KIA) Parkers Prairie MN
Radio  T/Sgt Henry J. Hritz, 3277906 (MIA / KIA) Paterson, NJ
Asst Radio  S/Sgt Robert H. Podewils, 12027987 (MIA / KIA) New York, NY
Gunner  S/Sgt Francis E. Shea, 37537086 (MIA / KIA) Miltonvale, KS
Armorer/Gunner  S/Sgt Thomas Wong, 32086732 (MIA / KIA) Brooklyn, NY
Photo/Gunner  S/Sgt Leonard C. Bennett, 16018853 (MIA / KIA) Peoria, IL

MIA  December 10, 1944
MACR  11028

Aircraft History
Built by Consolidated. Delivered to the U. S. Army. Ferried overseas.

Wartime History
Assigned to the 13th Air Force, Assigned to the 307th Bombardment Group, 372nd Bombardment Squadron. This B-24 had no nickname or nose art. When lost, engines R-1830-43 serial numbers: BP-443755, BP-440608, BP-440608, BB-443699, BB-440650. Ten 50 caliber machine guns were installed, serial numbers unknown.

Crew History
Co-Pilot J. W. "Grasy" Hinton was a quarterback for one season for the St. Louis Gunners. Joined the US Army, he graduated from advanced flying school in 1939. He was the group's commanding officer.

Mission History
On December 10, 1944 one of two B-24s that took off from Pitu Airfield (Pitoe) on Morotai Island on a strafing mission against Miri Airfield and Miri on Borneo. Loaded were 15 x 250 lbs bombs, 10,00 rounds of ammunition and 3,100 gallons of fuel. Weather was 12 mile visibility with high clouds above 10,000' with a few scattered clouds. No radio contact was made after take off. Last sighted by Captain Lex E. Souter, the exact cause of the crash was unknown.

Search
After the loss of this B-24, six search missions were conducted and the scene of the crash was believe to be located, at the northern tip of Halmahera. Photos were taken but revealed nothing definitive and further searches were aborted.

Ring Found
In December, 2009, a US Army Air Corps Advanced Flying School ring of J. W. Hinton was discovered and offered for sale at an antique shop in Bali.

Memorials
Officially declared dead on the day of the mission. Later, the remains of the crew were recovered and transported to Manila. Finally, they were buried on January 16, 1950 in a group burial at section E, site 253-255 at Zachary Taylor National Cemetery.

References
MACR 11028 created December 12, 1944
307th BG Mission Report - December 10, 1944
"The two were killed in action while taking off on an early morning shipping strike from Morotai with Colonel Hinton, our deputy group commander. I think Colonel Hinton was flying the plane with Pat in the co-pilot seat. George was attempting to makeup a mission probably missed because of a cold or some other circumstance. The plane crashed into a hillside on IIalmahera Island. The crash explosions could be seen from the runway on Morotai. A concentrated air to ground search was conducted for a period of six to ten days to no avail. We could not locate the plane or the crash sight. Several years after the war their remains were found, returned to Zachary Taylor Cemetery in Louisville, Kentucky, and buried in a common grave." Thanks to Pat Ranfranz for additional information

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Last Updated
January 5, 2018

 

Tech Information
B-24


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