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  B-24L-5-CO "Royal Flush" Serial Number 44-41465  
7th AF
11th BG
26th BS

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February 10, 1945

Pilot  1st Lt Edwin E. Brashear, O-758298 (MIA / KIA) Brownwood, TX
Co-Pilot  2nd Lt Theodore Robinson, O-765320 (MIA / KIA) Dallas, TX
Bombardier  2nd Lt Albert C. Reynolds, O-762869 (MIA / KIA) Danville, IL
Navigator  1st Lt Frank J. Curley, O-707235 (MIA / KIA) Philadelphia, PA
Engineer  TSgt William F. Caldwell, 11094945 (MIA / KIA) Tolland, CT
Asst Engineer  SSgt James T. McGee, 37505526 (MIA / KIA) Paris, MO
Radio  TSgt Vincent Foti, 12134909 (MIA / KIA) Elizabeth NJ
Radar  SSgt Cecil K. Decker, 37703468 (MIA / KIA) Monte Vista, CO
Armor Gunner  SSgt John J. Kerezsi, 6996217 (MIA / KIA) Nanty Glo, PA
Armor Gunner  SSgt Richard E. Chandler, 37562389 (rescued) Bemidji, MN
Passenger  Major Robert W. Holland, O-350194 (MIA / KIA) NM
MIA  February 10, 1945
MACR  12052

Aircraft History
Built by Consolidated. Delivered to the U. S. Army. Ferried overseas via Hawaii to the Central Pacific.

Wartime History
Assigned to the 11th Bombardment Group, 26th Bombardment Squadron. Nicknamed "Royal Flush". When lost, engines R-1830-65A serial numbers BP-445402, BP-445351, 42-37904 and BP-445052. Weapon serial numbers noted in the Missing Air Crew Report 12052 (MACR 12052).

Mission History
On February 10, 1945 took off from Guam as the lead aircraft on a bombing mission against Okimura on Haha Jima (Mother Island). Over the target on the bomb run with the bomb bay doors open at 16,000', this bomber was hit by anti-aircraft fire in the bomb bay, which caused a fire in the bomb bay fuel tank and caused the B-24 to nose down momentarily.

Two crew member were observed to have bail out, but only one parachute opened. Another three bailed out and two or three additional parachutes opened. The B-24 completely collapsed with the left wing breaking off and disintegrating into pieces before crashing into the sea roughly one mile east of the center of Haha Jima (other sources list the location as three miles off the southeastern tip of Haha Jima).

SSgt Chandler was one of the crew member who was able to bail out and landed in the sea. The fates or identity of the four crew members that bailed out are unknown. The rest of the crew is presumed to have went down with the bomber.

Other B-24s in the formation spotted one of the crew members who bailed out in the sea roughly three miles off the southeast of Haha Jima. B-24 piloted by Bettis descended to 200' and dropped two life rafts to the man. Lifeguard Air Sea services and Air Sea Rescue were notified and a

Responding to the loss of the bomber, a US Navy PBY Catalina "Dumbo" arrived at the scene of the crash and rescued SSgt Chandler from the sea roughly three miles off Haha Jima and transported him to Saipan and later returned to duty.

The entire crew was officially declared dead the day of the mission. All are memorialized at the courts of the missing at National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific (Punchbowl).

Caldwell is memorialized at Grove Hill Cemetery in Rockville, CT also on the The National Iwo Jima Memorial Monument and Park in Newington, CT.

Bruce Curley (nephew of Frank Curley) 

Missing Air Crew Report 12052 (MACR 12052)
Frank J. Curley, MIA, USAAF In Memoriam by Bruce Curley December 11, 2005
Letter from Harry Gibbons who observed the crash of B-24L 44-41465
FindAGrave - William F. Caldwell (grave photo)
FindAGrave - William F. Caldwell (Iwo Jima memorial)
FindAGrave - Vincent Foti (courts of the missing photo)

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Last Updated
December 3, 2018


Tech Information

10 Missing

Feb 10, 1945
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