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  B-24L-5-CO Liberator Serial Number 44-41470  
USAAF
7th AF
11th BG
26th BS

Pilot  1st Lt. Herman L. E. Bierwirth, O-758291 (MIA / KIA) TX
Co-Pilot  1st Lt. Ralph B. Albaugh, O-765199 (MIA / KIA) TX
Navigator  2nd Lt. Fiume C. Cascioli, O-707854 (MIA / KIA) NY
Bombardier  2nd Lt. Harris G. Cheney, O-704163 (MIA / KIA) TX
Engineer  TSgt Napoleon A. McMullen, 14044662 (MIA / KIA) FL
Radio  TSgt Charles M. Finnigan, 18159891 (MIA / KIA) OK
Asst Radio  TSgt Donald E. Bloedel, 36260862 (MIA / KIA) WI
Asst Engineer  SSgt Charles L. Conrad, 16019181 (MIA / KIA) IL
Armorer-Gunner  SSgt Johnnie O. Markham, 37620373 (MIA / KIA) MO
Armorer-Gunner  SSgt Richard E. Carton, 39208530 (MIA / KIA) WA
Radar  SSgt John B. Van Volkenburg, 38421100 (MIA / KIA) TX

Crashed  February 8, 1945
MACR  12050

Aircraft History
Built by Consolidated at San Diego during 1941. Constructors Number 5406. Assigned to the 7th Air Force, 11th Bombardment Group, 26th Bombardment Squadron. No nickname or nose art. When lost, engine and weapon serial numbers not noted in Missing Air Crew Report (MACR).

Mission History
One of twenty B-24s that took off from Guam on a bombing mission against radar and radio installations and anti-aircraft defenses on Iwo Jima. This bomber was part of "C" flight flying a "box stagger" formation and bombed from 16,000' The formation began circling to the east to return to base and descended to 15,000'.

At approximately 7:20am a Japanese fighter approached from the sun and reached the formation undetected before rolling, belly over and impacted into the this B-24 behind the wing section into the top turret.

The impact resulted in an explosion and broke off the right wing. Other bombers in the formation noted a parachute open but it collapsed immediately and the tail section of the bomber fell in one piece. The wreckage landed into the sea roughly ten miles due east of Iwo Jima. Another bomber reported two parachutes open but both caught fire.

Memorials
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).

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Last Updated
January 5, 2018

 

Tech Information
B-24

MIA
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