|Pilot 2nd Lt. Thomas D. Harmon, O-732545 (survived) Rensselaer, IN
Co-Pilot 2nd Lt. Frederick O. Weiting, O-734829 (survived) Lansing, MI
Navigator 2nd Lt. Edwin J. Wolf, O-793106 (died) Philadelphia, PA
Engineer SSgt James F. Goodwin, 7002699 (died) Texarkana, TX
Radio SSgt Bernard R. Coss, 16097769 (died) Mendota, IL
Gunner SSgt Leonard D. Gunnells, 14332550 (died) Deatsville, AL
Crashed April 9, 1943 at 10:30am
Built by North American. Delivered to the U. S. Army.
Assigned to Greenville Airfield. Nicknamed "Little Butch" with the nose art of a cartoon figure wearing a football uniform number "98" (Old 98) Harmon's number on the University of Michigan football team, the "Michigan Wolverines".
On April 9, 1943 took off from Atkinson Field in French Guiana (Guyana) on a ferry flight to Belem Airfield (Belém) in Brazil. Weather was overcast with cumulus cloud base from 800' to 12,000' with moderate to severe turbulence and rain, necessitating instrument flying. Two hours into the flight, the cylinder head temperature began to drop, possibly due to ice inside the carburetor. Pilot Harmon began to descend in a spiral to the left, when the right engine cut out, causing the bomber to go into a unrecoverable spin to the right.
Harmon managed to bail out of the cockpit escape hatch and landed unhurt. The rest of the crew failed to exit the bomber and died in the crash approximately five miles southwest of Caux (Kaw), French Guiana (Guyana).
Fates of the Crew
Four days later, Harmon reached a clearing in the jungle and was later rescued and returned to duty.
When reported missing, this aircraft was the subject of an extensive search.
The remains of the four crew members killed in the crash were recovered. The crew are buried at Zachary Taylor National Cemetery in a group burial at section E graves 25-26.
Surviving pilot 2nd Lt. Thomas D. Harmon was later assigned to the 51st Fighter Group, 449th Fighter Squadron in China. On October 30, 1943 he bailed out of P-38G Lightning 42-13415 and was aided by Chinese Communist and returned to duty.
Newspaper article "Sgt Bernard Coss - Lieut. Tom Harmon and Crew" incorrectly lists date of loss as April 8, 1943
MARC 1054 pages 6-7, associated with P-38G Lightning 42-13415
FindAGrave - Edwin J Wolf
FindAGrave - James F Goodwin
FindAGrave - Bernard R. Coss
FindAGrave - Leonard D Gunnells
Pilots Also Pray by Thomas D. Harmon
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January 5, 2018