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  B-25D-1 "Lucky Bat" Serial Number 41-30058  
USAAF
5th AF
345th BG
499th BS

Click For Enlargement
1944

Pilot  Robert R Hotz, O-668334 (MIA / KIA) NY
Co-Pilot  2nd Lt. John C. Grice, O-713411 (MIA / KIA) IN
Bombardier  2nd Lt. Joseph Ciaramella, O-682069 (MIA / KIA) PA
Engineer-Gunner  SSgt Victor J. Goebel, 18184126 (MIA / KIA) TX
Radio-Gunner  SSgt Russel E. Anuta, 39128338 (MIA / KIA) CA
Gunner  SSgt Frederick E. Bennett, Jr., 13068361 (MIA / KIA) NY

MIA  July 30, 1944
MACR  7182

Aircraft History
Built by North American as a B-25D-5 Mitchell. Assigned to the 345th Bombardment Group, 499th Bombardment Squadron during March 1943 in Savannah, Georgia. Assigned to Captain Julian B. Baird and nicknamed "Lucky Bat" and had the nose art of a bat riding a bomb painted by Cpl John Michalowski at Walterboro, SC.

Ferried overseas by . Baird arriving at Port Moresby in mid June 1943, but was often flown by 1st Lt Philip Gath and assigned to crew chief TSgt Conrad A. Rose

Converted to D-1 strafer by the 4th Air Depot at Garbutt Field near Townsville during August 1943. During September or early October, repainted with the "Bat Outta Hell" nose art and white tail markings.

This B-25 flew at least 66 combat missions including September 27 Wewak piloted by Banz, October 12 Rabaul, October 16 Wewak piloted by Gath, who claimed a "Oscar" shot down with the nose guns. November 27 against Boram Airfield piloted by Gath.

On January 25, 1944 on a mission against the Admiralties piloted by Lt. Baker, tail gunner Sgt Otto L. Bowker was wounded and raced to land at Finschafen, but Baker died an hour later in the hospital, afterwards the B-25 returned to Dobodura.

On February 3, 1944 flew on the mission against Dagua Airfield. On February 16 against Kavieng piloted by Cesna and attacked Subchaser #39, hit by debris from the explosion that caused ammunition to catch fire and holes in the rear fuselage.

On April 3, 1944 flew on the mission against Hollandia piloted by Graham, strafing a Ki-48 Lily until it burst into flames and machine gun positions.

On July 27, 1944 flew on the mission against Galela piloted by Hotz.

Mission History
On July 30, 1944 took off on a barge sweep. This B-25 disappeared in the Sele Strait area after departing formation to attack a target. When this bomber failed to return, the entire crew was listed as Missing In Action (MIA).

Memorials
The entire crew was officially declared dead on February 16, 1946 and are memorialized on the tablets of the missing at Manila American Cemetery.

References
Warpath Across The Pacific page 63, 97 (photo) 115-116 (photo), 131-132, 153, 175, 213 (profile) 370, 386, 411

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Last Updated
February 4, 2018

 

Tech Info
B-25

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MIA
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