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  B-25D-5 "Slapsy" Serial Number 41-30165  
USAAF
5th AF
345th BG
499th BS

Former Assignment
22nd BG
2nd BS
33rd BS

Pilot  2nd Lt Howard F. Rhode, O-804401 (KIA) NJ
Co-Pilot  2/Lt James G. Awenius, O-691078 (KIA) CO
Engineer  S/Sgt Jack A. Kleeb, 35680223 (KIA) Newport, KY
Radio  S/Sgt Harold L. Nelson, 36730178 (KIA)
Passenger  1st Lt. Jack Hoopes, O-561301 (KIA, BNR) Marysville, OH
Passenger  Sgt Raymond V. Farmer, 15043664 (KIA) IN

Crashed  May 9, 1944
MACR  none

Aircraft History
Built by North American. Delivered to the U. S. Army. Ferried overseas via Hawaii to Australia.

Wartime History
Assigned to the 5th Air Force, 22nd Bombardment Group, 33rd Bombardment Squadron. Later, assigned the 2nd Bombardment Squadron. Afterwards, transferred to 345th Bombardment Group, 499th Bombardment Squadron on January 31, 1944. Nicknamed "Slapsy". Crew chief was Sing.

Mission History
On May 9, 1944 took off from Nadzab Airfield piloted by Rhode on a mission to test the airfield's search light capabilities. While hundreds watched form the ground, the pilots were blinded by the search lights and dove straight down and crashed, being followed by search lights the entire way until the crash.

Memorials
The entire crew was officially declared dead on May 9, 1944. The bodies of the crew were recovered from the crash site and initially buried in New Guinea. Hooper was listed as missing in action and his body was never recovered.

Postwar, two of the crew were buried at Manila American Cemetery Rhode at plot L, row 13, grave 32. Farmer at plot C row 14 grave 44. Awenius was buried at National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific (Punchbowl) grave details unknown.

Kleeb was buried in Saint Stephen Cemetery in Fort Thomas, Kentucky on June 22, 1948.
Hoopes is buried in Oakdale Cemetery in Marysville, OH at section F, lot 147.
Details on Nelson are unknown, but presumed to be buried in private cemeteries.

Relatives
William C. Hoopes (nephew)
"My uncle, 1st Lt. Jack C. Hoopes was a passenger along with 4 other crewmen on this aircraft. Through relatives I've been told my uncle's remains were never recovered, although they buried an empty coffin in my hometown. I'm currently obtaining official military records of my uncle to find out the exact disposition of his body and 4 other aircraft crew members. He was from Marysville, Ohio, age 25"

References
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - Howard F. Rhode
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - Raymond V. Farmer
FindAGrave - 2Lt Howard F Rhode
FindAGrave - 2Lt James G. Awenius
FindAGrave - SSgt Jack Alexander Kleeb (grave photo)
FindAGrave - Harold L Nelson (grave photo)
FindAGrave - Jack C Hoopes
FindAGrave - Sgt Raymond V Farmer
PNG Museum Aircraft Status Card - B-25D Mitchell 41-30165
Warpath Across the Pacific pages 100, 144, 369, 387
Thanks to Dan J. DiOrio for Kleeb grave details

Contribute Information
Are you a relative or associated with any person mentioned?
Do you have photos or additional information to add?

Last Updated
January 5, 2018

 

Tech Info
B-25

Tech Info
MIA
1 Missing

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