|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
Built by North American. Delivered to the U. S. Army. Ferried overseas via Hawaii to Australia.
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.
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.
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.
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"
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)
Jack C Hoopes
FindAGrave - Sgt Raymond V Farmer
PNG Museum Aircraft Status Card - B-25D Mitchell 41-30165
Across the Pacific pages 100, 144, 369, 387
Thanks to Dan J. DiOrio for
Kleeb grave details
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January 5, 2018