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  B-25D-2 Mitchell Serial Number 43-3383  
5th AF
345th BG
501st BS

Click For Enlargement
345th BG August 14, 1944

Pilot  1st Lt. Eugene Nirdlinger, O-798567 (MIA / KIA, BR) PA
Co-Pilot  2nd Lt Jacob E. Hedenquist, Jr., O-829477 (MIA / KIA, BR)
Bombardier / Navigator  1st Lt. John Scalzone, O-729574 (MIA / KIA, BR)
Engineer-Gunner  Sgt Herbert Ratnoff (MIA / KIA, BR)
Radio-Gunner  TSgt William J. Welch, Jr., 31017833 (MIA / KIA, BR)
Gunner  SSgt Henry G. Romaine, 20245444 (MIA / KIA, BR)

Crashed  August 15, 1944
MACR  16265

Aircraft History
Built by North American as model B-25D-30. Delivered to the U. S. Army. Ferried overseas via Hickam Field across the Pacific to Australia.

Wartime History
Assigned to the 5th Air Force and modified to strafer D-2 by the 4th Air Depot at Garbutt Field at Townsville. On April 28, 1944 assigned to 345th Bombardment Group, 501st Bombardment Squadron. No known nose art or nickname. Regular pilot Jacobson and crew chief Gettel.

Mission History
On August 15, 1944 took off from Mokmer Drome on Biak Island piloted by 1st Lt. Eugene Nirdlinger leading the squadron on a strike mission against the dock at Ternate.

Over Ternate, this bomber's bomb racks malfunctioned and did not drop. Instead, Nirdlinger proceeded to make a second bomb run against a a small ship tied up to the jetty at Dodinga on the western side of Halmahera Island, with B-25D "Quitch" 41-30518 piloted by 1st Lt. John J. Nolan. Approaching the jetty, anti-aircraft fire opened up. After dropping its bombs, both B-25 pulled up to climb over the hills surrounding the target. Possibly, this B-25 was damaged by anti-aircraft fire.

While pulling up, this B-25's tail impacted the the wing of B-25D "Quitch" 41-30518 damaging the right wing. From of the impact, the tail of this bomber broke off and immediately crashed nose first into the hillside and exploded on impact, killing the entire crew. When this B-25 failed to return, it was officially listed as Missing In Action (MIA). Also damaged, struggled to maintain control and ditched off Kamiri on Noemfoor Island.

Recovery of Remains
Postwar, the remains of the crew were recovered by American Graves Registration Service (AGRS).

The entire crew was declared dead the day of the mission. After the recovery of remains, the entire crew was buried in a group burial spanning three graves at Woodlawn National Cemetery. Nirdlinger and Hedenquist are buried at section G site 4587. Ratnoff and Romaine are buried at section G site 4588. Welch at section G site 45889.

NARA World War II Army Enlistment Records Eugene Nirdlinger
Missing Air Crew Report 16265 (MACR 16265)
Warpath Across The Pacific page 178-180, 371, 398
FindAGrave - Eugene Azsor Nirdlinger (photo, obituary, grave photo)
FindAGrave - Jacob E Hedenquist, Jr (group burial photo)
FindAGrave - John Scalzone (group burial photo)
FindAGrave - Herbert Ratnoff (group burial photo)
FindAGrave - William J Welch, Jr (group burial photo)
FindAGrave - Henry G Romaine (photo, group burial photo)

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Last Updated
February 4, 2018


Tech Info

6 Missing

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