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  B-26 "Susie-Q" Serial Number 40-1391  
USAAF
5th AF
22nd BG
408th BS

Former assignment
18th RS

PacificWrecks.com
Muri June 1942

PacificWrecks.com
Muri June 4, 1942

PacificWrecks.com
Muri June 4, 1942

PacificWrecks.com
Roy Grinell 2005

Pilot  1st Lt. James P. Muri (survived) Cartersville, MT
Co-Pilot  Lt. Pren L. Moore (survived)
Navigator  2nd Lt. William W. Moore (survived)
Bombardier  2nd Lt. Russell H. Johnson
(survived)
Nose Gunner  TSgt John J. Gogoj (WIA, survived)
Engineer / Top Turret Gunner  Cpl Frank L. Melo, Jr. (WIA, survived)
Tail Gunner  Pfc Earl D. Ashley (WIA, survived)

Force Landed  June 4, 1942


Aircraft History
Built by Martin in Baltimore, Maryland. Delivered to the U. S. Army Air Force (USAAF) as B-26 Marauder serial number 40-1391. During the middle of 1941, assigned to the 22nd Bombardment Group, 18th Reconnaissance Squadron at Langley Field, Virginia. Disassembled and shipped as cargo aboard a shipped to Oahu.

During May 1942, one of the last B-26s reassembled at Hickam Field by the Hawaiian Air Depot (HAD). The stateside markings were over painted but retained the six U. S. star markings and "U. S. Army" on the bottom of both wings. The serial number, minus the first number "01391" was painted in yellow on both sides of the rear fuselage.

Initially, assigned to pilot 2nd Lt. Pren L. Moore. The entire B-26 was waxed to improve speed and was being prepared for a ferry flight across the Pacific to Australia.

Afterwards, assigned to 1st Lt. James P. Muri when the bomber he was assigned, B-26 40-1398 ditched. Muri nicknamed this bomber "Susie-Q" after his wife, on the right side of the nose painted in yellow and orange outlined lettering.

During April 1942, the 18th Reconnaissance Squadron was redesignated 408th Bombardment Squadron. This B-26 was at Hickam Field waiting for two other B-26s to be ready for a ferry flight across the Pacific to Australia.

This bomber was one of two B-26s from the 22nd Bombardment Group, 408th Bombardment Squadron plus two B-26s from the 38th Bombardment Group, 69th Bombardment Squadron flown to Midway Airfield to defend against the Japanese fleet that was expected to attack Midway Atoll during early June 1942.

Mission History
On June 4, 1942 during the Battle of Midway took of from Midway Airfield on Eastern Island piloted by 1st Lt. James P. Muri at 6:30am armed with an aerial torpedo on a mission to attack Japanese Navy vessels during the Battle of Midway. The weather was described as "very good". The formation of four B-26 Marauders included two from the 38th Bombardment Group, 69th Bombardment Squadron plus two B-26s from the 22nd Bombardment Group, 408th Bombardment Squadron (including this aircraft).

The formation was led by the B-26 piloted by Captain James F. Collins, with left wingman B-26 "Satan's Playmate" 40-1424 piloted by 1st Lt Herbert C. Mayes and right wingman B-26 piloted by 1st Lt William S. Watson. Behind them was (this aircraft) B-26 "Susie-Q" 40-1391 piloted by 1st Lt. James P. Muri.

The B-26 formation was intercepted by two A6M2 Zeros flying a Combat Air Patrol (CAP) and defensive anti-aircraft fire. During the attack, B-26 "Satan's Playmate" 40-1424 went Missing In Action (MIA). At 7:10am, the formation attacked the Japanese Navy carrier force roughly 150 miles northwest of Midway Atoll. Flying in a diamond formation at 700' altitude the bombers descend to 200' to make their torpedo attack.

Aboard, this B-26 both turret gunners and the tail gunner were wounded. Over the Japanese fleet, this B-26 targeted Akagi released its aerial torpedo but failed to score a hit. Afterwards, in an attempt to evade anti-aircraft fire, this B-26 flew down the flight deck of the Akagi nearly grazing the bridge while the gunners strafed.

Two of the attacking B-26's were lost in the attack, the other two returned to Midway. Returning with heavy damage, this B-26's hydraulic system was knocked out and the landing gear tires were punctured. Aboard, three of the crew were wounded. Despite this damage, this bomber successfully landed at Midway Airfield with the landing gear only partially extended. Initially, it was believed Muri hit or damaged the carrier he attacked and was initially credited for the sinking.

Wreckage
After the mission, 500 bullet holes were noted in this bomber and it was written off. The nose art with "Susie-Q" was cut out of the nose by Lt. Moore and kept as a souvenir. The rest of the B-26 was bulldozed into a barge and dumped into the lagoon off Eastern Island.

After the mission, the entire crew was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross (DSC). The three crew members also received the Purple Heart for wounds sustained.

Memorials
Ashley passed away on February 2, 1990 and buried at Arlington National Cemetery at section 64 site 203.
Moore passed away on April 3, 1999 and buried at Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery at plot CBD, 3, 658.
Muri passed away on February 3, 2013 and buried at Eastern Montana State Veterans Cemetery in Miles City, MT.

Relatives
James R. Muri (son of James P. Muri)
"My father has told stories about how they were briefed on the battle before taking to their planes to mount their attack. To paraphrase, they were told “enemy shipping xxx miles, course yyy.” And that was it. Take off, fly this heading for this many miles and attack the Japanese. He always laughed about that. ‘Boy, did we get a surprise,’ he would say. As for his B-26, Dad said it was bulldozed onto a barge, taken out into the lagoon, and dumped. Presumably it’s still there. It ought to be an interesting dive for folks who like to dive on historical wrecks. To the best of my knowledge no one has done this yet, so it’s a ‘first’ waiting for the right person. Look for that tail number of 1391. Also, you should see a gap in the nose where the aircraft name “Susie-Q” (after my mother) was cut away as a souvenir after the battle. Somebody knows where that souvenir is, but they aren't telling. And it ain’t any of us Muris."

References
Note some references refer to this bomber's nickname as "Suzy-Q" incorrectly.
USAF Serial Number Search Results - B-26 Marauder 40-1391
"22nd BG, 38th BS, 5th AF) participated in Battle of Midway. Landed partial gear up at Midway Island Jun 4, 1942 and w/o. Landing Accident at Midway Airfield Midway Island Due to Landing Gear Partially Up During Landing While Returning From a Mission on The Japanese Ships During The Battle of Midway. All Crew Survived. Aircraft Damaged Beyond Repair. Had Over 500 Holes in it. Salvaged."
FindAGrave - James Perry "Jim" Muri (photo, grave photo)
FindAGrave - Pren Leonard Moore (grave photo)
FindAGrave - Earl D Ashley
The Midway Marauders - B26 Midway Marauders 1942 22nd BG 38th BG via Wayback Machine March 3, 2016
Revenge of the Red Raiders pages 101-105, 283 (painting), 301 (profile), 504, 516, 543-544 (photo), 621 (index)

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Last Updated
February 4, 2018

 

Tech Info
B-26

Map
Map

June 4, 1942

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