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  B-26 "Kansas Comet" Serial Number 40-1473  
5th AF
22nd BG
33rd BS

Former Assignments
19th BS

Pilot  1st Lt Louis A. Almeida, O-396351 (KIA, BR) PA
Co-Pilot  2nd Lt. Roy H. Baxter, Jr. (KIA, BR) MA
Navigator  2nd Lt. Jack Ingram (KIA, BR)
Bombardier  2nd Lt. Joe H. Meadors, Jr., O-432975 (KIA, BR) SC
Engineer  Pfc Joseph H. Haswell (KIA, BR)
Radio  Sgt Robert M. Keich (KIA, BR)
Gunner  Pfc Joseph Kotcher (KIA, BR) IL
Passenger  2nd Lt. Edgar S. Taylor, O-388773 (KIA, BR) NY

Crashed  April 21, 1942
MACR  none

Aircraft History
Built by Martin in Baltimore, Maryland. Delivered to the U. S. Army Air Force (USAAF) as B-26 Marauder serial number 40-1473.

Wartime History
During 1941, assigned to the 22nd Bombardment Group, 19th Bombardment Squadron. Prewar plane number 38. Assigned to 2nd Lt. Walter Krell and crew chief Orr. In February 1942, transferred to the 33rd Bombardment Squadron at Hawaii Air Depot (HAD) at Hickam Field. Ferried across the Pacific to Australia.

Mission History
On April 21, 1942 before dawn, this B-26 took off from Garbutt Field near Townsville armed with two 1,000' pound bombs on a flight bound for 7-Mile Drome near Port Moresby. During the take off, the B-26 suffered an engine failure, crashed into trees beyond the runway and crashed. The wreckage caught fire and one of two bombs aboard exploded, destroying the plane and killing the entire crew.

The entire crew was officially declared dead the day of the crash. Postwar, all were transported to the United States for permanent burial. Three were buried at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific (Punchbowl). Almeida at Plot C Row 0 Grave 641. Meadors at plot B, grave 1127. Taylor at plot A, grave 300.

Baxter at Arlington National Cemetery at section 12, site 3792.
Haswell at Grandview Union Cemetery in Strasburg, OH.
Keich was at Crown Hill Burial Park in Vienna, OH.
Kotcher at Saint Peter And Paul Cemetery in Westville, IL.
Ingram has an unknown burial, likely in his hometown in the United States.

Afterwards, B-26 Marauder 40-1433 was nicknamed "Kansas Comet II".

USAF Serial Number Search Results - B-26 40-1473
"1473 (22nd BG, 33rd BS) crashed on takeoff at Garbutt Field, Australia Apr 21, 1942. 8 killed."
FindAGrave - Capt Louis A Almeida (grave photo)
FindAGrave - Roy H. Baxter, Jr. (grave photo)
FIndAGrave - Lieut Joe H. Meadors, Jr (gave photo)
FindAGrave - Joseph H. Haswell (grave photos)
FindAGrave - Sgt Robert Aubrey Keich
FindAGrave - Joseph Kotcher (grave photos)
FindAGrave - 2LT Edgar Sylvester Taylor (grave photo)
Revenge of the Red Raiders pages 78, 472, 495

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Last Updated
October 1, 2018


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