Richard E. Oliver  Bombadier of B-17E 41-2446

USAAF
5th AF
7th BG
22nd BS


Oliver in 1939


Oliver in 2004

 

Oliver is a retired Colonel, USA who served in the Pacific during WWII and survived two crashes on the "23rd"

Bombadeir
I was the bombardier who joined [Pilot Fred C.] Eaton's crew [B-17E 41-2446] after his bombardier became ill in Hawaii. I had survived an 11th Squadron B-24 crash 900 miles south of Hawaii. A destroyer, US Preston #379, picked up the survivors and returned us to Hawaii, where I joined Eaton's crew.

Coincidences of the Crashes
Incidentally, the B-24 crash occurred on January 23, exactly 30 days prior to our crash in the New Guinea swamp. I wouldn't fly on the 23d of the month for a long time.

Removal of the Bombsite After B-17 Force Landing
I was the one who removed the bombsight from the nose compartment, placed it on the outer wing and shot it before sinking it in the swamp.

The Nickname, "Swamp Ghost"
To the best of my knowledge, the name "Swamp Ghost" came from a book of the same name, written and copyrighted by Glen Spieth, son of Harry Spieth, pilot of one of the other planes on the Feb 23 mission to Rabaul.

 

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