|Pilot Captain Clyde H. Webb Jr., O-22999 (MIA / KIA) IL
Co-Pilot Major Harold Willsie, O-373836 (MIA / KIA) OK
Bombardier 1st Lt. Seth A. Ford, O-440331 (MIA / KIA) CA
Navigator 2nd Lt Philip P. Reece Jr., O-789813 (MIA / KIA) WV
Engineer Sgt Carl T. Roberts, 6999228 (MIA / KIA)
Radio Sgt John Kominicki, 11011456 (MIA / KIA) RI
Gunner Cpl Ferris J. Antone, 17034700 (MIA / KIA) MO
Gunner Pvt Harold W. Davis, 39020775 (MIA / KIA) CA
Gunner Pvt Raymond B. Weeks, 18061857 (MIA / KIA) TX
MIA August 26, 1942
Built by Boeing at Seattle. Constructors Number 3039. Delivered to the U. S. Army. Ferried overseas via Hawaii to Australia.
=Assigned to the 5th Air Force, 19th Bombardment Group, 93rd Bombardment Squadron. No known nose art or nickname. When lost, engine and weapon serial numbers unknown.
On August 26, 1942 one of eight B-17s that took off from Mareeba Airfield at 4:00am piloted by Captain Webb on a bombing mission against a Japanese convoy off Milne Bay. This B-17 was part of the second flight of three bombers. Weather inbound to the target was horrible with a ceiling of only 2,000' or less. Between 6:30am to 7:45am, the formation bombed from roughly 1,500' and experienced accurate anti-aircraft fire from the ships.
At the start of the bomb run, this B-17 suffered a direct hit from anti-aircraft fire in the No. 2 engine and fuel tank setting it on fire. Immediately, the bomber nosed over upside down and crashed into Milne Bay with the loss of the entire crew. No parachutes were observed. Before sinking, the B-17 skidded along the surface leaving behind a trail of burning fuel in the sea. This bomber was the first B-17 F model lost in the Pacific War.
The entire crew was declared dead on the day of the mission. The entire crew is memorialized on the tablets of the missing at Manila American Cemetery.
Willsie has a memorial marker at Tecumseh Cemetery in Tecumseh, OK.
Weeks has a memorial marker at Ryan Chapel Cemetery in Diboll, TX
Missing Air Crew Report 16099 (MACR 16099) was created retroactively circa 1945-1946
PNG Museum Aircraft Status Card - B-17E Flying Fortress 41-24354
Fortress Against The Sun pages 240-241, 390, 431 footnote 53
FindAGrave - Capt Clyde Henry Webb, Jr (photo)
FindAGrave - Maj Harold Willsie, Jr
FindAGrave - Raymond Brewer Weeks (memorial marker, photo)
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May 22, 2014