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  B-24A-CO Liberator Serial Number 40-2367  
USAAF
11th AF
28th Composite Group
21st BS

Click For Enlargement
Click For Enlargement
December 10, 1942

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Ted Spencer 1978

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Steve Hillebrand 2008

Pilot  Captain John Andrews (rescued)
Co-Pilot  Louis Blau (rescued)
Navigator  James Beardsley (resuced)
Passenger  Col Hart (rescued)
Passenger  Brig Gen William E. Lynd (WIA, resuced)

Force Landed  December 9, 1942
MACR  none

Aircraft History
Built by Consolidated at San Diego during 1941. Constructors Number 19. Delivered to the U. S. Army. An ASV radar antenna was installed on this bomber.

Wartime History
This B-24 began flying anti-submarine patrols off the west coast of the United States. On January 9, 1942 assigned to the 28th Composite Group, 21st Bombardment Squadron. On the left side of the nose was painted the nose art of a bee holding a bomb over its head and a large middle finger on a circular background. On June 11, 1942 deployed to Otter Point Airfield (Umank). This bomber flew 18 combat missions before being lost.

Mission History
Took off from Adak Airfield on a weather mission over Attu and Kiska. Aboard was Brigadier General William E. Lynd. Over Attu, the B-24 circled Holtz Bay then returned to Adak Airfield at 16:00, but found the airfield obscured by bad weather. The B-24 radioed it would fly to the far end of Atka Island and make a force landing at the western end of Bechevin Bay. During the crash, the rear fuselage broke off rear of the wings.

Rescue
The crew survived with minor injuries, General Lynd suffered a a broken collar bone. The crew made a shelter by draping wing covers over the port outer wing panel and wrapped themselves in their parachutes and spent the night at the crash site.

Spotted the next day from the air, supplies were dropped to them from another B-24's and the crew walked to the beach 200 yards away on Bechevin Bay and awaited rescue. A PBY Catalina landed at Bechevin Bay and took the crew aboard but were too heavy to take off. Instead, they waited for a US Navy destroyer escort to arrive and rescue them.

Wreckage
Remains in situ on Atka Island. Over the years, the fuselage crumpled behind cockpit from weight of the turret. In 1975 by a US Navy helicopter crew removed the machine guns.

During 1978-1989, Ted Spencer visited the wreck and photographed it. The serial number, bomb markings and unit insignia were still visible on the left side of the cockpit.

Ted Spencer visited the wreck during 1978 & 1979:
"The nose was buckled by the crash. They came down very hot due to the low visibility and the ascending terrain in front of them. They hit the frozen ground which was actually made up of little hummucks. As they slid along, the ground tore up the skin and formers of the lower fuselage. The nose was doing the plowing and the nose gear assembly was torn away. The coupe de' grace was when the plane hit ground that had been furled by an old creek. The nose hit the far bank of the creek bed bank which probably buckled the nose/flight deck section. The impact slammed them to a halt."

In 1979, Ted Spencer of the Alaska Aviation Heritage Museum nominated this B-24 to the National Register of Historic Places, accepted December 2008.

In 1984, the "American Veterans Memorial Museum" in Colorado registered this B-24 with the FAA as N58426 (today, this number is listed as not assigned) in hopes of recovering it, but no further action happened.

Today, the wreck part of the jurisdiction of the Aleutian Islands National Wildlife Refuge managed by the US Fish & Wildlife Service.

References
Thanks to Ted Spencer for additional information
A documentary was shown once on a local TV station in Alaska in 1983 but never released
Flypast "Forgotten Survivor" February 2001 by Nicholas A. Veronico
Wreck Chasing 3 "The Forgotten Liberator" by Nicholas A. Veronico
Atka B-24 Liberator (photos)
Anchorage Daily News "WWII wreck part of new national monument" December 28, 2008
Note, some sources state this B-24 had a crew of 11, photos show six or seven men
USAF Biographies - Major General William E. Lynd

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Last Updated
January 1, 2014

 

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B-24

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