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  B-17C Flying Fortress Serial Number 40-2062  
USAAF
5th AF
19th BG
93rd BS

Click For Enlargement
USAAF Dec 41-Jan 42
Pilot  Captain Ray L. Cox, O-380226 (MIA / KIA) Crowell, TX
Co-Pilot  1st Lt John E. L. Huse, O-021777 (MIA / KIA) Bath, ME
Crew  S/Sgt John U. Sowa, 6541524 (MIA / KIA, BR) MT
Crew  Sgt. Arthur E. Karlinger, 6579249 (MIA / KIA) OR
Crew  Sgt John S. Penny, 17023807 (MIA / KIA) MS
Gunner  Pfc Jack E. Bingham, 20813175 U.S. Army 131st Field Artillery (MIA / KIA) Uvalde, TX
Gunner  Pvt. Don H. Barnes, 20813583 U.S. Army 131st Field Artillery (MIA / KIA, BR) Hale County, TX
Crashed  February 3, 1942
MACR  none

Aircraft History
Built by Boeing at Seattle. Constructors Number 2063. Delivered to the U.S. Army Air Force (USAAF) as B-17C Flying Fortress serial number 40-2062. Assigned to the 5th Air Force (5th AF), 19th Bombardment Group (19th BG), 30th Bombardment Squadron (30th BS) to pilot Lt. James T. Connally. No known nickname or nose art.

Wartime History
On December 8, 1941 at the start of the Pacific War, this B-17 was at Clark Field and survived the Japanese air raid. On December 10, 1941 at 5:30am took off on a photo reconnaissance mission over Formosa (Taiwan). Afterwards, flown from Clark Field south to Del Monte Airfield on Mindanao.

On December 14, 1942 in the morning during take off piloted by Lt. Connally a blew a tire on a bombing mission against Japanese forces off Legaspi and did not participate in the mission.

On December 20, 1941 evacuated southward to Batchelor Field near Darwin.

On December 22, 1941 took off from Batchelor Field as one of nine B-17s on a for a bombing mission against Japanese shipping in Davao Bay. Returning, the bombers landed at Del Monte Airfield and afterwards returned to Batchelor Field.

On December 30, 1941 at 8:00am took off from Batchelor Field plus six B-17s led by Major Walsh on a flight to Singosari Airfield (Malang) on Java. At the time, this was the only operational B-17C Flying Fortress in theater.

On January 8, 1942 in the morning took off from Singosari Airfield (Malang) piloted by Lt. Connally on a flight to Kendari II Airfield on Celebes (Sulawesi) then took off again on a bombing mission against Davao Bay on Mindanao. During the flight, this B-17 became separated before arriving over Davao Bay and bombed a large transport, but missed and returned to land at Kendari II Airfield.

On January 11, 1942 at 5:55am took off from Singosari Airfield (Malang) piloted by Lt. Kurts and Lt. Connaly to bomb the Japanese invasion force off Tarakan. Encountered a storm over the Java Sea forcing the formation to climb up to 27,000'. Nearing the target, they observed a smoke column from the burning Borneo oil fields and experienced a drop in oil pressure from the No. 1 engine, but adjusted controls and continued on the mission. At 11:45am, this B-17 dropped its bombs over Tarakan from 29,000' and damage was reported as uncertain and turned back for base, but began loosing altitude, 100' per minute and instead landed at Soerabaja Airfield, after an 11 hour, 30 minute mission. The next day, the B-17 returned to Singosari Airfield.

On January 19, 1942 took off from Singosari Airfield (Malang) piloted by Lt. Connally with co-pilot Major Combs armed with 100 pound bombs on a joint bombing mission including B-17s from the 19th BG and 7th BG against Jolo then land at Del Monte Airfield on Mindanao to pickup stranded personnel then return to Singosari Airfield. Over the target area, storms and clouds obscured Jolo so the bombers departed and spotting a hole in the clouds observed Japanese vessels. Aboard this B-17, bombardier Sgt. Fesmire had already stowed the bombsight and rushed to reinstall it. Flying in two groups of three bombers, the B-17s bombed the tanker and claimed many hits and with the ship sinking by the stern. Landing at Del Monte Airfield, the B-17s rescued stranded 19th BG personnel with evacuation priority for pilots. On January 20, 1942 after midnight took off again and returned to Singosari Airfield. For his role in this mission and evacuation flight, Connally earned the Distinguished Flying Cross (DFC).

Mission History
On February 3, 1942 took off from Singosari Airfield (Malang) piloted by 1st Lt. Ray L. Cox (30th BS) on a test flight. Returning, this bomber was jumped by A6M2 Zeros and attempted to outrun them over the sea but was shot down and crashed on eastern Java. When this bomber failed to return it was officially listed as Missing In Action (MIA). When lost, this was the last B-17C model still operating in the South West Pacific Area (SWPA) theater.

Wreckage
On February 4, 1942 the crash site was found roughly 20 miles from Singosari Airfield (Malang) and was still smoldering.

Recovery of Remains
Afterwards, the remains of Sowa were recovered. Postwar, his remains were transported to the Philippines.

Memorials
The entire crew was declared dead the day of the mission. Six of the crew: Cox, Huse, Karlinger, Penny, Bingham and Barnes remain listed as Missing In Action (MIA). All six are memorialized at Manila American Cemetery on the tablets of the missing.

Cox earned the Distinguished Service Cross, Air Medal and Purple Heart, posthumously.

Huse earned the Silver Star, Air Medal with Oak Leaf Cluster and Purple Heart, posthumously. He also has a memorial marker at Oak Grove Cemetery in Bath, ME at plot 3 North Lot 18.

Karlinger earned the Silver Star, Air Medal, Purple Heart, posthumously.

Penny earned the Silver Star, Purple Heart, postumoustly.

Bingham earned the Purple Heart, posthumously.

Barnes earned the Purple Heart, posthumously. He also has a memorial marker at City of Lubbock Cemetery in Lubbock, TX at block 47.

Sowa earned the Silver Star, Air Medal and Purple Heart, posthumously. He is buried at Manila American Cemetery at plot N row 5 grave 84.

References
USAF Serial Number Search Results - B-17C Fortress 40-2062
"2062 (93rd BS, 19th BG) shot down by Japanese fighters 10 mi S of Malang, Java Feb 3, 1942. 7 KIA"
Associated Press (AP) photograph of the crew with this B-17 in Australia February 1942 released March 10, 1942
Fortress Against The Sun (2001) pages 67, 77, 91, 100, 104, 116, 382, 404 (footnote 65), 404 (footnote 73), 405, 406 (footnote 44), 408
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - Ray L. Cox
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - John E. L. Huse
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - John U. Sowa
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - Arthur E. Karlinger
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - John S. Penny
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - Jack E. Bingham
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - Don H. Barnes
FindAGrave - Capt Ray Lawrence Cox (tablets of the missing photo)
FindAGrave - 1Lt John Ernest Linwood Huse (tablets of the missing photo)
FindAGrave - John Ernest Linwood Huse (photo, biography, burial Malang)
FindAGrave - John Ernest Huse (memorial marker, Oak Grove Cemetery)
FindAGrave - SSgt John U. Sowa (grave photos)
FindAGrave - Sgt Arthur E. Karlinger (tablets of the missing)
FindAGrave - Sgt John S. Penny (tablets of the missing)
FindAGrave - PFC Jack Edward Bingham (tablets of the missing)
FindAGrave - Pvt Don Henry Barnes (tablets of the missing photo)
FindAGrave - PVT Don Henry Barnes (memorial marker photo)
Thanks to William Bartsch and Edward Rogers for additional information

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Last Updated
February 18, 2020

 

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