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  B-17D Flying Fortress Serial Number 40-3073  
5th AF
19th BG

Pilot  1st Lt. Jack Adams, O-22242 (survived)
Co-Pilot  2nd Lt. William L. Railing (survived)
Navigator  2nd Lt. Harry J. Schreiber (WIA, survived)
Bombardier  M/Sgt John O. Fleming (survived)
Radio  ? (WIA, survived)
Gunner  Pfc Paul A. Reimer (survived)
Gunner  Pfc John E. Makela (survived)
Force Landed  December 14, 1941
MACR  none

Aircraft History
Built by Boeing at Seattle. Constructors Number 2101. Delivered to the U.S. Army Air Force (USAAF) as B-17D Flying Fortress serial number 40-3073. Ferried overseas via Hickam Field and across the Pacific to the Philippines.

Wartime History
Assigned to the 5th Air Force (5th AF), 19th Bombardment Group (19th BG). No known nose art or nickname.

Mission History
On December 14, 1941 took off from from Del Monte Airfield to bomb Japanese transports off Legaspi. After the bomb run, this B-17 was intercepted by five A6M2 Zeros from Tainan Kōkūtai (Tainan Air Group) and claimed by pilots Saeki and Hidaka. Aboard the B-17, the navigator and radio operator were wounded and the gunners claimed two attacking aircraft shot down.

Damaged, this B-17 force landed in a rice paddy in the center of Masbate Island. After it crashed, the plane was strafed by the same Zeros. At 11:00pm that evening Fleming and the rear gunner burned the bomber.

Fates of the Crew
Afterwards, the entire crew was rescued by Filipinos and returned to their unit during March 1942.

19th Bombardment Group History - December 14, 1941 [Del Monte]
“Lts. Connally, Ford, Vandevanter, Coates, Wheless, and Adams with regular crews were scheduled to take off at 1140 on bombing mission to Legaspi. . . . Lt. Adams and Lt. Vandevanter, with Burke replacing Lt. Miller on Vandevanter’s crew, attacked transports in same area from 21,000'. Lt. Adams dropped all bombs and started to return to Del Monte when attacked by six (6) enemy pursuit. With two engines out of commission by gun fire he was forced to make a crash landing on Masbate. The plane was destroyed by enemy straffing fire after landing, but no casualties were suffered by crew. Results of bombing unknown.
The 19th Bomb Group (Turner Publishing 2000) p. 107
“Mindanao” by M/Sgt J.O. Fleming: On this particular flight I was bombardier, Capt. Jack Adams Pilot and Lt. Railing Co-Pilot. We took off in the early morning, dropped our bombs at about 12 noon, were shot down, landing on Mesabate [Masbate] Island. The radio operator was wounded by gunfire, and we crash landed onto a rice paddy. After the plane stopped, we looked to our left and saw a Jap pursuit trying to strafe us.. Everyone got out but the Co-Pilot, who decided it was safer to stay inside. The pursuit made one pass and was then joined by another pursuit and flew off. We then went to the hospital at Mesabate and had physical examinations given us. We spent several hours being examined by a native doctor. The rear gunner and myself went out about 11 that evening and burned the plane. Next morning were taken to the Mesabate Mining Corp. We stayed there until the morning of the 21st and left by outrigger canoe to the Island of Panay, and reported to the Provincial Governor, who sent us down to the 61st Filipino Regiment of Artillery, where we reported to the Colonel in charge. We stayed with that outfit until we departed for Mindanao on Jan. 3rd. We stayed with the 19th GP on Mindanao until the 20th of January, then departing for Australia in an LB-30. We were in Australia overnight and arrived in Java on Jan. 27th.”
Edgar D. Whitcomb Biography, Chapter 6 Harry Schreiber Air University Press 1995
Bloody Shambles Vol. I page 189
Fortress Against The Sun page 62, 64, 69, 72, 74-75, 383, 396
Thanks to Edward Rogers for research and analysis

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Last Updated
April 8, 2021


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