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|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 Air Force (USAAF) as B-17F-1-BO Flying Fortress serial number 41-24354. Ferried overseas via Hickam Field then across the Pacific to Australia.
Assigned to the 5th Air Force (5th AF), 19th Bombardment Group (19th BG), 93rd Bombardment Squadron (93rd BS). No known nose art or nickname. When lost, engine and weapon serial numbers unknown.
On August 26, 1942 at 4:00am took off from Mareeba Airfield piloted by Captain Clyde H. Webb Jr. as one of eight B-17s 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.
USAF Serial Number Search Results - B-17F-1-BO Flying Fortress 41-24354
"24354 (19th BS, 93rd BS) shot down by IJN AAA off Milne Bay, PNG Aug 26, 1942. All crew killed."
Missing Air Crew Report 16099 (MACR 16099) was created retroactively circa 1945-1946
FindAGrave - Capt Clyde Henry Webb, Jr (photo)
FindAGrave - Maj Harold Willsie, Jr
FindAGrave - Raymond Brewer Weeks (memorial marker, photo)
PNG Museum Aircraft Status Card - B-17E Flying Fortress 41-24354
Fortress Against The Sun pages 240-241, 390, 431 footnote 53
Ken's Men Against The Empire Volume 1 (2015) page 57
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