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|Pilot 1st Lt. Frank T. "Fritz" Waskowitz, O-401274 (MIA / KIA) IL
Co-Pilot 1st Lt. Clarence L. Marthey, O-424976 (MIA / KIA) OH
Navigator 1st Lt. Arthur J. Platt, O-434020 (MIA / KIA) Syracuse, NY
Bombardier 1st Lt. Joseph M. Todd, O-432979 (MIA / KIA) IN
Engineer TSgt David G. Dixon, 6391882 (MIA / KIA) SC
Assistant Engineer SSgt J. W. Childers, 6297983 (MIA / KIA) OK
Radio Sgt Raymond R. Joslin, 6578322 (MIA / KIA) OK
Asst Radio Cpl Henry C. Nosalik, 36048939 (MIA / KIA) IL
Gunner Cpl Robert G. Thomas, 13042540 (MIA / KIA) MD
Crashed September 29, 1942
Built by Boeing at Seattle. Constructors Number 2427. Delivered to the U.S. Army Air Force (USAAF) as B-17E Flying Fortress serial number 41-2616. This bomber was originally slated for the Royal Air Force (RAF) but was never delivered. On February 22, 1942 delivered to Ogden, UT. Ferried to Hickam Field.
On May 24, 1942 assigned to the 11th Bombardment Group (11th BG), 98th Bombardment Squadron (98th BS). Nicknamed "Blue Goose". When lost, engine and weapon serial numbers not noted in Missing Air Crew Report 16104 (MACR 16104).
On September 29, 1942 took off from Espiritu Santo piloted by 1st Lt. Frank T. "Fritz" Waskowitz and landed at Henderson Field on Guadalcanal to refuel then took off again on a bombing mission against Tonolei Harbor off Bougainville. The formation of eleven bombers was led by B-17E 41-2611 piloted by Major Sewart forming a mixed formation from the 11th Bombardment Group (11th BG) including the 26th BS, 98th BS and 431st BS plus B-17s from the 5th Bombardment Group (5th BG), 72nd Bombardment Squadron (72nd BS).
Over the target was thick fog and the formation dove down to make their bombing run and were attacked by fifteen A6M Zeros. The formation was unable to locate the target due to bad weather and instead patrolled the western coast of Bougainville before spotting a Japanese cruiser and the formation bombed from 5,500' with all bombs missing the ship.
During the bomb run, bomb release mechanism failed and B-17F "Aztec's Curse" 41-24457 also failed to bomb. Together, the pair made a second bomb run. Facing heavy anti-aircraft fire, this B-17 sustained a direct hit, went into a spin and exploded tearing off the wings before crashing into the sea at roughly Lat 6° 25' S Long 155° 10 E.
Sgt Handrow tail gunner aboard B-17E "Uncle Biff" 41-9156 wrote:
"[It was] a sight I'll never forget, there was a little trail of smoke right back of the radio compartment. The plane went into a spin, then exploded, fire shot out all over, the wings tore off and she hit the sea. Nobody got out. It left me with a cold sweat and I have feared anti-aircraft fire since."
The entire crew was officially declared dead the day of the mission. The entire crew earned the Distinguished Flying Cross (DSC) and Purple Heart, posthumously for this mission.
Six of the crew: Waskowitz, Todd, Thomas, Marthey, Childers and Joslin are memorialized at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific (Punchbowl) on the court of the missing. Waskowitz, Todd and Thomas on court 5. Marthey, Childers and Joslin on court 7.
Three of the crew: Platt, Dixon and Nosalik are memorialized at Manila American Cemetery on the tablets of the missing.
Platt also has a memorial marker at White Chapel Memory Gardens in DeWitt, NY at lot 100B.
Todd also has a memorial marker at Center Cemetery Young America, IN.
Dixon also has a memorial marker at Rosemont Cemetery in Clinton, SC.
Thomas also has a memorial marker at Arlington National Cemetery at memorial section E, site 44.
Waskowitz also earned the Silver Star, Distinguished Flying Cross (DFC) and Air Medal.
Marthey also earned the Air Medal.
Todd also earned the Air Medal.
Childers also earned the Air Medal.
Joslin also earned the Air Medal.
Thomas also earned the Air Medal.
USAF Serial Number Search Results - B-17E Fortress 41-2616
"2616 ("The Blue Goose") delivered to Ogden Feb 22, 1942, originally slated for RAF but assigned instead to 11BG/96BS at Hickam, Hawaii May 24, 1942; hit by flak over Guadalcanal [sic] Sep 29, 1942. Aircraft was painted blue all over"
Missing Air Crew Report 16104 (MACR 16104) was created retroactively on April 10, 1946
26th Bombardment Squadron Diary - September 29, 1942
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - Frank T. Waskowitz
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - Clarence L. Marthey
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - Arthur J. Platt
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - Joseph M. Todd
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - David G. Dixon
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - J. W. Childers
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - Raymond R. Joslin
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - Henry C. Nosalik
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - Robert G. Thomas
FindAGrave - 1Lt Frank T “Fritz” Waskowitz (photo, courts of the missing photo)
FindAGrave - 1Lt Clarence L Marthey (courts of the missing photo)
FindAGrave - 1Lt Arthur J Platt (tablets of the missing)
FindAGrave - Arthur J. Platt (memorial marker)
FindAGrave - 1Lt Joseph M Todd (courts of the missing photo)
FindAGrave - Joseph M Todd (memorial marker photo)
FindAGrave - TSgt David G Dixon (tablets of the missing)
FindAGrave - David Geer Dixon (memorial marker photo)
FindAGrave - SSgt J W Childers (courts of the missing photo)
FindAGrave - Sgt Raymond Ralph Joslin (courts of the missing photo)
FindAGrave - Corp Henry C Nosalik (tablets of the missing)
FindAGrave - Corp Robert G Thomas (courts of the missing photo)
FindAGrave - CPL Robert G Thomas (memorial marker photo)
Grey Geese Calling (1981) page 213
Fortress Against The Sun (2001) pages 259 (September 29, 1942), 387, 433 (footnote 28)
Thanks to Jim Sawruk for additional information
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