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  B-17E Flying Fortress Serial Number 41-2617  
5th AF
19th BG
30th BS

Pilot  Captain C. H. Hillhouse, O-21838 (survived)
Co-Pilot  2nd Lt. A. F. Neel, O-431973 (survived)
Bombardier  1st Lt. R. B. Gooch, O-412732 (survived)
Navigator  2nd Lt. R. L. Worley, O-434213 (survived)
Engineer  S/Sgt J. A. Foster, 6551202 (survived)
Assist. Engineer  Cpl Joseph C. Wateski, 7021588 (survived)
Radio  Sgt J. L. Hickey, 19000147 (survived)
Gunner  Pvt S. Schwimmer, 39678760 (survived)
Gunner  Cpl J. R. Bayles, 14070416
Crashed  August 7, 1942
MACR  none

Aircraft History
Built by Boeing at Seattle. During May 1942 delivered to the U. S. Army Air Force (USAAF) as B-17E Flying Fortress serial number 41-2617. Ferried overseas via Hickam Field across the Pacific to Australia.

Wartime History
Assigned to the 5th Air Force, 19th Bombardment Group, 30th Bombardment Squadron. No known nickname or nose art.

Gordon Manuel recorded in his diary:
"May 20, 1942: Went down and took a look at the ship, it looks like a really fine ship it is a B-17E 2617.  It has to have a new engine. They are sending a new engine down by air.

May 23, 1942: Today I installed the bomb sight in the ship it sure looks like a honey.

May 24 1942: This morning I made my first flight around the island..  It sure is very picturesque.  The islands are all hills and mountains there are little towns all around the coastline the largest town is Nouméa, the capital.  We had machine gun practice.  We fired at an old merchant ship that had been run up on a coral reef.  I fired over 100 rounds at it."

Mission History
On August 7, 1942 took off from 7-Mile Drome near Port Moresby. Due to unknown reasons, this B-17 crashed without injury to any of the crew. This bomber was written off on October 31, 1944.

Joseph C. Wateski (son of Joseph C. Wateski)
"I feel that my father was a bona fide hero, having been awarded numerous Air Medals, the Distinguished Flying Cross and the Silver Star for gallantry in action."

USAF Serial Number Search Results - B-17E 41-2617
"2617 delivered to Minneapolis Mar 7, 1942; assigned to 19BG at Hickam, Hawaii May 13, 1942; crashed on takeoff at Port Moresby Aug 7, 1942. WO Oct 31, 1944."
History 19th Bombardment Group
PNG Museum Aircraft Status Card - B-17E Flying Fortress 41-2617

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Last Updated
February 14, 2020


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