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Ed Widdis 1943
5th AF c1943
|Pilot 1st Lt Walter K. Brenneman, O-726738 (KIA) Warkarusa, IN
Co-Pilot 2nd Lt James G. Purdy, O-738461 (KIA) Portland, OR
Navigator 2nd Lt Philip M. Smith, O-804890(KIA) Brockton, MA
Bombardier 2nd Lt Charles F. Lanning, Jr., O-669329 (KIA) Gewell, NJ
Engineer Sgt Harry C. Billings, 11033067 (KIA) New Britain, CT
Asst Engineer S/Sgt Andrew W. Scribner, 36075217 (KIA) Jerseyville, IL
Radio Cpl Guy P. Signorino, 14079822 (KIA) New Orleans, LA
Asst. Radio Cpl Stuart A. Lambe, 16048269 (KIA) Austin, TX
Gunner Sgt Francis E. Caldwell, 36172510 (MIA / KIA) Detroit, MI
Gunner SSgt Roy M. Erskine, 19171574 (MIA / KIA) Salt Lake City, UT
Crashed August 3, 1943 at 11:27
Later, transferred to the 43rd Bombardment Group, 65th Bombardment Squadron. Nicknamed "Red Moose Express" with nose art depicting a moose head and bombs falling in a black circle. When lost, weapon and engine serial numbers were not noted on MACR.
This B-17 was part of the second element of three bombers, flying in a vee formation, along with B-17 piloted by 1st Lt. Henseler. Due to clouds and mountainous terrain, they dropped their bombs on Bogadjim village, the secondary target.
After bombing the target, at 11:27 over Astrolabe Bay at 5,000' the bombers were intercepted by Ki-43 Oscars of the 24th Sentai led by W.O. Katsuaki Kira (misidentified as A6M3 Hamps). The Oscars diving at both B-17 and making simultaneous high frontal attacks. The third Oscar attacked this B-17 from 3 o'clock position hitting this bomber.
This B-17 went into a 45 degree dive with inboard engines smoking and hit the sea in a glide and broke up on impact, but did not explode or burn. The crash site was estimated to be roughly 100 yards offshore from the mouth of Mindjim River to the east of Bogadjim on the north coast of New Guinea. No trace of the crew was seen by the three other B-17s that observed the crash.
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