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43rd BG c1943
|Pilot 1st Lt Michael La Porte, O-791123 (MIA / KIA) NY
Co-Pilot 2nd Lt Howard L. Munson, O-674612 (MIA / KIA) OH
Bombardier 2nd Lt Gordon R. Spoor, O-7329189 (MIA / KIA) CA
Navigator 2nd Lt William H. Vandergrift, O-797428 (MIA / KIA) NJ
Engineer T/Sgt Idris T. Jenkins, 39090258 (MIA / KIA) CA
Radio T/Sgt Alvan B. Rowe Jr., 14038511 (MIA / KIA) FL
Asst Radio / Gunner S/Sgt Orville B. Severson, 36253506 (MIA / KIA) MN
Gunner S/Sgt Robert J. Frankenberger, 32144483 (MIA / KIA) NY
Gunner S/Sgt Ture E. Lindstrom, 32258128 (MIA / KIA) NY
Gunner S/Sgt Francis W. Neville, 32502049 (MIA / KIA) NJ
MIA September 2, 1943
Built by Boeing at Seattle. Constructors Number 2464. Delivered to the U. S. Army Air Force (USAAF) as B-17E Flying Fortress serial number 41-2653. Ferried overseas via Hickam Field then across the Pacific to Australia.
Assigned to the 5th Air Force, 43rd Bombardment Group, 65th Bombardment Squadron. Nicknamed "Craps For The Japs" with the nose art of a pair of dice.
Over the target, there were both single and twin engine enemy aircraft in the vicinity. Three Ki-45 Nick twin engine fighters from the 13th Sentai on a ferry flight from Rabaul to Boram Airfield spotted the B-17 formation and attacked. The lead Ki-45 piloted by WO Mitsugi Hyakutomi with two replacement pilots.
After damaging the lead B-17, Hyakutomi attacked this bomber with cannon fire causing it to dive out of formation emitting black smoke. There were no witnesses to the crash. Some of the other crew members in the formation believed the B-17 crashed into the sea while others thought it crashed at the base of a 7,000' mountain. When this bomber failed to return, the entire crew was officially listed as Missing In Action (MIA).
After the interception, the Ki-45 piloted by Hyakutomi was damaged by escorting P-38 Lightnings from the 49th Fighter Group but managed to return to Rabaul with a shattered canopy, damaged fuel tanks and 127 bullet holes in his fighter.
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