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  B-17E Flying Fortress Serial Number 41-9151  
USAAF
13th AF
11th BG
42nd BS

Pilot  Major Earl O. Hall, Jr., O-325099, C. O. of the 42nd BS (MIA / KIA) Crawford, TX
Co-Pilot  1st Lt Joaquin Castro, O-428914 (MIA / KIA) Mission, TX
Navigator  2nd Lt Frank N. Stern, Jr., O-438256 (MIA / KIA) Chicago, IL
Engineer  TSgt Paul Adler, 6147915 (MIA / KIA) Cambridge, MA
Bombardier  SSgt James Y. Bales, 15058894 (MIA / KIA) Crawfordville, IN
Radio  SSgt James C. Stephens, Jr., 6953552 (MIA / KIA) Pania, CO
Asst. Engineer  SSgt Francis S. Banasiak, 11020224 (MIA / KIA) Holyoke, MA
Asst Radio  Sgt Jesse N. Olmstead, 11033041 (MIA / KIA) Norwalk, CT
Gunner  Sgt Martin T. Grady, 6980875 (MIA / KIA) New York, NY
MIA  February 1, 1943
MACR  15093

Aircraft History
Built by Boeing at Seattle. Delivered to the U. S. Army Air Force (USAAF) as B-17E Flying Fortress serial number 41-9151. Ferried overseas via Hickam Field then across the Pacific to the South Pacific.

Wartime History
Assigned to the 13th Air Force, 11th Bombardment Group, 42nd Bombardment Squadron. No known nose art or nickname. When lost, engine and weapon serial numbers unknown.

Mission History
On February 1, 1943 took off from Henderson Field on Guadalcanal piloted by Major Earl O. Hall, Jr. (C. O. of the 42nd BS) leading the formation of nine B-17s to bomb mission against shipping in the Shortland area. This bomber was part of the second element of four B-17s including this bomber, B-17E "Eager Beavers" 41-9122, B-17E "Yokohama Express" 41-2442 and B-17 piloted by Captain Thomas (5th BG, 72nd BS).

Over the target area, this B-17 targeted a transport near Tonolei Harbor off southern Bougainville. After claiming hits on the ship, they turned right toward Choiseul Bay and were jumped by 15 to 25 A6M Zeros and was shot down by gunfire. When this bomber failed to return, it was officially listed as Missing In Action (MIA).

The sole surviving fourth bomber, B-17 piloted by a Captain Thomas was also badly damaged but managed to crash land at Guadalcanal. Two crew members (radio and bombardier) were wounded.

Memorials
Thew entire crew was officially declared on January 11, 1946. All are memorialized at Manila American Cemetery on the tablets of the missing.

Hall earned the Distinguished Flying Cross (DFC), Silver Star with Oak Leaf Cluster, Air Medal with Oak Leaf Cluster and Purple Heart, posthumously.

Castro earned the Distinguished Flying Cross (DFC), Air Medal with Oak Leaf Cluster and Purple Heart, posthumously. He also has a memorial marker at Rio Grande Valley State Veterans Cemetery in Mission, TX at section MS1 row D site 29.

Stern earned the Air Medal and Purple Heart, posthumously.

Alder earned the Distinguished Flying Cross (DFC), Air Medal and Purple Heart, posthumously.

Bales earned the Distinguished Flying Cross (DFC), Air Medal with Oak Leaf Cluster and Purple Heart, posthumously.

Stephens earned the Distinguished Flying Cross (DFC), Air Medal with Oak Leaf Cluster, Purple Heart with Oak Leaf Cluster.

Banasiak earned the Distinguished Flying Cross (DFC), Air Medal with Oak Leaf Cluster and Purple Heart, posthumously. He also has a memorial marker at Massachusetts Veterans Memorial Cemetery in Agawam, MA, section M1, row B, site 11.

Olmstead earned the Distinguished Flying Cross (DFC), Air Medal with Oak Leaf Cluster and Purple Heart, posthumously.

Grady earned the Silver Star, Distinguished Flying Cross (DFC), Air Medal with Oak Leaf Cluster and Purple Heart, posthumously.

Relatives
Hal W. Hall (relative of Hall)
"Families of the crew of B-17 9151 have uncovered a letter in which an witness to the action reported that this aircraft may have crashed on or very near Choiseul Island. All previous records and reports did not indicate a possibility of an island crash. I have unsuccessfully sought the Coastwatcher's report on this action. I have seen it mentioned, but have been unable to find any reference to where those reports might be housed. Do you have any information about where the reports might be archived?"

References
NARA World War II Army Enlistment Records - Earl O. Hall
NARA World War II Army Enlistment Records - Joaquin Castro
NARA World War II Army Enlistment Records - Frank N. Stern, Jr.

NARA World War II Army Enlistment Records - James Y. Bales
NARA World War II Army Enlistment Records - Francis S. Banasiak

NARA World War II Army Enlistment Records - Jesse N. Olmstead
USAF Serial Number Search Results - B-17E Flying Fortress 41-9151
"9151 shot down by Japanese fighters during mission to Shortland Harbor Feb 1, 1943."
Missing Air Crew Report 15093 (MACR 15093) was created retroactively and incorrectly list target as Munda
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - Earl O. Hall
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - Joaquin Castro
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - Frank N. Stern Jr.
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - Paul Adler
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - James Y. Bales
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - James C. Stephens, Jr.
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - Francis S. Banasiak
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - Jesse N. Olmstead
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - Martin T. Grady
FindAGrave - Maj Earl O Hall (photo)
FindAGrave - Francis S. Banasiak (memorial marker photo)
FindAGrave - 1Lt Joaquin Castro (tablets of the missing)
FindAGrave - Joaquin Castro (memorial marker)
FindAGrave - 2Lt Frank N Stern, Jr (tablets of the missing)
FindAGrave - TSgt Paul Fredrick Adler (tablets of the missing)
FindAGrave - SSgt James Y Bales (tablets of the missing)
FindAGrave - SSgt James C Stephens, Jr (tablets of the missing)
FindAGrave - SSgt Francis S Banasiak (tablets of the missing)
FindAGrave - Francis S. Banasiak (memorial marker)
FindAGrave - Sgt Jesse Nathaniel Olmstead (tablets of the missing photo)
FindAGrave - Sgt Martin T Grady (tablets of the missing)
Texas A&M Libraries - Earl Oxford Hall: A Brief Biography and Wartime History
Texas A&M Libraries - "Lost in the Pacific" Biography of TSgt. Paul Fredrick Adler MIA 1943
Texas A&M Libraries - "Living on and Under the Wing" A Biography of 1st Lt. Joaquin Castro

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Last Updated
May 28, 2019

 

Tech Info
B-17

MIAMIA
9 Missing
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