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USAAF April 12, 1943
|Pilot Major Kenneth D. McCullar, O-393172 (KIA, BR) Batesville, MS
Co-Pilot 2nd Lt Byron G. Andrews, O-665265 (KIA,. BR) Washington, DC
Navigator 2nd Lt Blaine McCord Jr., O-733445 (KIA, BR) OR
Bombardier 2nd Lt John W. Schultz Jr., O-662304 (KIA) MN
Engineer T/Sgt Elmer R. Hansen, 16028554 (KIA, BR) WI
Radio S/Sgt Philip A. Zumwalt, 16019084 (KIA, BR) Nebo, IL
Gunner Sgt Bert F. Bredemeier, 17038221 (KIA, BR) NB
Gunner Cpl George A. Mowad, 18089283 (KIA, BR) TX
Gunner Pvt David W. Stuckey, 14068148 (KIA, BR) NC
Gunner S/Sgt Michael J. Paz Jr., 7021462 63rd BS (KIA, BR) NJ
Observer S/Sgt Pierre R. O'Grady, 6146594 63th BS (KIA, BR) ME
Crashed April 12, 1943 at 1:48am
Built by Boeing at Seattle. Constructors Number 2681. Delivered to the U. S. Army Air Force (USAAF) as B-17E Flying Fortress serial number 41-9209. Ferried overseas via Hickam Field to Australia.
On September 22, 1942 assigned to the 5th Air Force, 19th Bombardment Group, 30th Bombardment Squadron. No known nose art or nickname.
On October 21, 1942 took off from Mareeba Airfield at 1:00pm and arrived at 7 Mile Drome at 6:30pm then departed for on a night bombing mission against Rabaul armed with eight 500 pound bombs and 1,700 gallons of fuel. En route to the target via Hood Point to New Britain, encountered low cumulus and thunderstorms flying at 5,000'. Over the target at October 23, 1942 at 3:00am, the weather was clear and this B-17 made two bombing runs from 5,000', claiming a close hit against a transport, damage unknown. On the second run, encountered heavy anti-aircraft fire from the coast of poor accuracy guided by searchlights. Departed at an altitude of 9,000' and returned to base on October 23, 1942 at 7:00am.
On November 13, 1942 assigned to the 43rd Bombardment Group, 64th Bombardment Squadron. Assigned to pilot Major Kenneth D. McCullar. Nicknamed "Blues In The Nite".
Steve Birdsall adds:
"I've never been happy about 41-9209's name because I've seen too many variations and never a photo. I believe my most reliable source is Lucky Stevens, and he said (and had written it in his diary) as "Blues in the Nite".
On January 6, 1943 took off from 7-Mile Drome near Port Moresby piloted by Lt. Compton with B-17E "The Jersey Skeeter" 41-2664 piloted by Lt. Olson on a search mission to locate the two B-17s Missing In Action (MIA) from the previous day's bombing mission. This B-17 searched in the vicinity of Goodenough Island and located the crew and wreckage of B-17F 41-24538.
On April 12, 1943 during take off at 1:48am from 7-Mile Drome near Port Moresby piloted by Major Kenneth D. McCullar on a bombing mission against Rabaul. During take off, the tire and rim came off one of the landing gear legs which might have punctured the hydraulic system. The aircraft cleared the runway but after traveling approximately 200 yards caught fire and crashed. Aboard, the three 500 pound bombs aboard exploded and all aboard were killed instantly. A dead wallaby was later found on the runway, but it is not known if this was the cause of the crash.
Steve Birdsall adds:
"McCullar's aircraft crashed at 0148 in the morning of April 12. Harry Staley had taken off at 0130 in B-17F "Lulu Belle" 41-24358 with extra bomb bay tanks "to act as weather and observation ship" for a 64th and 65th Squadron maximum effort against the Rabaul airstrips. McCullar was first to take off of the main force. According to Anthony Mireles there are eight photos in a report that he identifies as "AAF Form # 14 Aircraft Accident Reports Call # 46189, April 12, 1943, Accident # 502", but I've never seen it."
The entire crew was declared dead the day of the crash. Postwar, their remains were transported to Hawaii and the United States for permanent burial.
Four are buried at Honolulu Cemetery (Punchbowl). Andrews is buried at Plot F Row 0 Grave 557. Hansen is buried at Plot A Row 0 Grave 1043. Mowad is buried at Plot F Row 0 Grave 1308. Paz is buried at Plot A Row 0 Grave 302.
McCullar is buried at Magnolia Cemetery in Batesville, MS
McCord is buried at Golden Gate National Cemetery at section C, site 433.
Schultz is buried at Forest Lawn Memorial Park in Maplewood, MN
Bredemeier is buried at Grand Island Cemetery in Grand Island, NB
Stuckey Is buried in Arlington National Cemetery at Section 34 Site 4010
O'Grady is buried in Saint Charles Cemetery in Saint Francis, ME
Dr. Barry Swanson (nephew in law of Zumwalt)
"I am currently writing a novel based on my diaries of Philip Zumwalt, my wife's deceased uncle. The diaries are extensive and detailed. I am storing them in the Knox College archives room in Galesburg, Illinois where I am a professor of Education."
Note, this B-17s nickname appears as "Blues in the Night" and "Blue in the Night" in some sources. Also, this B-17 is incorrectly recorded as #209 in the 63rd Bombardment Squadron History.
USAF Serial Number Search Results - B-17E Flying Fortress 41-9209
"9209 (64th BS, *Blues In The Night*) crashed on takeoff at 7-Mile Airfield, Port Moresby, New Guinea Apr 12, 1943."
30th Bombardment Squadron, 19th Bombardment Group, Narrative Report of Combat Mission 26 October 1942
Diary of S/Sgt Gilbert L. Cameron, 41st FS:
"12 April 1943: One Flying Fortress taking off from our Drome this morn. at 2:00 AM developed a cracked wheel spindle—crashed with a full bomb load—bombs let go a destroyed ship & crew."
AAF Form #14 Aircraft Accident Reports Call # 46189, April 12, 1943, Accident # 502
Associated Press "Fortress Hits Kangaroo; Kills Maj. McCullar Noted Flyer Developed Skip-Bombing" April 19, 1943
FindAGrave - Maj Kenneth D. McCullar (grave photo, photo)
FindAGrave - 2Lt Byron Guinn Andrews
FindAGrave - Blaine McCord, Jr (grave photo)
FindAGrave - John W Schultz, Jr
FindAGrave - Sgt Elmer R Hansen (grave photo)
FindAGrave - Philip Arthur Zumwalt
FindAGrave - Sgt Bert F Bredemeier (grave photo)
FindAGrave - George A Mowad (grave photo)
FindAGrave - David W Stuckey (grave photo)
FindAGrave - Sgt Michael J Paz, Jr (grave photo)
FindAGrave - Pierre R O'Grady
PNG Museum Aircraft Status Card - B-17E Flying Fortress 41-9209
Fortress Against The Sun pages 342 (April 12, 1943 mission), 390
Ken's Men Against The Empire Volume 1 pages 106 (January 6, 1943 search), 168 (April 12, 1943 mission), 169 (photos), 315, 326, 343, 387 (index Blues In The Night)
Thanks to Steve Birdsall for additional information
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