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  B-17F-95-BO Flying Fortress Serial Number 42-30326  
383th BG
541st BS

Pilot  2nd Lt. Roy J. Lee (KIA, BR) MS
Co-Pilot  2nd Lt. Robert W. Wilkins (KIA, BR)
Navigator  2nd Lt. Victor A. Lowenfeldt, O-674222 (KIA, BR) NJ
Bombardier  2nd Lt. Wilbur L. "Buck" Perez (WIA, survived)
Engineer  SSgt Delmar F. Priest (KIA, BR)
Asst Engineer  Sgt William F. Pruner (KIA, BR) CA
Radio  SSgt. Benjamin Puzio, 32471005 (KIA, BR) Clinton, NJ
Asst Radio  Sgt. Paul W. Mandeville (KIA, BR)
Gunner  SSgt. Harry Lilly (KIA, BR) WV
Gunner  SSgt Hoyt W. Wilson (KIA)

Crashed  August 2, 1943 at 11:30am

Aircraft History
Built by Boeing at Seattle. Constructors Number 5440. Delivered to the U. S. Army Air Force (USAAF) as B-17F-95-BO Flying Fortress serial number 42-30326.

Wartime History
Assigned to the 383rd Bombardment Group, 541st Bombardment Squadron. No known nose art or nickname.

Mission History
On August 2, 1943 at 9:00am took off from Pendleton Field piloted by 2nd Lt. Roy J. Lee on a training flight to Cape Disappointment then out to the sea before returning to Pendleton Field. Over the coast were heavy clouds that reached to about 8,000'. Descending from 10,000' to locate Cape Disappointment visually, flying at 50-100' but visibility was nil and began to climb into the overcast. Crashed on the crest of Cape Lookout (Cape Look Out), Oregon at roughly 900'.

Fates of the Crew
Several of the crew survived the crash but died of their wounds before being rescued. Only bombardier Perez survived and was rescued. He survived the war and died on March 20, 2009 in Escondido, California

The entire crew was officially declared dead the day of the mission with the exception of Perez who was wounded and survived.

After the recovery of the crew's remains they were buried in private burials in their hometowns in the United States.

Lee is buried at Providence Cemetery in Franklin, MS.

Wilkins was buried at Williamsfield Cemetery in Williamsfield, IL.

Lowenfeldt has an unknown burial in the United States, presumed to be in his hometown.

Priest was buried at Live Oak Cemetery in Paulding, OH.

Pruner is buried at Evergreen Cemetery in Oakland, CA.

Puzio has an unknown burial in the United States, presumed to be in his hometown.

Mandeville is buried Saint Agnes Cemetery in Menands, NY.

Lilly is buried at Spring Hill Cemetery in Charleston, WV.

Wison is buried at Walpole Village Cemetery in Walpole, NH.

A memorial plaque on the Cape Lookout trail indicates location of crash site and lists the names of the crew. The date of the crash is incorrectly listed as "August 1, 1943 [sic]. The plaque reads: "On August 1, 1943 a four motored Army Air Force plane crashed 500 ft. west of here. This marker erected by th Oregon State Highway Commission in commemoration of the members of this fight crew that perished in the line of duty."

Perez passed away in 2009. He is buried in Mission San Luis Rey Cemetery in Oceanside, CA.

During 1992, Perez visited Cape Lookout in conjunction with the documentary "Fallen Fortress at Cape Lookout".

USAF Serial Number Search Results - B-17F-105-BO Fortress 42-30326
PBS Salem "Fallen Fortress at Cape Lookout" by Tim King
Vimeo - Sole Survivor: B-17 Crash Documentary Part 1 from Fallen Fortress at Cape Lookout
Vimeo - Fallen Fortress at Cape Lookout Part 2
Salem News "WWII Documentary Unearthed: B-17 Plane Crash Sole Survivor's Story" Aug 21, 10
Salem News "Today is the Sixty Fifth Anniversary of Oregon's Cape Lookout B-17 Bomber Crash" Aug 2 08
Salem News "Sole Survivor of Cape Lookout B-17 Crash in WWII, Wilbur Perez Dies" 4-6-09
AAF Form # 14 Aircraft Accident Report; Call # 46234, 8-2-43 Accident # 14
"8-2-43. Cape Lookout, Oregon. At 1130 PWT, a Boeing B-17F collided with rising terrain at Cape Lookout, Oregon, killing nine fliers and seriously injuring bombardier 2Lt. Wilbur L. Perez. The crew was scheduled to fly a final navigation training mission prior to being deployed overseas as a combat crew. The B-17F took off at 0900 PWT from Pendleton Field, Oregon, and was to fly to Cape Disappointment and then 500 miles out to sea and then return directly to Pendleton Field. Heavy cloud covered the coastal region when the B-17 arrived in the area at 10,000 feet, the overcast topping out at about 8,000 feet. In an attempt to locate Cape Disappointment visually, the pilot descended through the overcast over the Pacific Ocean and then flew the airplane toward the shore. The Aircraft Accident Classification Committee stated, "The flight towards the shore was made at an altitude of 50 to 150 feet, practically blind. The bombardier stated that he could see the water directly under the airplane, but the vision ahead was nil. It is believed that the pilot hoped to angle in to the beach somewhere near the Columbia River and then follow the shore to Cape Disappointment. However, the pilot must have become doubtful about approaching land at such a low altitude and visibility. A climb into the overcast was started a moment or two before the crash. Just after the climb was started the airplane crashed on the crest of Cape Look Out." The elevation of the point of impact was approximately 900 feet msl. Investigators stated that some of the crew had survived the crash but died before they could be rescued. Crew members killed in the crash were: 2Lt. Roy J. Lee, pilot; 2Lt. Robert W. Wilkins, co-pilot; 2Lt. Victor A. Lowenfeldt, navigator; SSgt. Delmar F. Priest, engineer; Sgt. William F. Pruner, gunner; SSgt. Benjamin Puzio, radio operator; Sgt. Paul W. Mandeville, assistant radio operator; SSgt. Harry Lilly, gunner; SSgt. Hoyt W. Wilson, gunner. "
FindAGrave - Lieut Roy James Lee (grave photos)
FindAGrave - Robert Warren Wilkins (photo, grave photo, memorial marker)
FindAGrave - Lieut Victor A Lowenfeldt (death certificate)
FindAGrave - Sgt Delmar F Priest (grave photos)
FindAGrave - Sgt William M Pruner (grave photo)
FindAGrave - Sgt Benjamin J Puzio (death certificate)
FindAGrave - Sgt Paul W Mandeville
FindAGrave - Sgt Harry Lilly (photo, grave photo)
FindAGrave - Sgt Hoyt Weber Wilson (grave photo)
FindAGrave - Wilbur Lee Perez (grave photo)

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Last Updated
February 14, 2020


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