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|Pilot 1st Lt. William C. Motsinger, O-752224 (KIA, BR) St. Petersburg, FL
Co-Pilot 2nd Lt. Robert W. Ball, O-784384 (KIA, BR) San Diego, CA
Crew 1st Lt. Rollin C. Marsh, O-802656 (KIA, BR) New Milford, CT
Engineer Captain Norman E. Zahrt, O-1700383 (KIA, BR) Iowa City, IA
Navigator TSgt Robert W. Conger, (KIA, BR) De Smet, SD
Gunner SSgt Gerard J. Doody, 32987236 (KIA, BR) Brooklyn, NY
Crew SSgt Charles J. Parkins, 39134499 (KIA, BR) Agua Caliente, CA
Crew Sgt Charles Edward Hurn, 34807555 (KIA, BR) Florence, AL
Crew Sgt Elliott Leroy Griffin, 37273225 (KIA, BR) Moorhead, MN
Crew Sgt Otis E Anderson, Jr. 18115869 (KIA, BR) Doucette, TX
Crashed July 25, 1945 at 4:25am
Built by Boeing at Seattle. Delivered to the U. S. Army Air Force (USAAF) as B-17G-100-BO Flying Fortress serial number 43-38882. Converted into a B-17H Dumbo Fort for use in the air-sea rescue role with a Higgins A-1 lifeboat attached to the lower fuselage.
Assigned to the 20th Air Force (20th AF), 4th Emergency Rescue Squadron (4th ERS). No known nickname or nose art. Radio Call Sign "Jukebox 21". This aircraft was one of eleven B-17G Flying Fortresses capable of dropping a survival boat to downed airmen. When lost, engines R-1820-97 serial numbers SW-030359, SW-030436, SW-030453 and SW-030331. Weapon serial numbers unknown.
On July 25, 1945 took off from Motoyama No. 1 Airfield on Iwo Jima piloted by 1st Lt. William C. Motsinger on a night search mission for F4U Corsair 81319 that crashed yesterday near Arai at roughly over Lat 34° 35' N, Long 137° 35' E on the southern coast of Honshu. Weather was described as good. This aircraft was lost, circumstances unknown. No distress signal was received. When this B-17 failed to return the crew was officially listed as Missing In Action (MIA).
From the Japanese side the fate of this aircraft is known from the research from "A Dumbo Fort was lost on July 25 1945" by Minoru Kamada July 3, 2016. This B-17 flew over Maisaka near the Benten Jima flying northward at an altitude of roughly 300m (984'). Crossing the coast, 75mm anti-aircraft guns emplaced on the south side of the highway at Benten Jima opened fire on the bomber.
Hit by anti-aircraft fire, one of the engines began smoking as it flew northward, then attempted to circle to the west over Lake Hamana, then southward. Trailing black smoke, one of the engines on the right wing broke off before the bomber crashed at Yakute to the northwest of Arai.
Recovery of Remains
On May 22, 1947 U. S. Army investigators visited Arai to investigate the possibilities of any atrocities in connection with the death of this crew, but found none. During their visit, they interrogated Katsumi Kumagai the former Kempei Tai commander for Arai who explained how the B-17 crashed and how the crew's bodies were recovered, cremated and buried. Afterwards, the remains of the crew were recovered and transported to the United States for permanent burial.
Zahrt is buried at Golden Gate National Cemetery at section O, site 917.
In Kosai (formally Arai) a stone tablet known as Kosai-shi, Arai-Saijo, Yasuragi-en is located at the back of the Jingu-ji temple honoring the crew of the B-17. The tablets was built by Reverend Taido Kamata (Kamada) who collected money for seven years to build the tablet.
July 25, 1945
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