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  B-24D-1-CO "Pelly-Can" Serial Number 41-23688  
5th AF
90th BG
319th BS

Click For Enlargement
90th BG c1943
Pilot  Captain Roy W. Olsen, O-437592 C.O. 319th BS (MIA / KIA) IA
Crew  1st Lt Thomas H. Durkin, O-662252 (MIA / KIA) IL
Crew  2nd Lt. Kenneth F. Strong (MIA / KIA) CA
Crew  2nd Lt. Russell R. Setterblade, O-733474 (MIA / KIA) IL
Crew   TSgt Robert F. Cole, 39083490 (MIA / KIA) CA
Crew   TSgt Robert K. Enders, 6911395 (MIA / KIA) IN
Crew  SSgt Frank A. Hudspeth, 34257651 (MIA / KIA) NC
Crew  SSgt Harold Muscato, 37112939 (MIA / KIA) IA
Crew  SSgt William C. Simon, 19074237
Crashed  June 23, 1943
MACR  none

Aircraft History
Built by Consolidated in San Diego. Delivered to the U. S. Army Air Force (USAAF) as B-24D-1-CO Liberator serial number 41-23688. Ferried via Hickam Field then across the Pacific to Australia.

Wartime History
Assigned to the 5th Air Force (5th AF), 90th Bombardment Group (90th BG), 319th Bombardment Squadron (319th BS) at Iron Range Airfield. Nicknamed "Pelly-Can" with the nose art of a pelican with a bomb in its beak. This B-24 claimed at least eight enemy fighters and flew at least 25 combat missions or more.

Mission History
On June 23, 1943 took off from Fenton Airfield piloted by Captain Roy W. Olsen on a bombing mission against Makassar (Makasser). Prior to the bomb run, this B-24 was rammed by a B5M Mable (Type 97 Carrier Attack Aircraft Mark 2) of the 932nd Kokutai based at Mandai Airfield. Piloted by Reserve Lt(jg) Yuji Kino with radio operator FPO 2/C Tsuruo Manabe. Crashing into this B-24's right wing, causing the wing to break off and both planes to spiral downward.

Osamu Tagaya adds:
"This was the first ramming victory in the Japanese 'Southwestern Area' and the action was reported in a Combined Fleet All Forces Bulletin, the crew being awarded a posthumous double promotion of rank."

The entire crew was officially declared dead the day of the mission. Memorialized on the tablets of the missing at Manila American Cemetery.

Note, other sources incorrectly state the ramming aircraft was a floatplane or Ki-27 Nate
NARA World War II Army Enlistment Records - Roy W. Olsen
NARA World War II Army Enlistment Records - Thomas H. Durkin
NARA  War II Army Enlistment Records - Kenneth F. Strong
No Missing AIr Crew Report (MACR) was created for this loss.
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - Roy W. Olsen
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - Thomas H. Durkin
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - Kenneth F. Strong
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - Russell R. Setterblade
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - Robert F. Cole
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - Robert K. Enders
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - Frank A. Hudspeth
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - Harold Muscato
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - William C. Simon
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The Jolly Rogers pages XI-XII, 44
"The account of [Roy] Olsen's last mission in The Jolly Rogers page 44 is reasonably correct but implies things that weren't quite as stated. He speaks of the armada [joint strike of 90th & 380th BG B-24's] approaching. In fact, the three 319th planes were some ten minutes ahead of the 380th contingent and we were separated by at least one mile. I, Sanxter, was second in line and behind Roy as we had planned. The Nate [sic, actually B5M1 "Mabel"] was seen by us, and I presume by Roy's crew, as it climbed out from the Makassar air strip. Noticing the fixed gear and only one plane we did not view it with any true alarm. The Jap climbed to our altitude ahead of us then moved to the left as he passed behind our lead plane, thus no attack was made on him. Suddenly the Nate turned sharply to his left coming in behind Olsen and far in front of us. His maneuver was obviously unfriendly but still we did not see any firing at him although he should have been an easy target for the tail gunner or right waist gun as he approached the B-24. In any case we were momentarily stunned to watch the Nate fly directly into the wing of Roy's plane just outboard of the number four engine. Predictably the wing came off as did one from the Nate with both going down together in tight spirals. We didn't actually see the splash because we were now too busy preparing for our bomb run ... The sight of Roy and crew going down was particularly grievous to me because I had been the co-pilot of his crew from Willow Run to Iron Range."
Thanks to Osamu Tagaya and Edward Rogers for additional information

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Last Updated
June 16, 2020


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