|Pilot 1st Lt. Harold M. Adams, O-435835 (MIA / KIA, BR) TX
Co-Pilot 2nd Lt. Alexander S. Dewar, O-790223 (MIA / KIA, BR) NY
Crew TSgt John P Beecroft, 12039537 (MIA / KIA, BR)
Crew SSgt SSgt Paul E Zogg, 35376189 (MIA / KIA, BR) WV
Crew SSgt Sol Allen, 19079962 (MIA / KIA, BR)
Crew 2nd Lt. Truman C Metcalf, O-726925 (MIA / KIA, BR)
Crew 2nd Lt. Warren H. Sleeper, O-727930 (MIA / KIA, BR)
Crew SSgt William M. Gretka, 12044281 (MIA / KIA, BR)
Crew Leonard H. Sooter, 39019029 (MIA / KIA, BR)
Crashed December 18, 1942
Built by Consolidated at San Diego. Delivered to the U. S. Army Air Force (USAAF) as B-24D-7-CO Liberator serial number 41-23835. Ferried overseas via Hickam Field across the Pacific to Australia.
Assigned to the 5th Air Force, 90th Bombardment Group, 320th Bombardment Squadron. No known nose art or nickname.
On December 18, 1942 one of five B-24s that took off from Iron Range Airfield at 4:00pm piloted by 1st Lt. Harold M. Adams on a bombing mission against a Japanese convoy between New Guinea and New Britain. The formation was led by Captain Roy W. Taylor.
Over the Owen Stanley Mountains in New Guinea, the flight experienced an afternoon build up of clouds and caused the formation to break up and severe turbulance, icing, up and down drafts that caused gyroscope failures. This B-24 was last seen entering the overcast and failed to return. One of the other B-24s aborted the mission and landed at Milne Bay. Due to the bad weather, only two of the B-24 found the convoy and bombed the vessels claiming near misses in the darkness. The rest of the formation bombed Lae instead then landed at Milne Bay.
When this B-24 failed to return, the entire crew was officially declared Missing In Action (MIA). In fact, this B-24 crashed roughly 8 miles northwest of Bulldog.
Afterwards, the crash site was located by ANGAU (Australia New Guinea Administrative Unit) and the remains of the crew were recovered.
Recovery of Remains
After the crash site was located by ANGAU, the remains of the crew were recovered. Postwar, transported to the United States for permanent burial.
The entire crew was officially declared dead the day of the mission.
Two of the crew are buried at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific (Punchbowl) Dewar at plot B grave 542 and Zogg at plot F grave 800. Adams is buried at Oak Grove Cemetery in Walnut Springs, TX.
Six of the crew are buried in a group burial at Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery at section 82 site 153 including Beecroft,
Sleeper, Gretka and Sooter.
Adams was buried at Oak Grove Cemetery in Walnut Springs, TX.
USAF Serial Number Search Results - B-24D-7-CO Liberator 41-23835
Missing Air Crew Report 15388 (MACR 15388)
FindAGrave - 1LT Harold M Adams (grave photo)
FindAGrave - Lieut Alexander S Dewar (grave photo)
FindAGrave - John P Beecroft (grave photo)
FindAGrave - SSgt Paul E Zogg (grave photo)
FIndAGrave - Sgt Sol Allen (grave photo)
FindAGrave - Warren H Sleeper (grave photo)
- William M. Gretka (grave photo)
FindAGrave - Leonard H Sooter (grave photo)
FindAGrave - Truman C Metcalf (grave photo)
PNG Museum Aircraft Status Card - B-24D Liberator piloted by Adams
Legacy of the 90th Bombardment Group page 27-28
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February 14, 2020