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90th BG c1942
|Pilot 1st Lt. Paul R. Larson, O-023854 (KIA, BR) IL
Co-Pilot 2nd Lt. Herbert R. Bassman O-0725576 (KIA, BR) MS
Bombardier 2nd Lt. David C. Muething, 726929 (KIA , BR) OH
Navigator William F. Sipple, 791004 (KIA , BR)
Engineer Ernest I. Irving, 6116757 (KIA , BR) MA
Assistant Engineer Lewis A. Diotti, 35376226 (KIA , BR) WV
Radio Sgt Alex J. Halgren, 12033336 (KIA , BR)
Assistant Radio William J. Dee, 16067297 (KIA , BR) IL
Tail Gunner Harry L. Patty, 33166690 (KIA , BR) Murrysville, PA
Gunner Lester L. Picker, 35258447 (KIA , BR) IN
Photographer Claude D. Red, 18063101 (KIA , BR) TX
Crashed November 16, 1942 at roughly 12:00am
Built by Consolidated in San Diego. Constructors Number 737. Delivered to the U.S. Army Air Force (USAAF) as B-24D-13-CO Liberator serial number 41-23942. Ferried overseas via Hickam Field then across the Pacific to Australia.
Assigned to the 5th Air Force (5th AF), 90th Bombardment Group (90th BG), 400th Bombardment Squadron (400th BS). Nicknamed "Bombs To Nip On" in capital letters with the nose art of the upper half of a nude woman wearing a shawl.
On November 16, 1942 shortly after midnight at Iron Range Airfield B-24D Liberators of the 90th Bombardment Group were taking off on their first bombing mission against Rabaul. This B-24 was the eleventh in line for take off from Gordon Runway.
Dust from prior B-24s taking off dimmed the runway lights that were spaced too far apart. During take off, this B-24 veered off the runway, crashed, caught fire and the bomb load to exploded. The explosion also destroyed B-17F 41-24522, killed eleven personnel and damaged three other bombers including B-24D 41-23765, B-24D 41-23812 and B-24D "Big Emma" 41-23751 (all three were later repaired).
Officially, this B-24 was written off on November 16, 1943. Likely, this was a clerical error and should have been the day of the crash on 1942.
Steve Birdsall adds:
"There's a bit of confusion about the date - the 90th [BG] was taking off shortly before midnight on November 16, according to my sources. The accident cost 'three B-24s and one B-17, one gas dump and 12 men' according to one eyewitness, but there are quite a few variations on this."
Th entire crew was officially declared dead November 17, 1942. The remains of the crew were recovered and buried at the U.S. Cemetery Townsville on November 19, 1942.
Postwar, the crew's remains were exhumed and transported to Hawaii and the United States for permanently burial. Four of the crew are buried at National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific (Punchbowl). Larson at plot C, row 0, grave 396. Bassman at plot B, grave 8493. Muething at plot A, grave 134 Diotti at plot N, grave 83.
Ernest was originally buried at National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific (Punchbowl). In 1949, his mother requested he be exhumed and buried in Fern Hill Cemetery in Hanson, MA.
Sipple is buried at Greensboro Cemetery in Greensboro, MD.
Dee was buried on March 2, 1948 at Mount Emblem Cemetery in Elmhurst, IL at section A , lot 356, grave 3.
Patty was buried on March 3, 1948 at Murrysville Cemetery in Murrysville, PA.
Picker is buried at the Immaculate Conception Catholic Church Cemetery in Millhousen, IN.
Red is buried at Fort Sam Houston National Cemetery in San Antonio, TX at section R, site 228-F.
Halgren was Long Island National Cemetery at section H, site 9295.
The burials of Halgren and Sipple are unknown, he is presumed to be buried in a private cemetery in the United States.
On April 25, 2007, a memorial plaque about this crash was dedicated at Iron Range Airfield (Lockhart River).
Note, this B-24 has previously been listed incorrectly as "Bombs For Nippon" or "Bombs to Nippon", and date of this incident listed as November 15, 1942
Individual Aircraft Record Card (IARC) - B-24D Liberator Serial Number 41-23942
USAF Serial Number Search Results - B-24D-13-CO Liberator 41-23942
FindAGrave - 1Lt Paul R Larson (photo, grave photo)
FindAGrave - 2Lt Herbert Robinson Bassman (photo, grave photo)
FindAGrave - 2Lt David C Muething (photo, grave photo)
FindAGrave - William H. Sipple Jr. (grave photo)
FindAGrave - Ernest Venterlip Irving (grave photo)
FindAGrave - Corp Lewis A Diotti (grave photo)
FindAGrave - SGT Axel John Halgren Jr. (grave photo)
FindAGrave - Sgt William Just Dee (grave photo)
FindAGrave - Corp Harry Lloyd Patty (obituary, grave photo)
FindAGrave - Cpl. Lester L. Picker (grave photo)
FindAGrave - Claude Douglas Red (grave photo)
Oz@War - 16 November 1942 crash of a B-24 Liberator at Iron Range 4 aircraft destroyed 11 men killed
This shouldn't happen to a dog: an examination of the crash of "Bombs to Nip On"
Thanks to Steve Birdsall and Michael Claringbould for additional information
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