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1st Lt Thomas B. Fessenger, Jr.
Co-Pilot B-24D "Pretty Prairie Special" 41-24186
Prisoner Of War (POW) / Missing In Action (MIA)

Background
Thomas B. Fessenger, Jr. was born in Santa Clara County in California and grew up in San Francisco.

Wartime History
On December 20, 1941 enlisted in the U. S. Army Air Force (USAAF) as an aviation cadet with serial number 19040387. After graduating flight school and earning his wings, he was commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant with serial number O-663706. Assigned to the 13th Air Force (13th AF), 5th Bombardment Group (5th BG).

Mission History
On December 30, 1943 took off from Munda Airfield on New Georgia as co-pilot aboard B-24D "Pretty Prairie Special" 41-24186 armed with 1,000 pound bombs leading a bombing mission against Rabaul.

Fates of the Crew
Nine of the crew: Unruh, Fessenger, Koebig, Kuhn, Stewart, Wasilevski, Gillis, Constantin and Mull parachuted out of the B-24 over southeastern New Ireland. Several of the crew landed in the sea and were aided ashore by locals in outrigger canoes that paddled out to assist them.

Memorials
Fessenger was officially declared dead on July 15, 1944 and remains listed as Missing In Action (MIA). He earned the Air Medal. Fessenger is memorialized at Manila American Cemetery on the tablets of the missing.

References
NARA World War II Army Enlistment Records - Thomas B. Fessenger
13th Bomber Command: The Bomber Command at Work January 1943–July 1944 pages 10 (photo), 16 (biography)
(Page 16) "However, a radio broadcast from Tokyo by Lt. Fessinger, Colonel Unruh's co-pilot, was received by men in this group recently."
NARA World War II Prisoner of War Data File - Fessenger Thomas B. last report July 22, 1944
NARA World War II Prisoners of the Japanese Data Files - Fessenger Thomas B.
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - Thomas B. Fessenger
FindAGrave - 1LT Thomas Bruce Fessenger (photo, tablets of the missing photo)
FindAGrave - Virtual Cemetery created by PacificWrecks.com - B-24D "Pretty Prairie Special" 41-24186
The Siege of Rabaul (1996) by Henry Sakaida page 93-96 (Rabaul's Military Prisoners - Fessenger)

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