|Pilot 1st Lt. Russel Allen "Phil" Philips (POW, survived) Princeton, IN
Co-Pilot 1st Lt Charlton H. Cupernell, O-662752 (MIA / KIA) CA
Bombardier 1st Lt. Louis S. Zamperini, O-663341 (POW, survived) Olean, NY
Navigator 1st Lt. Robert H. Mitchell, O-728413 (MIA / KIA) IL
Crew Sgt Otto Anderson, 36246343 (MIA / KIA) WI
Crew Pvt Leslie A. Deane, 17056966 (MIA / KIA) KS
Crew SSgt Frank Glassman, 36328580 (MIA / KIA) IL
Crew SSgt Jay S. Hansen, 18045149 (MIA / KIA) ID
Crew Cpl Michael Walsh, 13056672 (MIA / KIA) PA
Tail Gunner SSgt Francis P. McNamara, 15100716 (died June 30, 1943) Pollagh, Ireland
Crashed May 27, 1943
Built by Consolidated. Assigned to the 11th Bombardment Group, 42nd Bombardment Squadron. Nicknamed "Green Hornet" with the nose art of a hornet holding an aerial bomb.
Devil At My Heels by Louis S. Zamperini page 82:
"The only available ship was a 'musher' called 'Green Hornet'. A musher flies with her tail down and can't get off the ground with a bomb load. Our engineers had checked it from nose to stern more than once and promised it was exactly like all our other B-24s: it should fly right; it just don't. No matter, we stripped many of its parts to use on other planes, so we mostly flew the Green Hornet on the cabbage run, meaning we'd take it to the main island of Hawaii to pick up lettuce, fresh vegetables, steaks and stuff like that. Very occasionally it went on search missions."
On May 27, 1943 took off from Kualoa Field on Oahu with another B-24 at 6:30pm on a search mission bound for Palmyra Airfield to refuel after the search. Over the search area, there was cloud cover down to 1,000' and the bomber dove to 800' to effectively search. During the mission, the no. 1 engine experienced problems and died. The engineer accidentally feathered the No. 2 engine, and the bomber quickly angled to the left and crashed into the Pacific Ocean north of Palmyra. When this B-24 failed to arrive it was reported as Missing In Action (MIA).
Fates of the Crew
Only three survived the crash: Philips, Zamperini and
McNamara. During the crash, Philips sustained a head injury and Zamperini managed to deploy the life raft.
On June 23, 1943 a single G3M2 Nell bomber from the 755 Kokutai took off from Taroa Airfield on a patrol mission. During their flight, the bomber crew observed a rubber boat with three on board and made strafing runs and claimed to kill them all and afterwards returned to base. In fact, the three survived unhurt but their raft was punctured but repaired.
Floating at sea, they survived a storm, and managed to catch two albatross birds, fish and drank only rain water.
After 47 days at sea, Zamperini and Phillips were found by a Japanese fishing vessel. When captured, Zamperini weighted
79.5 pounds, down from his normal weight of 160. Both were transported to Maleolap arriving on July 14, 1943 and were detained by the Japanese Navy and became Prisoner Of War (POW).
On July 16, 1943 both were transported to Kwajalein and were detained for 43 days in a solitary confinement without any medical treatment in a cell that was approximately 2' 3" wide by 6' long and 7' tall and was fed a small rice ball three times a day and occasionally soup. During captivity, both prisoners contracted dengue fever, dysentery, diarrhea and malnutrition but did not receive any medical treatment. About four or five times, both prisoners were injected with the juice from a coconut intravenously while a group of Japanese watched. Both experienced pins and needles and broke out into hives. The prisoners were tormented by their guards and Zamperini was often threatened by a guard armed with a pistol and told to dance. While detained, Zamperini continued to weigh only 80 pounds.
On August 27, 1943 Zamperini and Phillips were transported Japan and interned at Ofuna POW Camp. During 1945, transported to Naoetsu POW Camp until the end of the Pacific War.
The seven crew that died in the crash were officially declared dead the day of the mission. Each is memorialized on the courts of the missing at National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific (Punchbowl). Cupernell, Mitchell, Anderson, Deane, Glassman, Hansen at court 7. Walsh at court 5. McNamara was officially declared dead on June 30, 1943 and is memorialized at the courts of the missing, court 7 at National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific (Punchbowl). Deane also has a memorial marker at White Chapel Memorial Gardens in Wichita, KS at section 9.
In the 1960s, Torance Airport was renamed "Zamperini Field" in his honor. On July 2, 2014 Zamperini passed away and was cremated. He does not have any grave or memorial marker.
Missing Air Crew Report 16163 (MACR 16163) incorrectly lists the aircraft type as a "B-17" and does not list the serial number of the aircraft
Kodochosho, 755 Kōkūtai, June 23, 1943
Affidavit Louis Silvie Zamperini, November 1945
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - Charlton H. Cupernell
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - Robert H. Mitchell
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - Otto Anderson
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - Leslie A. Deane
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - Frank Glassman
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - Jay S. Hansen
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - Michael J. Walsh
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - Francis P. McNamara
FindAGrave - 1Lt Charlton Hugh Cupernell (photo, courts of the missing photo)
FindAGrave - 1Lt Robert Hanson Mitchell (photo, courts of the missing photo)
Sgt Otto Anderson (photo, courts of the missing photo)
FindAGrave - Pvt Leslie A Deane (courts of the missing photo)
Leslie A Deane (memorial marker photo)
FindAGrave - SSgt Frank Glassman (memorial marker photo)
FIndAGrave - SSgt Jay Solomon Hansen (memorial marker photo)
Corp Michael J Walsh (memorial marker photo)
SSgt Francis P McNamara (photo, memorial marker photo)
FindAGrave - Louis Silvie Zamperini (photo)
NARA Prisoners of War Data File - Louis Zamperini
Devil At My Heels by Louis Zamperini
Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand tells the life story of Louis Zamperini
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February 18, 2020