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  B-24J-90-CO Liberator Serial Number 42-100292  
5th AF
22nd BG
33rd BS

Pilot  2nd Lt. George E. Nellis, O-798018 (MIA / KIA) Spencer, WV
Co-Pilot  2st Lt. Merle B. Taylor, O-542922 (MIA / KIA) Chicago, IL
Navigator  2st Lt. Solmu T. Robertson, O-673900 (MIA / KIA) New York, NY
Bombardier  2nd Lt Hugh C. Dougherty, O-439128 (MIA / KIA) West Elisabeth, PA
Engineer  Sgt Joseph Di Vita, 69798589 (KIA) Bronx, NY
Asst Engineer  SSgt Paul B. Crawford, 16027363 (MIA / KIA) Altoona, PA
Radio  SSgt Donald R. Petrie, 12172317 (MIA / KIA) Herkimer County, NY
Passenger  SSgt Andrew J. Troyanowski, 16151147 (MIA / KIA) White Cloud, MI
Passenger  Sgt Robert H. Stovall, 10157607 (MIA / KIA) San Angelo, TX
Passenger  Sgt Harold L. McPheeters, 17030707 (MIA / KIA) Doniphan, NE
Passenger  1st Lt. Marshall R. Pierce, O-888508 (MIA / KIA) Osage, IA
Passenger  SSgt George B. Schaub, 14079663 (KIA, BR) New Orleans, LA
Passenger  Sgt Patsy R. Franciola, 32172488 (MIA / KIA) Highland, NY
Passenger  Sgt Hal C. Walton, 38116870 (KIA, BR) Pittsburg, TX

Crashed  February 28. 1944 at 9:20am
MACR  6386

Aircraft History
Built by Consolidated. Constructors Number 3441. Delivered to the U.S. Army as B-24J-90-CO Liberator serial number 42-100292. Ferried overseas via Hickam Field across the Pacific to Australia. Ferried overseas by 2nd Lt. Donald W. White.

Wartime History
During February 1944, assigned to the 5th Air Force, 22nd Bombardment Group, 33rd Bombardment Squadron. No known nose art, nickname or tail letter. This B-24 was in Australia for training for crews converting to the B-24 Liberator. When lost, engines R-1830-65 serial numbers BP 42-9360, 42-9242, 42-89638 and 42-9666. Aboard were .50 caliber machine guns, serial numbers unknown.

Mission History
On February 28. 1944 took off from Charters Towers Airfield around 8:00am piloted by 2nd Lt. George E. Nellis on a flight bound for their new base at Nadzab Airfield. This B-24 was one of eighteen from the 19th Bombardment Squadron and 33rd Bombardment Squadron.

This B-24 joined a formation of eight other B-24s from the 33rd Bombardment Squadron and proceeded on a course of 355 degrees to the north. This bomber was flying in the second element, right wing position.

At approximately 9:15am, the formation was flying at 6,500' south of Innisfail and spread out to use their A.F.C.E. for the remainder of the flight. Weather was broken lower overcast at about 4,500'.

At roughly 9:28am, this B-24 dropped out of formation for unknown reasons and crashed into the Coral Sea roughly 9.3 miles east of Innisfail at approximately Latitude 17.30 Longitude 146.10. Before the crash, there was no radio contact with this bomber. The cause of the crash was never determined, but it was deemed not to be weather related and likely due to engine failure or other circumstances, as the bombers were not heavily loaded. When this bomber failed to arrive it was officially declared Missing In Action (MIA).

Recovery of Remains
A Dutch freighter off Innisfail heard this bomber pass overhead at approximately 9:20am and shortly afterwards observed a flash and red glow indicating it had crashed into the sea. Afterwards, the vessel proceeded to the crash site and recovered three bodies. Two of these were identified as Schaub and Walton and postwar were transported to the United States for permanent burial. The details on the third body are unknown.

Eleven of the crew remain Missing In Action (MIA) and were officially declared dead the day of the mission. Memorialized on the tablets of the missing at Manila American Cemetery.

After the recovery of remains, Schaub was buried at National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific (Punchbowl) at plot b row 0 grave 663.

Four of the crew have memorial markers in their hometown cemeteries:
Nellis has a memorial marker at IOOF Cemetery in Saint Marys, WV.
Crawford has a memorial marker at Rose Hill Cemetery Altoona Blair County Pennsylvania, USA Plot: Lot R 174
Franciola has a memorial marker at Union Cemetery of Lloyd in Lloyd, NY.
Walton is buried at Gilmer City Cemetery in Gilmer, TX.

James Bonito (nephew of Di Vita)

NARA World War II Army Enlistment Records - George E. Nellis
NARA World War II Army Enlistment Records - Merle B. Taylor
NARA World War II Army Enlistment Records - Paul B. Crawford
NARA World War II Army Enlistment Records - Donald R. Petrie
NARA World War II Army Enlistment Records - Andrew J. Troyanowski
NARA World War II Army Enlistment Records - Robert H. Stovall
NARA World War II Army Enlistment Records - Harold L. Mc Pheeters
NARA World War II Army Enlistment Records - Marshall R. Pierce
NARA World War II Army Enlistment Records - George B. Schaub
NARA World War II Army Enlistment Records - Patsy R. Franciola
NARA World War II Army Enlistment Records - Hal C. Walton
USAF Serial Number Search Results - B-24J-90-CO Liberator 42-100292
"100292 (22nd BG) lost Feb 28, 1944, SW Pacific. MACR 6386"
February 1944 USAAF Overseas Accident Reports - B-24J 42-100292
Individual Aircraft Record Card (IARC) - B-24J 42-100292
Missing Air Crew Report 6386 (MACR 6386)
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - George E. Nellis
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - Merle B. Taylor
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - Solmu T. Robertson
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - Hugh C. Dougherty
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - Joseph F. Di Vita
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - Paul B. Crawford
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - Donald R. Petrie
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - Andrew J. Troyanowski
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - Robert H. Stovall
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - Harold L. McPheeters
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - Marshall R. Pierce
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - Patsy R. Franciola
FindAGrave - 2Lt George E Nellis (tablets of the missing)
FindAGrave - Lieut George E Nellis (memorial marker photo)
FindAGrave - 2Lt Merle B Taylor (tablets of the missing photo)
FindAGrave - 2Lt Solmu T Robertson (tablets of the missing photo)
FindAGrave - 2Lt Hugh C Dougherty (tablets of the missing photo)
FindAGrave - TSgt Joseph F Di Vita (tablets of the missing photo)
FindAGrave - SSgt Paul Bruce Crawford (photo, obituary, tablets of the missing)
FindAGrave - Sgt Paul Bruce Crawford (photo, memorial marker photo)
FindAGrave - SSgt Donald R Petrie (tablets of the missing photo)
FindAGrave - SSgt Andrew J Troyanowski (tablets of the missing)
FindAGrave - Sgt Robert H Stovall (tablets of the missing)
FindAGrave - Sgt Harold L McPheeters (obituary, tablets of the missing)
FindAGrave - 1Lt Marshall Raymond Pierce (obituary, tablets of the missing)
FindAGrave - Sgt George B Schaub (grave photo)
FindAGrave - Sgt Patsy R. Franciola (memorial marker photo)
FindAGrave - Hal C Walton (grave photo)
Revenge of the Red Raiders The Illustrated History of the 22nd Bombardment Group During World War II pages 213, 479, 502
Thanks to Pete Johnston and Geoff Roecker for additional information.

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Last Updated
February 18, 2020


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