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  B-24J-120-CO Liberator Serial Number 42-109981  
USAAF
5th AF
360th Service Group
CRTC School


Click For Enlargement
USAAF c1944
Pilot  2nd Lt Warren G. MacDonald, O-835231 (MIA / KIA, BR) Detroit, MI
Co-Pilot  2nd Lt Elbert E. Goodman, O-2059390 (MIA / KIA, BR) Chrisney, IN
Navigator  F/O James R. Wilson Jr., T-135026 (MIA / KIA) Santa Cruz, CA
Engineer  Cpl William B. Gregg, 18190714 (MIA / KIA, BR) Houston, TX
Bombardier  2nd Lt William M. Evezichm, O-1581693 (MIA / KIA, BR) Kenserer, WY
Radio  Cpl James C. Irvine, 37345858 (MIA / KIA, BR) Edgewater, CO
Gunner  Cpl Martin Wagner Jr., 38421236 (MIA / KIA, BR) Port Neches, TX
Gunner  Cpl Stephen J. Gibson, 38654059 (MIA / KIA, BR) New Orleans, LA
Gunner  Cpl William Wohlgemuth, 19179902 (MIA / KIA, BR) Hollydale, CA
Gunner  Cpl George J. Challenor, 11151850 (MIA / KIA, BR) Yonkers, NY
Gunner  Cpl Richard L. Hamric, 35915938 (MIA / KIA, BR) Akron, OH
Crashed  February 28, 1945
MACR  13315

Aircraft History
Built by Consolidated at San Diego. Constructors Number 3777. Delivered to the U. S. Army Air Force (USAAF) as B-24J-120-CO Liberator 42-109981. Ferried overseas via Hickam Field then across the Pacific to Australia.

Wartime History
Assigned to the 5th Air Force (5th AF), 360th Service Group (360th SrG), Far East Air Force-Combat Replacement Training Center (CRTC School) based at Nadzab Airfield. No known nose art or nickname. When lost, engines: R-1830-65 Serial Numbers BP-433062, BP-433157, 42-44211, BP-432769. Armed with ten .50 caliber machine guns manufacturer and serial numbers not listed in Missing Air Crew Report 13315 (MACR 13315).

Mission History
On February 28, 1945 at 8:00 took off from Nadzab Airfield on a training mission to bomb But Airfield west of Wewak. The weather was 6/10 cumulus clouds with tops at 7,000' to 14,000' over the mountains with 9/10 cloud cover and visibility of a quarter mile.

This B-24 was flying in the first squadron in the sixth position. At 9:00am last sighted near Gusap turning to the left into a cloud bank where the mountain peaks were impossible to fly over at the bomber's altitude of 5,500'. When this B-24 failed to rejoin the formation, it was officially listed as Missing In Action (MIA).

Search
At noon, a B-25 and B-24 #544 piloted by Lt Palmer flew a search mission for this bomber, but found nothing. The next day, six B-25s also searched the Markham Valley but found nothing.

Wreckage
This B-24 crashed near the Kassam in the Eastern Highlands of New Guinea. The crash site was located in the jungle roughly 2-3 km northern Goroka side of the Highlands Highway in the Kassam Pass area at roughly Lat 6.13 Long 146.01.

During April 1979, this crash site was visited by US Army CILHI and remains recovered. During early October 1980, another team from CILHI returned to the crash site and recovered recovered the remains of the crew.

Memorials
The entire crew was officially declared dead the day of the mission. All are memorialized at Manila American Cemetery on the tablets of the missing. After the remains of the crew were recovered and identified, a Rosette was added in front of each name indicating they were recovered.

MacDonald earned the Purple Heart, posthumously. He also has a memorial marker at Knollwood Memorial Park Cemetery in Canton, MI.

Goodman earned the Purple Heart, posthumously. He is buried in a private cemetery in Indiana.

Wilson earned the Air Medal with Oak Leaf Cluster and Purple Heart, posthumously. Wilson also has a memorial marker at Golden Gate National Cemetery at section MA site 291. He remains listed as Missing In Action (MIA).

Gregg earned the Purple Heart, posthumously. He has an unknown burial, likely in his hometown in Texas.

Irvine earned the earned the Air Medal and Purple Heart, posthumously. He was buried at Fort Logan National Cemetery at S, 0, 1126.

Wagner earned the Purple Heart, posthumously. He was buried at Oak Bluff Memorial Park at section A, new.

Gibson earned the Air Medal and Purple Heart, posthumously. He is buried at Chalmette National Cemetery in Chalmette, LA.

Wohlgemuth earned the Purple Heart, posthumously. He is buried at Golden Gate National Cemetery at section X site 3916.

Challenor earned the Purple Heart, posthumously. He is buried at Arlington National Cemetery at section 59, site 742.

Hamric earned the Air Medal and Purple Heart, posthumously. He has an unknown burial, likely in his hometown in Ohio.

References
NARA World War II Army Enlistment Records - James R. Wilson Jr.
NARA World War II Army Enlistment Records - William B. Gregg
NARA World War II Army Enlistment Records - William Wohlgemuth
NARA World War II Army Enlistment Records - George J. Challenor
NARA World War II Army Enlistment Records - Richard L. Hamric

USAF Serial Number Search Results - B-24J-120-CO Liberator 42-109981
"109981 (360th BG) lost Feb 28, 1945, SW Pacific. MACR 13315."
Missing Air Crew Report 13315 (MACR 13315) created March 8, 1945 notes intended destination as "Wewak"
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - Warren G. MacDonald "Remains recovered"
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - Elbert E. Goodman "Remains recovered"
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - James R. Wilson Jr.
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - William B. Gregg "Remains recovered"
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - James C. Irvine "Remains recovered"
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - Martin Wagner Jr. "Remains recovered"
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - Stephen J. Gibson "Remains recovered"
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - William Wohlgemuth "Remains recovered"
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - George J. Challenor "Remains recovered"
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - Richard L. Hamric "Remains recovered"
FindAGrave - 2LT Warren G MacDonald (tablets of the missing)
FindAGrave - 2LT Warren G MacDonald (memorial marker photo)
FindAGrave - 2LT Elbert E Goodman (photo, tablets of the missing)
FindAGrave - FLtOff James R Wilson, Jr (tablets of the missing photo)
FindAGrave - James Russell Wilson, Jr (photo, memorial marker photo)
FindAGrave - CPL William B Gregg (tablets of the missing)
FindAGrave - CPL James C Irvine (tablets of the missing photo)
FindAGrave - James C. Irvine (grave photo)
FindAGrave - CPL Martin Wagner, Jr (photo, tablets of the missing photo)
FindAGrave - Martin Wagner, Jr. (photo, grave photo)
FindAGrave - CPL Stephen J Gibson (tablets of the missing photo)
FindAGrave - CPL Stephen John Gibson (grave photo)
FindAGrave - William Wohlgenuth (tablets of the missing)
FindAGrave - CPL William Wohlgemuth (grave photo)
FindAGrave - CPL George J Challenor (tablets of the missing photo)
FindAGrave - CPL George J Challenor (grave photo)
FindAGrave - Richard L. Hamric (tablets of the missing photo)
PNG Museum Aircraft Status Card - B-24D Liberator 42-109981
Bruce Hoy Diary 20 April 1979
"20 April, Friday, to the hotel and continued hanging around there for the team which finally arrived in the mid-afternoon, and although I waited in my room to receive a phone call from someone from CIL-HI, no call came through. I then went looking for the CO and located Captain Webb and Colonel Smith in their room. At first they did not understand what I was saying, so most likely the Embassy had failed to brief them. I then explained the purpose for my visit, and that I was to accompany them on the B‑24 mission in the Kassam Pass area in view of the moratorium the government had instituted covering war surplus material. I encountered difficulties as well as indifference from the start, as I felt that CIL-HI did not appreciate the government's requirements. They also let it be known that my presence would put them over the weight limit in getting into and out of the crash-site. (This was a load of bunkum.) I eased the situation by not insisting on my presence although I was quite infuriated with their pompous attitude. I rang Geoffrey Mosuwadoga after my conversation with Webb and Smith, and Geoffrey wanted me to go back and tell them that they are required to pack their bags immediately and return to Port Moresby and from there to catch the first available plane back to Hawaii unless they accommodated me during the mission. I felt that was unwise and a little extreme and explained to Geoffrey my reasons. He then relented, and we ended our conversation. I then called the airline for a flight back to Port Moresby in the morning. What a waste of time and money."
Bruce Hoy Diary 4 October, 1980
"The CIL‑HI team having returned to Port Moresby was issued with a permit today covering the remains collected at the crash site of B‑24J 42‑109981."
Thanks to Bruce Hoy for additional information

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Last Updated
February 27, 2020

 

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