|Missing In Action (MIA)||Prisoners Of War (POW)||Unexploded Ordnance (UXO)|
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|Pilot Captain Howard W. Merkel O-403734 (MIA / KIA) Marion, IA
Co-Pilot 2nd Lt. Howard E. Marion, O-734115 (MIA / KIA) Detroit, MI
Navigator 2nd Lt. George C. Kohl, O-732937 (MIA / KIA) Salt Lake City, UT
Bombardier 2nd Lt Laurel J. Owen, O-796586 (MIA / KIA) Plymouth, MI
Asst Engineer TSgt Raymond B. Hyman, 35259355 (MIA / KIA) Logansport, LA
Radio TSgt Joseph M. Cohan, 14066618 (MIA / KIA) La Grange, GA
Asst Engineer SSgt Jack R. Burton, 6960177 (MIA / KIA) Fort Worth, TX
Asst Radio SSgt Sydney J. Helyer, 32427886 (MIA / KIA) Hempstead, NY
Gunner SSgt Robert R. Gutwald, 13084646 (MIA / KIA) Altoona, PA
Gunner Sgt Rufus H. Cantrell, 18089947 (MIA / KIA) El Paso, TX
Photographer Sgt Wallace E. Leigh, 16093494 (MIA / KIA) Milwaukee, WI
Crashed July 10, 1943 at 1600
Assigned to the 380th Bombardment Group, 529th Bombardment Squadron. Nicknamed "Esmeralda II". Nose number M507. Crew chief MSgt Gilbert N. Murdock.
Afterwards, assigned to the 531st Bombardment Squadron. When lost, engines R-1830-43 serial numbers 42-61695, 42-45443, 42-61592 and 42-61736. Weapon serial numbers not noted in Missing Air Crew Report 4424.
Afterwards, this B-24 was intercepted by one or two Zeros attacked it vigorously and hit the bomb bay fuel tank causing smoke, fire and a small explosion was observed from the rest of the formation. Four of the crew were observed to bail out. The B-24 headed towards the sea and appeared to be under control then exploded at roughly 8,000 or 9,000' and disintegrated in the air.
When this bomber failed to return the crew was officially listed as Missing In Action (MIA). Officially, this B-24 was stricken from charge on July 23, 1943. This B-24 flew a total of seven combat missions.
Recovery of Remains
Merkel also has a memorial marker at Cedar Memorial Park in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, plot Evergreen.
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