Pacific Wrecks
Pacific Wrecks    
  Missing In Action (MIA) Prisoners Of War (POW) Unexploded Ordnance (UXO)  
Chronology Locations Aircraft Ships Submit Info How You Can Help Donate
 
  B-24D-110-CO Liberator Serial Number 42-40886  
USAAF
5th AF
43rd BG
64th BS

Click For Enlargement
Click For Enlargement
90th BG c1943
Pilot  1st Lt. Richard T. Heuss, O-736519 (MIA / KIA, BR) Berkley, MI
Co-Pilot  2nd Lt. Robert A. Miller, O-740102 (MIA / KIA, BR) Memphis, TN
Navigator  2nd Lt. Robert R. Streckenbach, O-797421 (MIA / KIA, BR) Green Bay, WI
Bombardier  2nd Lt. Edward "Ed" R. French, O-734883 (MIA / KIA, BR) Erie, PA
Engineer  TSgt Charles A. Bode, 13072686 (MIA / KIA, BR) Baltimore, MD
Asst Engineer  SSgt Ivan O. Kirkpatrick, 39234213 (MIA / KIA, BR) Whittier, CA
Radio  SSgt Roy Surabian, 11052826 (MIA / KIA, BR) Medford, MA
Asst Radio  SSgt William K. Musgrave, 36368255 (MIA / KIA, BR) Robinson, IL
Gunner  SSgt James T. Moran, 32432306 (MIA / KIA, BR) Sloatsburg, NY
Gunner  SSgt James B. "Dinty" Moore, 11088506 (MIA / KIA, BR) Woburn, MA
Radar/Gunner  SSgt Lucian I. Oliver, Jr., 14070201 (MIA / KIA, BR) Memphis, TN
Crashed  November 20, 1943
MACR  1771

Aircraft History
Built by Consolidated at San Diego. Constructor Number 1963. Delivered to the U.S. Army Air Force (USAAF) as B-24D-110-CO Liberator serial number 42-40886. During June 1943, ferried overseas by pilot Nicholas Arabinko from Lincoln, Nebraska via Hickam Field for modification at the Hawaiian Air Depot including the installation of a nose turret then across the Pacific to the South West Pacific Area (SWPA). During July 1943 arrives at 7-Mile Drome near Port Moresby.

Pilot Nicholas Arabinko, 43rd Bombardment Group recalled:
"Our crew received a new B-24D 42-40886 at Lincoln, Nebraska in June 1943 and flew it to Port Moresby arriving July 1943. We stopped at Hickam Field and replaced the glass nose with a twin 50 cal nose turret. Our co-pilot, Asa Lewelling suggested naming her, "The Great Speckled Bird" but it did not come to pass as time ran out on November 20, 1943. To this day, I thought that she was the greatest B-24 in the world, me-thinks I am biased; I was the pilot of that crew."

Wartime History
Assigned to the 5th Air Force (5th AF), 43rd Bombardment Group (43rd BG) "Ken's Men", 64th Bombardment Squadron (64th BS). No known nickname or nose art. When lost, engines R-1840-43 serial numbers: 42-61639, 42-61597, 42-61603 and 42-62679. Armed with .50 caliber machine guns makers unknown serial numbers 493108, 490019, 596119, 595510, 490628, 468396, 141757, 490660, 490018, 216430, 371295 plus .30 caliber machine guns makers unknown serial numbers 120838 and 110886.

On a sadly ironic note, SSgt Lucian I. Oliver survived a previous force landing on October 18, 1943 as gunner aboard B-24D Liberator 42-40885, only to die aboard this bomber the next sequential serial number.

Mission History
On November 20, 1943 took off from 7-Mile Drome (APO #929) near Port Moresby piloted by 1st Lt. Richard T. Heuss on a night radar search mission for enemy shipping over the Bismarck Sea and Wewak. Last contact was via radio at 9:45.pm reporting the weather as 2/10 stratus clouds at 9,000' at roughly Lat 9° 18' S Long 146° 54' E [sic, this location is in the sea near Port Moresby]. When this bomber failed to return, officially listed as Missing In Action (MIA).

Search
On November 23, 1943 a search mission was flown by B-24D Liberator 42-40913 pilot Captain Ben F. Collier, O-662541 took off from 7-Mile Drome flying over Yule Island, Kerema, Bulldog Airfield, Wau then up the Ramu Valley as far as Dumpu. Then returned via Ogelbeng north of Mount Hagen, sighting only a series of fires. Returning, sighted wreckage of B-24 near Wau on Edie Creek. But, this was deemed to be an older crash site. [ Map of search route ].

Wreckage
Crashed near Mount Eiyawaiy and Engati in Morobe Province. Discovered in 1982 by villagers, as bones were reportedly laid out by villagers and a report with two data plates made to the US Embassy on August 2, 1982, that was forwarded to PNG National Museum modern history curator Bruce Hoy.

During July 1984, Richard Leahy over flew the site and visited the crash with Alan Cameron and Dave Griffiths. Leahy identified the site as a B-24 and reported the site to US Army CILHI when they returned.

Richard Leahy adds:
"I located this aircraft in 1983 or 1984 using my usual sources, the village people, in this instance, Engati. In July 1884 Alan Cameron flew me to the site along with another pilot friend of mine, Dave Griffiths. I had already "found" the site from my Cessna 185. We did an ID on the aircraft and had a good look around as well as taking some photographs. I advised CILHI of my findings soon after.

The site is more or less up against a rock face which is the base of a very steep gully. The terrain is most unstable. Flooding over the years has carried a lot of wreckage downhill from the point of impact and human remains would have accompanied this debris downhill. The aircraft is seriously smashed. I was told that some human remains had previously been collected by the Engati people and kept in their village. CILHI parties were advised of this."

Recovery of Remains
Between 1984–2004, at least four visits were made to the crash site over a twenty year period by U.S. Army CILHI / JPAC.

1) The first visit by US Army CILHI between August 27-28, 1984 with a team that included SFC Richard Huston, SSG Jeffrey Willingham, SSG Bruce Logan, PFC Raymond Harrison, and Bruce Hoy (Modern History curator of PNG National Museum) arrived at the crash site and established their camp. The crash site was coded "04CIL84". became immediately apparent that the crash site was in an extremely hazardous and dangerous location as a landslide had covered most of the aircraft wreckage and the ground above the crash-site appeared very unstable. Despite these conditions, the team commenced surveying the crash-site the following day, the 28th with the operation dependent on the positive identification of the aircraft.

During the day, Hoy made a preliminary identification of the aircraft as B-24D 42-40886 based on the last two digits of the serial number '86' on two separate pieces of ripped metal that he had found, the white diagonal stripe of the 64th Bomb Squadron, 43rd Bombardment Group present on the tail wreckage which had to be dug out of the ground as well as the faded constructor's number from an engine access panel. Recovery operations continued on the 29th at a location indicated by Hoy as a likely place and at 10.30am, the first remains of the crew were found and carefully removed. More of the tail serial number was found confirming the identification as being 42-40?86 with one numeral outstanding. The team continued to work at the site, with additional remains being located on the 30th when two members of the team were lifted out to augment the recovery operations being conducted simultaneously at the crash site of B-24D 41-23766. The remaining members of the recovery team were lifted out on the 31st and flown to B-24D 41-23766.

The second visit by US Army CILHI occurred on June 5, 1986, when two members of CIL-HI returned to ascertain whether the site had improved or was still too dangerous. They determined that the area containing the wreckage at the bottom of a large landslide, despite the landslide having occurred several decades previously, was too unstable to justify the risk of placing personnel in extreme danger. Thus the remaining crew members of this aircraft who had not been recovered in 1984 were deemed non-recoverable.

3) The third visit by US Army CILHI occurred on June 15, 1987 which only involved a re-confirmation of the determination made in 1986, but recommended the site remain open for future investigation with its priority reduced due to the safety hazards and the resources required to clear the site. Due to the potential landslide conditions, a proper assessment would be required to minimize the safety hazards.

4) A fourth visit by JPAC during late 2004. According to their report, no human remains or personal effects were found during the 2004 investigation, because the area surrounding the remains of the aircraft was too dangerous.

A JPAC document dated December 27, 2004 states:
"Total area excavation in this region would be extremely dangerous since it would destabilize the existing landslide deposits and potentially weaken underlying bedrock," the report states. The aircraft is in, "a gully complex containing a major landslide measuring over 150-200 meters long" and up to 40 meters wide. It further described the scene by stating, "wreckage is distributed throughout the landslip with loose fragments of aircraft skin and aluminum visible on the deposit surface and also firmly wedged/crushed" in the ground.

Brian Bennett adds:
"I have been to this site a number of times and it is a very difficult location. The aircraft impacted in the top end of a very steep ravine and i mean steep down the sides and steep from top to bottom. little aircraft wreckage can be seen as the aircraft has or appears to have been buried in a landslide. There could be 100's to several 1000's of cubic yards of rock on this one. I am not certain what the status is but i am positive that there are engineering problems for recovery as well as quite serious safety issues."

On March 2, 2009, a Department of Defense (DoD) news release stated the remains of the eleven crew members were identified. Afterwards, seven of the crew members were returned to relatives for burial in private cemeteries in their hometowns during late 2009.

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.

On March 24, 2011 the entire crew was buried in a group burial at Arlington National Cemetery at section 60 grave 9644.

Four of the crew (including Moran) were not "defined well enough" their remains were buried in a group burial at Arlington National Cemetery in 2010. Two of the crew had individual burials at Arlington National Cemetery. Miller at section 60 site 9645. Musgrave at section 60 site 9342.

Heuss earned the Air Medal, Purple Heart, posthumously.

Miller earned the Air Medal, Purple Heart, posthumously.

Streckenbach earned the Air Medal, Purple Heart, posthumously.

French earned the Air Medal, Purple Heart, posthumously. On September 26, 2009 buried in Erie, PA.

Bode earned the Air Medal, Purple Heart, posthumously.

Kirkpatrick earned the Air Medal, Purple Heart, posthumously.

Surabian earned the Air Medal, Purple Heart, posthumously.

Musgrave earned the Air Medal, Purple Heart, posthumously.

Moran earned the Air Medal, Purple Heart, posthumously. He is also memorialized on the New York World War II / Korea memorial lists in Sloatsburg, NY.

Moore earned the Air Medal, Purple Heart, posthumously. During July 2009, his remains were returned to his family and buried at Cavalry Cemetery in Winchester, MA.

Oliver earned the Air Medal, Purple Heart, posthumously.

Relatives
Stephen Ward (nephew of James T. Moran):
"My uncle was Staff Sgt. James T. Moran My Uncle and 3 others, will be buried together at Arlington Cemetery this upcoming spring [2010] with full military Honors. Until I petitioned JPAC in 2004 for information about the plane; no public record was available and none of the relatives had been informed that the plane had been found. We were officially notified by JPAC on August 18th of 2004, contacting James's remaining sisters that the plane was found / visited in 1984, US CILHI 04CIL84."

Lynne Valante (niece of James B. Moore):
"I was notified in 2004 that the plane was found but later learned it was visited in 1984. We knew remains had been found there and repatriated to Hawaii. After submitting DNA in 2004, we learned this past Memorial Day weekend [2008] that his remains were positively identified. Although I have no other photos of him to share or any of his plane, I am happy to tell you that this past August [2009] we were blessed to have his remains returned to Massachusetts and buried with family. It was an emotional time for our us and we're grateful for the welcome home he received and the honor shown to him. My hope is for the other families of this crew to feel the peace we now have. We plan to attend a service in Arlington national Cemetery for the crew in spring 2010."

Chuck Clorley (nephew of Edward French):
"I was just informed that the remains of all 11 airmen have been recovered and that we will be having a memorial service for him in Erie PA on Saturday Sept. 26, 2009."

Keith W. Bode (nephew of Charles A. Bode)

References
NARA World War II Army Enlistment Records - Richard T. Heuss
NARA World War II Army Enlistment Records - Robert A. Miller
NARA World War II Army Enlistment Records - Robert R. Streckenbach
NARA World War II Army Enlistment Records - Edward R. French
NARA World War II Army Enlistment Records - Charles A. Bode
NARA World War II Army Enlistment Records - Ivan O. Kirkpatrick
NARA World War II Army Enlistment Records - Roy Surabian
NARA World War II Army Enlistment Records - William K. Musgrave
NARA World War II Army Enlistment Records - James T. Moran
NARA World War II Army Enlistment Records - James B. Moore
NARA World War II Army Enlistment Records - Lucian I. Oliver, Jr.
USAF Serial Number Search Results - B-24D-110-CO Liberator 42-40886

"40886 (43rd BG, 64th BS) crashed near Engati, New Guinea Nov 20, 1943. MACR 1773. 11 KIA"
Missing Air Crew Report 1771 (MACR 1771) created November 23, 1943 lists the loss as Lat 9° 18' S, Long 146° 54' E, but this position is in the sea near Port Moresby. Musgrave is misspelled "Mulgrave" [sic] in some reports
Deryck J. Thompson Letter to Embassy of America, 2 August 1982
Hoy, Bruce. Letter to Deryck J. Thompson (District Coordinator), 13 August 1982
PNG Museum Aircraft Status Card - B-24D Liberator 42-40886
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) incorrectly lists the crew's date of death as November 21, 1944. It is unclear if they were officially declared dead a year later, or this listing is in error. After the recovery of remains, each crew member was listed as "recovered and identified" March 2, 2009.
Record-Journal "Family not told for 17 year" by George Moore July 17, 2009
43rd BG Kensmen - Lost Crew Members references to crew of this B-24
DoD New Release "Airmen Missing In Action From WWII Identified" Feb 10, 2011
Stars and Stripes "Great lengths, cost as U.S. identifies remains of 11 missing in WWII bomber" by Kevin Baron February 10, 2011 incorrectly states pilot [sic engineer] was TSgt Charles A. Bode.
CNN "U.S. officials identify remains of 11 missing WW II airmen" February 10, 2011
LoHud "Remains of WWII airman recovered" by James O'Rourke Feb 10, 2011
Ken's Men Against The Empire Volume 2 (2019) includes this loss
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - Richard T. Heuss "recovered and identified in 2009"
Arlington National Cemetery (ANC Explorer) - Richard T. Heuss (group burial photos) death 11/21/1944 [sic]
FindAGrave - 1Lt Richard T Heuss (tablets of the missing photo)
FindAGrave - 1LT Richard T Heuss (group burial photo)
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - Robert A. Miller "recovered and identified in 2009"
Arlington National Cemetery (ANC Explorer) - Robert A. Miller
FindAGrave - Robert A. Miller
FindAGrave - Robert A. Miller
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - Robert R. Streckenbach Jr. "recovered and identified in 2009"
Arlington National Cemetery (ANC Explorer) - Robert R. Streckenbach Jr.
FindAGrave - Robert R. Streckenbach Jr.
FindAGrave - Robert R. Streckenbach Jr.
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - Edward R. French "recovered and identified in 2009"
Arlington National Cemetery (ANC Explorer) - Edward R. French
FindAGrave - Edward R. French
FindAGrave - Edward R. French
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - Charles A. Bode "recovered and identified in 2009"
Arlington National Cemetery (ANC Explorer) - Charles A. Bode
FindAGrave - Charles A. Bode
FindAGrave - Charles A. Bode
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - Ivan O. Kirkpatrick "recovered and identified in 2009"
Arlington National Cemetery (ANC Explorer) - Ivan O. Kirkpatrick
FindAGrave - Ivan O. Kirkpatrick
FindAGrave - Ivan O. Kirkpatrick
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - Roy Surabian "recovered and identified in 2009"
Arlington National Cemetery (ANC Explorer) - Roy Surabian
FindAGrave - Roy Surabian
FindAGrave - Roy Surabian
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - William K. Musgrave "recovered and identified in 2009"
Arlington National Cemetery (ANC Explorer) - William K. Musgrave
FindAGrave - William K. Musgrave
FindAGrave - William K. Musgrave
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - James T. Moran "recovered and identified in 2009"
Arlington National Cemetery (ANC Explorer) - James T. Moran
FindAGrave - James T. Moran
FindAGrave - James T. Moran
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - James B. Moore "recovered and identified in 2009"
Arlington National Cemetery (ANC Explorer) - James B. Moore
FindAGrave - James B. Moore
FindAGrave - James B. Moore
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - Lucian I. Oliver, Jr. "recovered and identified in 2009"
Arlington National Cemetery (ANC Explorer) - Lucian I. Oliver, Jr.
FindAGrave - Lucian I. Oliver, Jr.
FindAGrave - Lucian I. Oliver, Jr.
Thanks to Bruce Hoy, Richard Leahy, Brian Bennett for additional information

Contribute Information
Are you a relative or associated with any person mentioned?
Do you have photos or additional information to add?

Last Updated
January 9, 2022

 

Tech Info
B-24

Map
Map
Search Route

MIA
MIA
11 Missing
Resolved

MIA
Photo Archive
  Discussion Forum Daily Updates Reviews Museums Interviews & Oral Histories  
 
Pacific Wrecks Inc. All rights reserved.
Donate Now Facebook Twitter YouTube Instagram