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  B-24D-120-CO Liberator Serial Number 42-40972  
USAAF
5th AF
43rd BG
63rd BS

Former Assignments
1st AF
1st SSAG
2nd SSAS

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USAAF Sept 17, 1943

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Brian Bennett 2004

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JPAC 2004
Pilot  1st Lt. William M. Hafner, O-790659 (MIA / KIA) Norfolk, VA
Co-Pilot  2nd Lt Arthur C. Armacost, III, O-801750 (MIA / KIA) Cincinnati, OH
Navigator  2nd Lt David R. Eppright, O-669024 (MIA / KIA) Warrensburg, MO
Bombardier  2nd Lt Charles F. Feucht, O-673790 (MIA / KIA) Reynoldsburg, OH
Radar  TSgt Raymond S. Cisneros, 38204263 (MIA / KIA) San Antonio,TX
Engineer  TSgt James G. Lascelles, 32501454 (MIA / KIA) New York, NY
Asst. Engineer  SSgt Wilburn W. Rozzell, 18129869 (MIA / KIA) Duncan, OK
Radio-Gunner TSgt Alfred W. Hill, 38089108 (MIA / KIA) Temple, OK
Gunner  SSgt William C. Cameron, 19174370 (MIA / KIA) Los Angeles, CA
Crashed  November 5, 1943 at 1:21am
MACR  1069

Aircraft History
Built by Consolidated at San Diego purchased using funds F-1 under order number AC-24620 at a cost of $297,527. Constructors Number 2049. At the factory, this bomber was painted with olive drab upper surfaces and gray lower surfaces with U.S. star and bar insignia with a red outline.

On June 10, 1943 delivered to the U.S. Army Air Force (USAAF) as B-24D-120-CO Liberator serial number 42-40972. On June 14, 1943 flown to Tucson and that same day to Love Field at Dallas, Texas. On July 13, 1943 to Robins Field in Georgia.

On July 19, 1943 flown to Grenier Airfield in Manchester, NH. Afterwards, flown to Middletown Airfield for modification at Middletown Air Depot (MAD) and equipped with Low Altitude Bomb System (LAB System) for night or bad weather radar "snooper" missions.

Assigned to the 1st Air Force (1st AF), 1st Sea Search Attach Group (1st SSAG), 2nd Sea Search Attack Squadron (2nd SSAS) at Langley Field in Virginia as one of twelve radar equipped B-24s assigned to the "Scott Project" under the command of Major Edward W. Scott, Jr. (C.O. 63rd BS) and flew training missions until late September 1943.

Afterwards, flown from Langley Field across the United States via Tinker Field then onward to Fairfield Airfield where armament and excess gear was removed to save weight for the ferry flight to the South West Pacific Area (SWPA) flown by a reduced aircrew. Assigned Project Number 96189-R.

On October 1, 1943 at at 6:08am took off from Fairfield Airfield piloted by 1st Lt. William M. Hafner, co-pilot 2nd Lt Arthur C. Armacost, III, navigator 2nd Lt David R. Eppright, radar TSgt Raymond S. Cisneros, assistant radar Sgt Richard M. Salley on the first leg of a ferry flight to Hickam Field then across the Pacific via Palmyra Airfield, Canton Airfield, Nadi Airfield, Plaine Des Gaiacs Airfield before arriving October 7, 1943 at Amberley Field near Brisbane.

Wartime History
On October 14, 1943 assigned to the 5th Air Force (5th AF), 43rd Bombardment Group, (43rd BG) "Ken's Men", 63rd Bombardment Squadron (63rd BS) "Sea Hawks". Assigned to pilot 1st Lt. William M. Hafner. No known nose art or nickname. On October 21, 1943 flown to 7-Mile Drome near Port Moresby.

On November 2, 1943 at 8:30pm took off from Dobodura Airfield (APO 503) piloted by 1st Lt. William M. Hafner on their first mission, an armed reconnaissance mission flying between Cape Gloucester and Umboi Island (Rooke) then northeast to within 40 miles south of Kavieng then turned towards Rabaul. Despite bad weather and issues with the no. 4 engine's propeller, the radar operator spotted a ship 40 miles off Cape Lambert and overflew the target then made a second run and encountered moderate but inaccurate anti-aircraft fire before releasing four 1,000 pound bombs and claimed a hit and three near misses a 6,000 ton vessel. During another pass they saw flames on and returned to land on November 3, 1943 at 4:00am. The entire crew earned the Air Medal for their performance on the mission.

When lost R-1830-43 engines serial numbers 42-62706, 42-62962, 42-62548 and 42-87001. Armed with .50 caliber machine guns makers and serial numbers not listed in Missing Air Crew Report 1069 (MACR 1069).

Mission History
On November 4, 1943 at 6:00pm took off from Dobodura Airfield (APO 503) piloted by 1st Lt. William M. Hafner armed with six 1,000 pound bombs with 1/10 second delay nose fuse and a .5 second tail fuse with 2,300 gallons of fuel per engine for a maximum of 12 hours flying time on an armed reconnaissance mission to shadow a convoy of ten ships spotted earlier in the day in the Bismarck Sea south of Kavieng. The weather was reported as having storm front activity in the area.

At 11:35 the B-24 was instructed by radio by Air Task Force (ATF) to shadow the convoy to the limit of their fuel supply. On November 5, 1943 at 12:40am the B-24 radioed: "Three direct hits on a CL [Light Cruiser] or CA [Heavy Cruiser], 0.3005 15100E target destroyed". A final message was received at 1:20am by TSgt Carl P. Huff: "Turn on radio range". No further messages were received. When this B-24 failed to return, it was officially listed as Missing In Action (MIA).

Search
On November 5, 1943 at 10:00am B-24D "The Dorothy Anne / Not In Stock" 42-41093 took off from Dobodura Airfield on a search mission for the missing plane with nil results.

Wreckage
In fact, this B-24 flew over 350 miles to the southwest and crashed in the Saruwaged Range of New Guinea. The crash site was first located by locals at at 10,800' elevation near Imon, roughly 45 miles north of Lae. During 2002, the crash site reported to U.S. authorities.

The Department of Defense (DoD) made at least two visits were made to the crash site to recover the remains and personnel effects of the crew.

1) Between July 2003 until August 2003 a team from Central Identification Laboratory Hawaii (CILHI) excavated the crash site and recovered remains and personnel effects. The crash site was designated the site "PP0088".

2) During 2004, the a team from Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command (JPAC) led by Captain Paul Royale returned to the crash site. During their investigation, they located the five day clock that was stopped at at 1:21am, a minute after its last radio call.¨

The recovered remains and personnel effects were transported to the United States for forensic identification at the CILHI Laboratory and Armed Forces DNA Identification Laboratory. On February 10, 2006, the Department of Defense (DoD) announced the entire crew were identified using modern forensic tools and the families were notified.

Memorials
Officially the entire crew was declared dead on January 15, 1946. All are memorialized at Manila American Cemetery on the tablets of the missing.

After the recovery and identification of remains, the crew were buried different cemeteries.

On July 19, 2006 five of the crew were buried in a group burial at Arlington National Cemetery at section 60 site 8464. The burial included remains that could not be specifically matched to any of the crew including remains associated with Hafner, Armacost, Cameron, Lascelles, Eppright, Hill, Cameron, Cisneros and Feucht.

Hafner earned the Air Medal with Oak Leaf Cluster and Purple Heart, posthumously. On July 19, 2006, he also has an individual burial at Arlington National Cemetery at section 60 site 8466. He also has a memorial marker at Forest Lawn Cemetery in Norfolk, VA.

Armacost earned the Air Medal with Oak Leaf Cluster and Purple Heart, posthumously. He also has a memorial marker at Spring Grove Cemetery in Cincinnati, OH at section 104, lot 114 (cenotaph).

Eppright earned the Air Medal with Oak Leaf Cluster and Purple Heart, posthumously. On May 23, 2006, Eppright was buried at Sunset Hill Cemetery in Warrensburg, MO.

Feucht earned the Air Medal with Oak Leaf Cluster and Purple Heart, posthumously. He also has a memorial marker at Glen Rest Memorial Estates section B.

Lascelles earned the Air Medal with Oak Leaf Cluster and Purple Heart, posthumously. He has an individual burial at Arlington National Cemetery at section 60 site 8465.

Rozzell earned the Air Medal with Oak Leaf Cluster and Purple Heart, posthumously. He also has a memorial marker at Duncan Municipal Cemetery at section 34.

Hill earned the Air Medal and Purple Heart, posthumously. He has an individual burial at Fort Sill National Cemetery section 30, site 44.

Cameron Air Medal with Oak Leaf Cluster and Purple Heart, posthumously.

Cisneros earned the Air Medal with Oak Leaf Cluster, Purple Heart, posthumously. After the recovery of remains, he was buried at Forest Park East Cemetery in Webster TX.

Relatives
Lynn Ilg (niece of Cameron) DNA was used to help identify Cameron
Gretchen Moore (niece of Cameron)
Nancy Wilson (granddaughter of Cisneros)

References
NARA World War II Army Enlistment Records - William M. Hafner

NARA World War II Army Enlistment Records - Arthur C. Armacost, III
NARA World War II Army Enlistment Records - Charles F. Feucht
NARA World War II Army Enlistment Records - James G. Lascelles
NARA World War II Army Enlistment Records - Alfred W. Hill
NARA World War II Army Enlistment Records - William C. Cameron
NARA World War II Army Enlistment Records - Raymond S. Cineros [sic Cisneros]
NARA World War II Army Enlistment Records - Richard M. Salley
Individual Aircraft Record Card (IARC) B-24D Liberator 42-40972
USAF Serial Number Search Results - B-24D-120-CO Liberator 42-40972
"40972 (43rd BG) lost Nov 5, 1943, South Pacific. MACR 1069"
Individual Deceased Personnel File (IDPF) - Arthur C. Armacost, III
Diary of Arthur C. Armacost, III October 1943–November 1943
Missing Air Crew Report 1069 (MACR 1069) created November 6, 1943
PNG Museum Aircraft Status Card - B-24D Liberator 42-40972
Central Identification Laboratory (CILHI) News Release "CILHI Team Leaves For Papua New Guinea to Recover WWII Service Members" August 1, 2003
My San Antonio "A Father Returns Home" by Nancy Flock Wilson May 28, 2006
The News & Observer "63 years of wondering ends as widow buries World War II pilot" by Jay Price July 17, 2006
Daily Bulletin "Relatives honor lost WWII soldier" by Inland Valley Daily Bulletin July 20, 2006
Los Angeles Daily News "U.S. bomber crew buried" by Daily News August 29, 2017
Daily Breeze "Niece’s DNA helps bring lost airman home" by Ruby Gonzales September 6, 2017
U.S. Department of Defense New Release No. 682-06 "Missing WWII Airmen Identified" July 18, 2006
DPAA Press Release "Missing WWII Airman Identified (Hafner, Armacost, Eppright, Feucht, Cisneros, Hill, Lascelles, Cameron, Rozzell)" July 18, 2006
DPAA Personnel Profile - William M. Hafner date of identification 02/10/2006
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - William M. Hafner "recovered"
Arlington National Cemetery (ANC Explorer) - William M. Hafner (group burial photos)
Arlington National Cemetery (ANC Explorer) - William M. Hafner (individual grave photos)
FindAGrave - 1LT William M. Hafner (photo, tablets of the missing)
FindAGrave - 1LT William M. Hafner (photo, Arlington National Cemetery group burial / individual burial photos)
FindAGrave - 1LT William M Hafner ( Forest Lawn Cemetery photo)
DPAA Personnel Profile - Arthur C. Armacost, III date of identification 02/10/2006
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - Arthur C. Armacost, III "recovered"
Arlington National Cemetery (ANC Explorer) - Arthur C. Armacost, III
FindAGrave - 2Lt Arthur Clayton Armacost III (tablets of the missing)
FindAGrave - 2LT Arthur C. Armacost III (Arlington National Cemetery group burial photo)
FindAGrave - 2LT Arthur Clayton Armacost III (memorial marker photo)
DPAA Personnel Profile - David R. Eppright date of identification 02/10/2006
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - David R. Eppright "recovered"
Arlington National Cemetery (ANC Explorer) - David R. Eppright (group burial photos)
FindAGrave - David R. Eppright (tablets of the missing)
FindAGrave - David R. Eppright (group burial photo)
FindAGrave - David R. Eppright (obituary, grave photo)
DPAA Personnel Profile - Charles F. Feucht date of identification 02/10/2006
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - Charles F. Feucht "recovered"
Arlington National Cemetery (ANC Explorer) - Charles F. Feucht (group burial photos)
FindAGrave - 2LT Charles F. Feucht (photo, tablets of the missing photo)
FindAGrave - 2LT Charles F. Feucht (group burial photo)
FindAGrave - 2LT Charles F. Feucht (photos, Glen Rest Memorial Estate grave)
DPAA Personnel Profile - James G. Lascelles date of identification 02/10/2006
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - James G. Lascelles "recovered"
FindAGrave - TSGT James G. Lascelles (tablets of the missing photo)
FindAGrave - TSGT James G. Lascelles (Arlington National Cemetery group burial, individual photo)
DPAA Personnel Profile - Wilburn W. Rozzell date of identification 02/10/2006
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - Wilburn W. Rozzell "recovered"
FindAGrave - SSGT Wilburn W. Rozzell (tablet of the missing photo)
FindAGrave - SSGT Wilburn W Rozzell (group burial photo)
FindAGrave - SSGT Wilburn W. Rozzell (photo, Duncan Municipal Cemetery)
DPAA Personnel Profile - Alfred W. Hill date of identification 02/10/2006
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - Alfred W. Hill "recovered"
FindAGrave - TSGT Alfred Wesley Hill (photo, tablets of the missing photo)
FindAGrave - TSGT Alfred Wesley Hill (group burial photo)
FindAGrave - TSGT Alfred Wesley Hill (photo, obituary, Fort Sill National Cemetery photo)
DPAA Personnel Profile - William C. Cameron date of identification 02/10/2006
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - William C. Cameron "recovered"
FindAGrave - SSGT William C. Cameron (tablets of the missing photo)
FindAGrave - SSGT William C Cameron (group burial photo)
DPAA Personnel Profile - Raymond S. Cisneros date of identification 02/10/2006
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - Raymond S. Cisneros "recovered"
FindAGrave - TSGT Raymond S. Cisneros (tablets of the missing photo)
FindAGrave - TSGT Raymond S. Cisneros (group burial photo)
FindAGrave - TSGT Raymond S. Cisneros (grave photo)
Ken's Men Against The Empire Volume II (2019) pages 13 (crew photo, crew no. 10 center right), 15 (map), 17 (ferry flight overseas), 30-31 (November 2-5, 1943 missions), 31 (crash site photos by Bennett), 209 (crash site photos by Bennett), 352 (November 5, 1943 summary), 368 (42-40972, 63rd BS), 447 (index Hafner)
Thanks to Nancy Wilson, Brian Bennett and Robert Livingstone for additional information

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Last Updated
November 5, 2022

 

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Nov 5, 1943

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