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Built by Consolidated at San Diego. Constructors Number 2155. Delivered to the U. S. Army Air Force (USAAF) as B-24D-130-CO Liberator serial number 42-41078. Ferried overseas via Hickam Field then across the Pacific piloted by Robeck to Australia.
Assigned to the 5th Air Force, 90th Bombardment Group, 319th Bombardment Squadron. Nicknamed "Ready, Willing and Able" with the nose art of red headed woman seated with one hand on her hair, wearing a blouse. This bomber flew at least 59 bombing missions and claimed at least three fighters and a ship.
On May 16, 1944 during take off from Nadzab Airfield this bomber blew out a tire and suffered damage to the undercarriage, but managed to get airborne. Damaged, the piloted salvoed the bombs and set the B-24 on autopilot and ordered everyone to bail out. Afterwards, the empty bomber continued to fly on auto-pilot and several P-38 Lightings were ordered to shoot it down which they did.
Fate of the Crew
The crew landed unhurt and returned to duty.
This B-24 crashed near Bupu village in the vicinity of Mumeng. In 1962, the wreckage was located with the nickname still readable and the tail with the blue skull and cross bomb motif of the 90th Bombardment Group atop a blue background.
USAF Serial Number Search Results - B-24D-130-CO Liberator 42-41078
"41078 blew tire on takeoff but got airborne. Bombs were salvoed and plane was abandoned by crew in Morobe area and subsequently shot down by P-38s over Morobe PNG May 16, 1944."
Legacy of the 90th Bombardment Group page 104 "Ready Willing and Able" incorrectly appears twice in the loss listing, confusing this aircraft with B-24D "Cold Steel" 42-41135
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