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90th BG c1943
|Pilot 1st Lt. Robert J. Tilden, O-747363 (MIA / KIA) Pasadna, CA
Co-Pilot 2nd Lt Henry P. Baker, O-684671 (MIA / KIA) Greenwood, SC
Bombardier 1st Lt Corbett Laws, O-730335 (MIA / KIA) Haywood County, NC
Navigator 2nd Lt Vernon M. Moreland Jr., O-683851 (MIA / KIA) MD
Engineer TSgt Keith R. Bash, 17059181 (MIA / KIA) Kansas City MS
Radio TSgt John W. Twitty Jr., 33128079 (MIA / KIA) Portsmouth, VA
Gunner SSgt Frank W. Athey, 36434611 (MIA / KIA) San Francisco, CA
Gunner SSgt Lester E. Bacon, 19052514 (MIA / KIA) Oxnard, CA
Gunner SSgt Vernon M. Clogston, 14161811 (MIA / KIA) Grenada, MS
Gunner SSgt John W. Kannapel, 35492426 (MIA / KIA) Hardinsburg, KY
MIA February 28, 1944
Built by Consolidated at San Diego. Constructors Number 2164. Delivered to the U.S. Army Air Force (USAAF) as B-24D-130-CO Liberator serial number 42-41087. Ferried overseas via Hickam Field across the Pacific to Australia.
Assigned to the 5th Air Force (5th AF), 90th Bombardment Group (90th BG), 319th Bombardment Squadron (319th BS). Nicknamed "The Milk Run" with nose art of a baby running with a bottle. Later, renamed "Hit Parader" in capital letters and later added the nose art of a woman marching and carrying a base drum with one hand raised and wearing high heel boots. In New Guinea, this B-24 flew over forty bombing missions and claimed several Japanese aircraft shot down.
When lost engines R-1830-43 serial numbers: 42-38666, 42-39854, 42-38461, 42-43736. Armed with .50 caliber machine guns (flexible) serial numbers 315214, 122219 plus .50 caliber machine guns (fixed) serial numbers 666625, 666420, 688359, 467977, 216359, 112463, 454887.
On February 28, 1944 at 11:41pm took off from Nadzab Airfield (No. 1) piloted by 1st Lt. Robert J. Tilden as one of six B-24s on a night bombing mission against Hollandia. This B-24 was last seen at take off headed on a course of course of 300°. Other crews flying the same mission reported stormy weather with heavy rains inbound and returning from the target area. When this bomber failed to return it was officially declared Missing In Action (MIA).
No wartime search was conducted for this bomber.
Seven of the crew: Baker, Law, Moreland, Twitty, Athey, Clogston and Kannapel were officially declared dead on Mach 7, 1946. Three of the crew: Baker, Bash and Bacon were officially declared dead on July 7, 1946. All are memorialized at Manila American Cemetery on the tablets of the missing.
Each member of the crew earned the Air Medal and Purple Heart, posthumously.
Baker also has a memorial marker at Rosemont Cemetery in Newberry, SC at section C3.
Laws also has a memorial marker at Liberty United Methodist Church Cemetery in Whitney, SC.
Bill Purdham (nephew of Vernon M. Moreland Jr.)
"By all accounts he was a good Christian man, he was married, very smart, very brave and very young. I believe that those us alive today owe so much to these men that it is our duty to do all we can to bring their remains home and with the technologies available today."
Ruthie Wheatley (niece of John William Kannapel)
"About 28 years ago I did a great deal of research on my uncle's loss."
USAF Serial Number Search Results - B-24D-130-CO Liberator 42-41087
"41087 (90th BG, "The Milk Run") lost Apr 28, 1944, New Guinea. MACR 4339. Feb 28, 1944 also quoted (MACR 8450)"
Missing Air Crew Report 4339 (MACR 4339)
PNG Museum Aircraft Status Card - B-24D Liberator 42-41087
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - Robert J. Tilden
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - Henry P. Baker
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - Corbett Laws
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - Vernon M. Moreland Jr.
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - Keith R. Bash
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - John W. Twitty Jr.
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - Frank W. Athey
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - Lester E. Bacon
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - Vernon M. Clogston
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - John W. Kannapel
FindAGrave - 1Lt Robert J Tilden (tablets of the missing)
FindAGrave - Lieut Henry Parr Baker (photo, tablets of the missing photo)
FindAGrave - Henry Parr Baker (photo, gave photo)
FindAGrave - Corbett Laws (memorial marker)
FindAGrave - 2Lt Vernon M Moreland, Jr (photo, tablets of the missing photo)
FindAGrave - TSgt Keith R Bash (tablets of the missing photo)
FindAGrave - TSgt John W Twitty, Jr (tablets of the missing photo)
FindAGrave - SSgt Frank W Athey (tablets of the missing photo)
FindAGrave - SSgt Lester E Bacon (tablets of the missing)
FindAGrave - SSgt Vernon Merritte Clogston (tablets of the missing)
FindAGrave - SSgt John W Kannapel (photo, tablets of the missing)
Legacy of the 90th Bombardment Group pages 102, 103 (map), 200 (Casualties)
War History Department, NIDS "Subject: Result of Study on the Inquiry by Ms O'Donoghue" 23 July 92
"29 Feb 44 - Hollandia: Received 7 to 8 bombs from a bomber around 0230.”
Thanks to Bill Purdham and Ruthie Wheatley for additional information
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