Built by Consolidated in San Diego using funds F-1 A. A. F. order AC-24620 at a cost of $297,627.00. On July 22, 1943 delivered to the U. S Army Air Force (USAAF) as B-24D-150-CO Liberator 42-41234. On July 25, 1943 flown to Tucson, AZ to the modification center. On August 9, 1943 to Oklahoma City, OK then to Love Field, TX. On August 11, 1943 to Tinker Field. Ferried overseas via Hickam Field then across the Pacific to Australia.
Assigned to the 5th Air Force,
90th Bombardment Group. Later assigned to the 380th Bombardment Group, 528th Bombardment Squadron. Nicknamed "Career Girl" with a reclining nude figure on the left side of the nose and nickname on the right side. The tail had a white upper corner and was outlined in white.
On December 13, 1943, during a crash landing (or taxing) this B-24 suffered an accident at Horanda
4Y near Dubodura. The left landing gear was torn loose and the bomber skidding on its left wingtip. Written off or abandoned in the area. Officially written off on December 15, 1943.
In the early 1970's, landowner Frank Egimbari reportedly moved the fuselage
section from the bush to the side of the taxiway at Horanda to display the wreck. It is one of the better known, and
easily accessible wrecks, easily visible in the kunai all times
of year. The wreckage consists of the fuselage center section, minus the engines,
tail or outer wings.
In the early 1970s, the front turret (guns removed) was still present in the nose, but this was removed later, missing as of 2000.
Bruce Hoy adds:
"I have recently scanned the slides I took when last visited [this wreck] on 25 July 1979 in the company of three 9FS pilots and these included its partial nickname."
A trace of nose art on the fuselage, photographed by Hoy in 1979 appears to include the letters "Luc" and "dy" on two lines, possibly "Lucky Lady".
Justin Taylan adds:
I have visited this wreck in 2000, 2003, 2004 and 2005. Each time, I have searched for a serial number or some feature to confirm the identity of this wreck, but found none. Only, component dataplates from Consolidated, but none listing the aircraft's serial number.
Charles Darby adds:
"The well-known aircraft on Horanda 4Y is almost certainly 'Career Girl' although, like you, I have never been able to find a number on the aircraft that confirms this. I visited the bomber in 1972 and even at that stage didn't see any trace of numbers or names. But it's always possible that I missed the critical items. Also, the record card states that "Career Girl" was flown to Townsville for repairs, which doesn't match a "scrapped on site" scenario. However, given the damage, the date, and the location I can't see it as likely to have been patched-up and flown out."
USAF Serial Number Search Results - B-24D-150-CO Liberator 42-41234
Individual Aircraft Record Card (IARC) - B-24D 42-41234
Pacific Aircraft Wrecks page 40
The Best in the Southwest page 129 (photo Jack Bratton), 447 (appendix 4)
Thanks to Charles Darby and Bruce Hoy for additional information.
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October 23, 2019