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  B-24D-170-CO "Here T'is" Serial Number 42-72946  
USAAF
5th AF
43rd BG
403rd BS

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via Aerothentic

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USAAF December 1943

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43rd BG c1944

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Brian Bennett 2002
Pilot  2nd Lt Raymond A. Cooley, O-888887 (MIA / KIA) Leary, TX
Co-Pilot  2nd Lt Dudley R. Ives, O-687035 (MIA / KIA) Aransas Pass/Ingleside, TX
Navigator  2nd Lt George E. Archer, O-685343 (MIA / KIA) Cushing, OK
Bombardier  2nd Lt Donald F. Grady, O-685799 (MIA / KIA) Harrisburg, PA
Engineer  TSgt Richard R. Sargent, 13128550 (MIA / KIA) North Girard, PA
Asst. Engineer  S/Sgt Norman L. Nell, 17164634 (MIA / KIA) Tarkio, MO
Radio  TSgt Steve Zayac, 20522589 (MIA / KIA) Cleveland, OH
Asst. Radio  SSgt Thomas G. Knight, 16126500 (MIA / KIA) Brookfield, IL
Gunner  SSgt Blair W. Smith, 33135850 (MIA / KIA) Nu Mine, PA
Tail Gunner  SSgt Joseph M. King, 36576814 (MIA / KIA) Detroit, MI
Crashed  April 16, 1944 "Black Sunday"
MACR  4497

Aircraft History
Built by Consolidated at San Diego. Constructors Number 2516. Delivered to the U.S. Army Air Force (USAAF) as B-24D-170-CO Liberator serial number 42-72946.

Wartime History
Assigned to the 5th Air Force (5th AF), 43rd Bombardment Group (43rd BG), 403rd Bombardment Squadron (403rd BS). Nicknamed "Here T'is". When lost engines: R-1830-65 serial numbers: 42-91692, 42-9872, 42-36592, 42-89996.

Mission History
On April 16, 1944 took off from Nadzab Airfield (No 3) piloted by 2nd Lt Raymond A. Cooley on a bombing mission against Annanberg to Hollandia. Returning, the formation encountered severe weather and the formation broke up and began flying on instruments. Pilot Cooley was instructed to take a heading for Saidor and proceed alone. He acknowledged and stated he was gaining altitude. This was the last radio contact.

This B-24 was last seen 50 miles north of Faita at an altitude of 2,000' on a 90° bearing in bad weather. When this bomber failed to return it was officially declared Missing In Action (MIA).

Search
Afterwards, a search from Nadzab was made over the Ramu River and Sepik River returning via Gusap to Nadzab with nil sightings.

Wreckage
In fact, this B-24 crashed at an altitude of 4,700' near Kunukio in the Finesterre Range. During 2001, the crash site was discovered only 700 meters from B-24J 42-100225 that crashed returning from the same mission. This crash site was designated by U.S. Army CILHI "PP46".

Recovery of Remains
During 2002, a team from U.S. Army CILHI with Brian Bennett visited the crash site and recovered the remains of the crew and personel effects. Among the items found at the crash site was pilot Cooley's wedding ring engraved with "Ray From Nita 12-19-42". They also located Nell's high school class ring.

Brian Bennett adds:
"I found that the crash site search parameters had not been defined and we actually found the tail turret outside the area of "official interest". A VIP from D.C. was there and he and I found the top turret next to a grid. This item had not been ID'd or flagged as a crew position. I found also a whole outer wing panel that neither CILHI nor locals had found. I don't have a lot of pics as i was only on site for about 4 hours. The reason for the short stay the day i went up was that when the weather started to close and there would then be a mad rush to get to the helicopter back down to the coast."

By December 2006, the identification of the recovered remains was completed using mDNA and dental records. During early 2007, the Department of Defense (DoD) notified the families that the crew had been accounted-for.

Memorials
The entire crew was officially declared dead on February 25 1946. All are memorialized at Manila American Cemetery on the tablets of the missing. After the 2007 identifications, a rosette was added next to name of each crew member.

On September 7, 2007 the remains of the crew were buried in a group burial at Arlington National Cemetery at section 60 site 8054. The epitaph on the grave reads "Downed aircraft - New Guinea April 16, 1944"

Cooley earned the Air Medal and Purple Heart, posthumously. He also has a grave at East Memorial Gardens in Texarkana, TX.

Ives earned the Air Medal and Purple Heart, posthumously. He also has a grave at Prairie View Cemetery in Aransas Pass, TX.

Archer earned the Air Medal and Purple Heart, posthumously. On September 19, 2007 he also has an individual buried in an individual grave at Arlington National Cemetery at section 60 site 8053.

Grady earned the Air Medal and Purple Heart, posthumously. He also has a memorial marker at East Harrisburg Cemetery in Harrisburg, PA.

Sargent earned the Air Medal and Purple Heart, posthumously. He also has a memorial marker at Girard Cemetery in Girard, PA.

Nell earned the Air Medal and Purple Heart, posthumously. He also has a memorial marker at Tarkio Home Cemetery in Tarkio, Missouri. On September 7, 2007 he also has an individual buried in an individual grave at Arlington National Cemetery at section 60 site 8056.

Zayac earned the Air Medal and Purple Heart, posthumously.

Knight earned the Air Medal and Purple Heart, posthumously.

Smith earned the Air Medal and Purple Heart, posthumously.

King earned the Air Medal and Purple Heart, posthumously. He also has a memorial marker at Woodmere Cemetery in Detroit, MI.

Relatives
Nita Boddie Cooley Jones (wife of Cooley)

Rich Smith (nephew of Norman L. Nell)
"My Dad’s uncle was one of the two crew, with enough identified remains to be buried individually. They will be conducting a full Military funeral at Arlington Notational this June 2007."

Nancy Donald (niece of Richard R. Sargent):
"It was very interesting meeting the families from all over the USA who had come to attend the group burial at Arlington. The pilot's daughter (her mother was 4 months pregnant with her) attended the funeral. The co-pilot's son, who was about 4 when his father was lost was there. The navigator's daughter, who was 2 months old, at the time of her father's death and her mother attended with their family. The sister of the tail gunner, at about age 92 attended with her extended family. Then the rest of us were nieces, nephews or cousins of these lost men. It was in someway a sad event, but in others it was a celebration of this crew lives. Remembering them 63 years after they were lost."

References
NARA World War II Army Enlistment Records - Raymond A. Cooley
NARA World War II Army Enlistment Records - George E. Archer
NARA World War II Army Enlistment Records - Donald F. Grady
NARA World War II Army Enlistment Records - Richard R. Sargent
NARA World War II Army Enlistment Records - Norman L. Nell
NARA World War II Army Enlistment Records - Steve Zayac
NARA World War II Army Enlistment Records - Thomas G. Knight
NARA World War II Army Enlistment Records - Blair W. Smith
USAF Serial Number Search Results - B-24D-170-CO Liberator 42-72946
"72946 (43rd BG, 403rd BS) MIA Apr 16, 1944 in weather-related accident, New Guinea. MACR 4497. On that day (Black Sunday) the US 5th AF lost 37 aircraft to weather. Wreck located in 2002. All 10 on board killed."
Missing Air Crew Report 4497 (MACR 4497)
PNG Museum Aircraft Status Card - B-24D Liberator 42-72946
Black Sunday (2000) by Michael Claringbould page 97
NBC "Bringing Home the Dead from WWII" (2002)
DOD News Release "Ten Missing WWII Airmen are Identified" April 9, 2007
AP "Airman missing for 62 years buried DNA identification led to recovery of body" March 25, 2007
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - Raymond A. Cooley "remains were recovered"
Arlington National Cemetery (ANC Explorer) - Raymond A. Cooley (group burial photos)
FindAGrave - 2Lt Raymond Arthur Cooley (photos, tablets of the missing)
FindAGrave - 2LT Raymond Arthur Cooley (photo, group burial Arlington National Cemetery)
FindAGrave - 2LT Raymond Arthur Cooley (photo, grave East Memorial Gardens grave photo)
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - Dudley R. Ives "remains were recovered"
Arlington National Cemetery (ANC Explorer) - Dudley R. Ives (group burial photos) death "04/16/1966" [sic 1944]
FindAGrave - 2Lt Dudley Ray Ives (photos, tablets of the missing photos)
FindAGrave - 2LT Dudley R Ives (photos, group burial photo)
FindAGrave - 2LT Dudley Ray Ives (photos, grave Prairie View Cemetery photo)
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - George E. Archer "remains were recovered"
Arlington National Cemetery (ANC Explorer) - George E. Archer (group burial photos)
Arlington National Cemetery (ANC Explorer) - George E. Archer (grave marker photos)
FindAGrave - 2Lt George Eldon Archer (tablets of the missing photo)
FindAGrave - 2LT George Eldon Archer (Arlington National Cemetery photo)
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - Donald F. Grady "remains were recovered"
Arlington National Cemetery (ANC Explorer) - Donald F. Grady (group burial photos)
FindAGrave - 2LT Donald F. Grady (photo, tablets of the missing photo)
FindAGrave - 2LT Donald F Grady (photo, group burial photo)
FindAGrave - Lieut Donald F Grady (photo, memorial marker photo)
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - Richard R. Sargent "remains were recovered"
Arlington National Cemetery (ANC Explorer) - Richard R. Sargent (group burial photos)
FindAGrave - TSGT Richard R Sargent (photo, tablets of the missing)
FindAGrave - TSGT Richard R Sargent (photos, group burial photo)
FindAGrave - TSGT Richard R Sargent (photos, memorial marker photos)
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - Norman L. Nell "remains were recovered"
Arlington National Cemetery (ANC Explorer) - Norman L. Nell (group burial photos)
Arlington National Cemetery (ANC Explorer) - Norman L. Nell (grave photo)
FindAGrave - SSGT Norman Lloyd Nell (tablets of the missing)
FindAGrave - SSGT Norman Lloyd Nell (photo, tablets of the missing photo)
FindAGrave - SSGT Norman Lloyd Nell (memorial marker Tarkio Home Cemetery)
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - Steve Zayac "remains were recovered"
Arlington National Cemetery (ANC Explorer) - Steve Zayac (group burial photos)
FindAGrave - TSGT Steve Zayac (photo, tablets of the missing photo)
FindAGrave - TSGT Steve Zayac (photo, group burial photo)
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - Thomas G. Knight "remains were recovered"
Arlington National Cemetery (ANC Explorer) - Thomas G. Knight (group burial photos)
FindAGrave - SSGT Thomas G. Knight (tablets of the missing photo)
FindAGrave - SSGT Thomas G Knight (photo, group burial photo)
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - Blair W. Smith "remains were recovered"
Arlington National Cemetery (ANC Explorer) - Blair W. Smith (group burial photos)
Arlington National Cemetery (ANC Explorer) - Blair W. Smith (grave photos)
FindAGrave - SSGT Blair W. Smith (photo, tablets of the missing photo)
FindAGrave - SSGT Blair W Smith (photo, group burial photos)
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - Joseph M. King "remains were recovered"
Arlington National Cemetery (ANC Explorer) - Joseph M. King (group burial photos)
FindAGrave - SSgt Joseph Michael King (photo, tablets of the missing photo)
FindAGrave - SSGT Joseph Michael King (photo, group burial photo)
FindAGrave - SSGT Joseph Michael King (photo, memorial marker photo)
Thanks Brian Bennett for additional information

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Last Updated
December 8, 2021

 

Tech Information
B-24

MIA
MIA
10 Missing
Resolved

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