|Pilot Herb Corley
Crash Landed October 1944
Built by Consolidated at San Diego. On August 23, 1943 delivered to the U. S. Army Air Force as B-24D-170-CO Liberator Serial Number 42-72954 and flown to the Tuscon Modification Center the same day. During September 1943, the ball turret removed and twin 50 caliber machine guns installed on a scarf ring instead.
Assigned to the 5th Air Force, 90th Bombardment Group, 320th Bombardment Squadron. No known nickname. This B-24 had the squadron's "Moby Dick"
motif with the whale's eye and mouth painted on each side of the nose.
During October 1944, took off on a bombing mission against troops at Daraga in the southeast of Luzon. Over Legaspi hit by flak that damaged the hydraulic system. This B-24 was able to returned and crash landed without flaps or undercarriage at Hollandia, crashing into a pile of empty 55 gallon fuel drums. The nose turret completely
dislocated from the fuselage, and both propellers were torn from
no. 1 and no. 2 engines. Officially, this aircraft was written off on April 19, 1944 (in error).
Island Odyssey by Carl Thien:
"One day, returning from a ride in an A-20, I was passing
a fuel dump near the airport when a B-24 returning from a bombing run,
was unable to reach the Sentani Strip and crashed into hundreds of empty
fuel drums. A few other nearby soldiers went into the dump to do what
we could to help the downed flyers. Some of the empty drums were exploding,
and others were starting to burn, but we could see the flyers trying
to get out of the plane. We managed to bring three of them to the edge
of the dump before a regular crash crew arrived and got the rest out. Several had been wounded before the crash,
and couple more were badly hurt when when the plane grounded. The B-24
was still repairable after it was dragged out of the area and back to
the airstrip, and we saw it the next week being worked on. We heard
that most of the crew survived even though being severely wounded."
USAF Serial Number Search Results - B-24D-170-CO Liberator 42-72954
The Forgotten Fifth page 76
Island Odyssey by Carl Thien
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February 4, 2018