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  B-24J-20-CO Liberator Serial Number 42-73197  
5th AF
90th BG
320th BS

Pilot  1st Lt. Joseph D. Mettes, O-378469 (MIA / KIA) MO
Co-Pilot 1st Lt. Merlynn A. Zuehlsdorff, O-737929 (MIA / KIA) Clay County, MN
Navigator  2nd Lt Eugene M. Keen, O-690444 (MIA / KIA) Roanoke, VA
Bombardier  2nd Lt Roger E. Dounce, O-688940 (MIA / KIA) Bayside, NY
Engineer  T/Sgt Benjamin Klayman, 35424132 (MIA / KIA) OH
Radio  T/Sgt John E. Burns, 12185460 (MIA / KIA) NY
Gunner  S/Sgt Robert L. Wort, 36068556 (MIA / KIA) IL
Gunner  S/Sgt Arthur F. Miller, 35436013 (MIA / KIA) OH
Gunner  S/Sgt Felix R. Bonavita, 12040940 (MIA / KIA) NY
Gunner  S/Sgt Henry A. Granacki, 35363704 (MIA / KIA) IN
Crashed  June 14, 1944
MACR  5807

Aircraft History
Built by Consolidated at San Diego. Constructors number 2767. Delivered to the U. S. Army Air Force (USAAF) as B-24J-20-CO Liberator serial number 42-73197. Ferried overseas via Hickam Field then across the Pacific to the South Pacific.

Wartime History
Assigned to the 5th Air Force, 90th Bombardment Group, 320th Bombardment Squadron. No known nose art or nickname. When lost, engines R-1830-43 serial numbers CP-306849, CP-300583, CP-306941, 42-40291. Aboard were .50 caliber machine guns serial numbers: 932267, 932457, 931790, 749603, 931770, 932666, 332065.

Mission History
On June 14, 1944 took off from Nadzab Airfield piloted by 1st Lt. Joseph D. Mettes and staged through Momote Airfield on Los Negros Island for a long range bombing mission against Yap. Returning, the bombers were to land at Hollandia Airfield. On the way to the target, the formation experienced bad weather both inbound and leaving the target area. This bomber reported it was extremely low on fuel and looking for a place to land. The last known radio fix coordinates was at 9:12am at Lat 4° 28' South, Long 144° 15' East over the Sepik River area. When this bomber failed to return it was officially declared Missing In Action (MIA).

When their last radio message was received, a B-24 piloted by Captain John W. Klien, C.O. 320th Bombardment Squadron took off and searched the area where the missing plane was reported, but no sightings were observed.

The next day, a B-25 Mitchell from the 823rd Bombardment Squadron searched the area around Mount Hagen with nil sightings. Also, two B-24s took off at 9:41 and 9:51. The first searched the Annenberg-Burui area and the other the Maprik-Sepik River mouth to Hansa Bay from an altitude of 1,500' - 1,800'. The second searched the the area from the Astrolabe Bay to the Adelbert Range then to Angoram and Hansa Bay at 1,500' to 2,000' N, sighting a circular object, possibly a parachute. No other sightings were reported.

The entire crew was officially declared dead on February 21, 1946. Burns was officially declared on April 21, 1946. All are memorialized at Manila American Cemetery on the tablets of the missing. The entire crew earned the Purple Heart, posthumously. Mettes, Keen and Dounce earned the Air Medal. Zuehlsdorff and Benjamin Klayman earned the Air Medal with two oak leaf clusters.

Mettes also has a memorial marker at Saint Marys Cemetery in Macon, MO at plot N07-04.

Zuehlsdorff also has a memorial marker at Riverside Cemetery in Moorhead, MN.

Miller also has a memorial marker at Cooper Cemetery in Lucasville, OH.

Granacki is also memorialized on the WWII memorial at Greenwood Cemetery in Michigan City, IN.

Nancy Dale (niece of 2nd Lt. Roger E. Dounce)
"Roger Dounce is survived by three nieces who were born after his death.  He was a graduate of Columbia University in 1938 majoring in journalism, and was from Bayside, Long Island, NY. Before enlisting he made a wooden sailboat that is still in use on Long Island Sound, and was an accomplished water color painter."

David Keen (nephew Eugene M. Keen)

USAF Serial Number Search Results - B-24J 42-73197
"73197 (320th BS, 90th BG) MIA Jun 14, 1944 New Guinea. MACR 5807"
Missing Air Crew Report 5807 (MACR 5807)
Letter Major John W. Kline to Mrs. Eugene M. Keen June 22, 1944
PNG Museum Aircraft Status Card - B-24J Liberator 42-73197
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - Joseph D. Mettes

American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - Merlynn A. O. Zuehlsdorff
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - Eugene M. Keen
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - Roger E. Dounce
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - Benjamin Klayman
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - John E. Burns
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - Robert L. Wort
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - Arthur F. Miller
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - Felix R. Bonavita
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - Henry A. Granacki
FindAGrave - 1Lt Joseph D Mettes (tablets of the missing)
FindAGrave - Joseph Denver Mettes (memorial marker photo)
FindAGrave - Merlynn Amos Otto Zuehlsdorff (tablets of the missing photo, memorial marker photo)
FindAGrave - 2Lt Eugene M Keen (tablets of the missing)
FindAGrave - 2Lt Roger E Dounce (photos, tablets of the missing photo)
FindAGrave - TSgt Benjamin Klayman (tablets of the missing photo)
FindAGrave - TSgt John E Burns (tablets of the missing)
FindAGrave - SSgt Robert L Wort (tablets of the missing photo)
FindAGrave - SSgt Arthur F Miller (tablets of the missing)
FindAGrave - Arthur F Miller (memorial marker photo)
FindAGrave - SSgt Felix R Bonavita (tablets of the missing)
FindAGrave - SSgt Henry A Granacki (tablets of the missing photo)
FindAGrave - Henry A Granacki (memorial marker photo, date of death listed as June 16, 1944 [sic])

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Last Updated
August 10, 2019


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