|Pilot 2nd Lt Carl F. Carpenter, O-742680
(MIA / KIA) MN
Co-Pilot 2nd Lt William R. McCandless, O-683037
(MIA / KIA) IA
Navigator 1st Lt Grant W. Erwin, Jr., O-558862 (POW, survived) WI
Bombardier 2ndLT Clarence H. Clyborne (POW, died December 31, 1943)
Engineer SSgt Robert McCarty, 12126491
(MIA / KIA) NY
Radio SSgt William C. Fetterman, 13155731
(MIA / KIA) PA
Gunner Eugene L. Moyers, 14160896 (MIA / KIA) TN
Gunner Sgt Alfred L. Busby, 18193907
(MIA / KIA) OK
Gunner Sgt Malcolm W. Carter, 31151547
(MIA / KIA) ME
Armorer Gunner Sgt Paul L. Elyea, 36179569
(MIA / KIA) MI
Crashed December 1,
1943 at 12:13
Built by Consolidated at San Diego. Delivered to the U. S. Army Air Force (USAAF) as B-24J-25-CO Liberator serial number 42-73222. Ferried overseas China-Burma India (CBI) to India.
Assigned to the 10th Air Force (10th AF), 7th Bomber Group (7th BG), 9th Bomber Squadron (9th BS). Nicknamed "Bugs Bunny". When lost, engines R-1820-65 serial numbers RP425134, 42-93165, BP425217 and 42-92812. Weapon serial numbers noted in Missing Air Crew Report
1226 (MACR 1226).
The entire crew had just arrived
in India and were on their first combat mission.
On December 1,
1943 took off from Pandaveswar Airfield in India piloted by 2nd Lt Carl F. Carpenter as one of fifty B-24s on a bombing mission against against Insein railway marshaling yards to the north of Rangoon in Burma. This air crew had just arrived in India and were on their first combat mission. The regular navigator Kaufman was sick and was replaced by Grant W. Erwin who was an experienced navigator.
The B-24 formation was escorted by P-51 Mustangs that rendezvoused late. Over the target, intercepted by enemy fighters roughly fifty miles southwest of Insein. This B-24 was set on fire and engulfed in flames. Only two of the crew (Erwin and Clyborne) were able to bail out from roughly 200'. The bomber crashed near Bassein, exploding when it hit the ground.
Fates of the Crew
Erwin and Clyborne survived and were captured by the Japanese and transported to Rangoon POW Camp. Clyborn died in captivity on December 31, 1943. Erwin survived and was liberated at the end of the war.
Recovery of Remains
Postwar, US Army AGRS recovered five sets of remains were recovered from a
banana groove near the crash site where they were buried by local people or Japanese forces. On May 17, 1946, these remains were transported aboard C-47 43-48308 on a flight from Rangoon to Calcutta and crashed.
The eight members of the crew who died aboard the bomber were officially declared dead on the day of the mission. All are memorialized on the tablets of the missing at Manila American Cemetery.
Ruth Garmong (widow of Fetterman) adds:
"My husband, Bill
Fetterman, was the radio operater was on his third mission. I was also told that the plane was hit, and two bailed out, but only one
survived. I would sure like to
talk to anyone who may have known any of these men. I know it has been many years, but I was
hoping maybe Kaufman was still around and could maybe tell me something
about the crew. I would sure like to talk to anyone who may have known
any of these men."
USAF Serial Number Search Results - B-24J-25-CO Liberator 42-73222
"73222 (7th BG, 9th BS, "Bugs Bunny") shot down by fighters at Bassein, Burma Dec 1, 1943. MACR 1226. 8 KIA, 2 POW"
Missing Air Crew Report
1226 (MACR 1226) created December 2, 1943 pages 1-23 relates to this bomber and crew pages 24-33 relate to the crew of B-24D pilot Kavanagh force landed May 1, 1943
NARA Prisoners of War
- Grant W. Erwin
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May 1, 2020