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  B-24J-50-CO "Patches" Serial Number 42-73474  
5th AF
380th BG
531st BS

Aircraft Commander  2nd Lt. James F. O'Brien, O-830674 (MIA / KIA) Youngstown, OH
Pilot  F/O Harry S. Letchas, T-63634 (MIA / KIA) Thomasville, GA
Navigator  2nd Lt. Robert T. Graham, O-2070010 (MIA / KIA) San Francisco, CA
Bombardier  2nd Lt. William L. Brueggeman, O-785650 (MIA / KIA) Detroit, MI
Engineer  Cpl Newell W. McClay, 35804927 (MIA / KIA) Troy, OH
Radio  Cpl Junius D. Jenkins, 39917402 (MIA / KIA) Naber City, OH
Gunner  Cpl John J. Barrow, 33810386 (MIA / KIA) Swarthmore, PA
Gunner  Cpl Kile Bingham, 38532269 (MIA / KIA) Burleson, IA
Gunner  Cpl Max A. Brown, 35242781 (MIA / KIA) Norville, IN
Gunner  Cpl Joseph J. Hanish, 42010802 (MIA / KIA) Old Forge, PA

Crashed  April 20, 1945
MACR  14303

Aircraft History
Built by Consolidated at San Diego. Delivered to the U. S. Army Air Force (USAAF) as B-24J-50-CO "Patches" Serial Number 42-73474. Ferried overseas via Hickam Field to the South West Pacific Area (SWPA).

Wartime History
Assigned to the 5th Air Force, 380th Bombardment Group, 531st Bombardment Squadron. Nicknamed "Patches".

Mission History
On April 20, 1945 took off on a bombing mission against Saigon. When this B-24 failed to return the entire crew was declared Missing In Action (MIA).

Margaret Leone adds:
"James F. O'Brien was my cousin and was shot down over Indochina and was captured, tortured and killed by the Japanese. I am trying to find out more information about him. I was 12 years old at the time and never got the complete story of what happened to him..or where he took off and what mission he was on. He was a very nice young man..and I am his last living relative.hope you can help me. I have run into many dead ends."

The entire crew was officially declared dead the day of the mission. The entire crew memorialized on the tablets of the missing at the Manila American Cemetery.

USAF Serial Number Search Results - B-24J-50-CO Liberator 42-73474
"73474 (380th BG 'Patches') MIA Apr 20, 1945 after aborting during mission to Saigon. MACR 14303"
Missing Air Crew Report 14303 (MACR 14303)

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Last Updated
August 10, 2019


Tech Information

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