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  B-24J-50-CO "Cloudy Joe" Serial Number 42-73499  
7th AF
11th BG
431st BS

Tech Info
431st BS 1944
Pilot  Captain Loren Arthur Stoddard, O-428873 (POW, survived) Gridley, CA
Co-Pilot  2nd Lt. Peter Hryskanich, O-806683 (POW, survived) Elmira, NY
Navigator  1st Lt. Leo Francis Welch, Jr., O-665959 (MIA / KIA) Indianapolis, IN
Bombardier  1st Lt. Ernest Ferdinan Peschau, Jr., O-412950 (WIA, POW, died June 8, 1944) NC
Engineer  TSgt Raymond E. Nedean, 11039947 (MIA / KIA) Milford, CT
Asst Engineer  SSgt Russell H. Ketner, 14166181 (MIA / KIA) Burlington, NC
Radio  TSgt Lincoln S. Manierre, 11073217 (POW, survived) East Hartford, CT
Asst Radio  SSgt Preston B. Bellamy, 14054755 (MIA / KIA) Wilmington, NC
Radar  TSgt Martin K. Burke, 11096175 (MIA / KIA) New Britain, CT
Gunner  SSgt Hulbert Q. Hall, Jr., 16175810 (MIA / KIA) Flat Rock, MI
MIA  May 29, 1944
MACR  5447

Aircraft History
Built by Consolidated Aircraft Corporation at San Diego. Constructors Number 3069. Delivered to the U.S. Army Air Force (USAAF) as B-24J-1-CO Liberator serial number 42-73499. Ferried overseas via Hickam Field to the Central Pacific.

Wartime History
Assigned to the 7th Air Force (7th AF), 11th Bombardment Group (11th BG), 431st Bombardment Squadron (431st BS). Nicknamed "Bat Out of Hell". Later, renamed "Cloudy Joe" with slightly different artwork on the left and right side of the nose. On the right side of the nose the nickname had a white outline with double quotation marks. The nose art was a circle with a winged figure waring goggles with a sky with clouds in the background. On the left side of the nose, the nickname was solid white block letters without quotation marks and a slightly different circle with winged figure waring goggles."

Prior to the mission when lost, this B-24 was flown from Kwajalein Airfield to Eniwetok Airfield to stage for a mission. When lost engines R1830-65 serial number 42-42310, 42-7823, 42-7753 and 42-8054. Armed with .50 caliber machine guns makers and serial numbers unknown. Previously, the Stoddard crew flew 13 bombing missions previously, including missions against Ponape, Wotje, Truk and Saipan between March 1944 until the bomber went missing on May 29, 1944.

Mission History
On May 29, 1944 at approximately 5:22am took off from Eniwetok Airfield piloted by Captain Loren A. Stoddard armed with three 100 pound bombs (Mission H-258) to escort U.S. Navy (USN) PB4Y-1 Liberators from VD-4 on a photo mission over Saipan. The weather was good weather. Departing Saipan, one of the B-24s developed mechanical problems with a feathered propeller and began loosing altitude. This B-24 dropped back to provide escort.

Between 12:10-12:30, roughly 25 miles from Saipan, this B-24 was intercepted by 8-10 Zero that hit the no 1 and no 2 engines, causing them to smoke then catch fire in the engines, bomb bay and wing and communication with the rear of the plane was cut off.. This fire was put out by using extinguishers and diving, but the third time it caught fire the pilots decided to ditch.

Two of the crew bailed out and the B-24 managed to ditch at roughly Lat 14° 42' N, Long 146°  57' E. The B-24 stayed afloat for roughly 30 seconds and the fighters strafed the bomber and the crew in the water.

Tim McCarthy of VD-4 adds:
"One fighter, believed to be a "Tony", a Japanese fighter that resembled the P-47, placed himself in front of and over this group and was joined by a second fighter. They made a coordinated attack, diving out of the sun and their gunfire set fire to the number two engine on Captain Stoddard’s plane.
One of our planes (VD-4's Lt. Mather) and Lt. Sheerin of the 98th attempted to provide protection for Stoddard but the damage had already been done. Captain Stoddard managed to make a crash landing in the water about 40 miles from Saipan after two of the crew used their parachutes to evacuate the plane. Some of our people who observed the attack, reported that the fighters strafed the crewmen in their parachutes. After Captain Stoddard made a successful water landing, they strafed the wreckage and men in the water.
At the time we believed that none of these men survived although a 'Dumbo' [PBY Catalina] rescue plane and a 'Lifeguard' submarine were in the vicinity. It may be that their rescue was prevented by the Japanese fighter planes and/or surface ships in the area because we learned much later that four of the men survived to be captured by the Japanese and returned to Saipan. From Saipan they were apparently shipped back to Japan as Prisoners of War but I have no knowledge of whether or not any of them survived the war."

Afterwards, there was no search effort for this bomber or the crew.

Fates of the Crew
The following crew remained with the B-24 during the ditching: Stoddard, Hryskanich, Peschau and Manierre and survived in a raft for four days and drifted towards Saipan. On June 2, 1944 the surviving crew were picked up by a Japanese patrol and became Prisoners Of War (POW) and were questioned over the next four days. On June 6, 1944 the four were flown to Japan and interned at Ofuna Camp.

Peschau, who was seriously wounded did not receive any medical care and died on June 8 (AMBC states July 8) and was cremated and buried at a Buddhist temple at Ofuna, approximately 1/8 mile from the POW camp on June 10 and his ashes placed in a box buried 14' in the ground and marked with a cross, on a trail northwest of the temple.

The other three crew were held at Ofuna Camp near Yokohama. On March 1, Hryskanich and Manierre were taken to Omori POW Camp near Tokyo. On April 5, 1945 Stoddard was taken to Omori, and was liberated on August 29. Hryskanich was liberated on September 5.

Postwar, Peschau was officially declared dead on June 8, 1944. Postwar, his remains were exhumed and he was transported to the Philippines for permanent burial at Manila American Cemetery at plot N row 16 grave 76.

Burke, Ketner and Welch remain listed as Missing In Action (MIA). All were declared dead the day of the mission and are memorialized at National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific (Punchbowl) on the Court of the Missing. Welch and Ketner on court 5. Nedeau, Bellammy, Burke and Hall on court 7.

Ketner also has a memorial marker at Pine Hill Cemetery in Burlington, NC at section P, lot 2.

Stoddard enlisted in the U.S. Army Air Corps and became a pilot assigned to the 19th Transport Squadron at Hickam Field on December 7, 1941 he earned the Silver Star for heroism. Afterwards, he served in transport units for two years before transferring to a B-24 squadron and was lost on his 13th combat mission. Postwar, he served in the U.S. Air Force (USAF) in the Korean War and Vietnam and retired as a Lt. Col. He passed away on May 10, 2008 and is buried at Larkin Sunset Lawn Cemetery in Salt Lake City, UT at sunrise 22-B-3.

Hryskanich remained in the U.S. Air Force (USAF) and retired as a Lt. Colonel in 1965, then was employed by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. He passed away on December 29, 2013. He is buried at Woodlawn National Cemetery.

USAF Serial Number Search Results - B-24J-50-CO Liberator 42-73499
"73499 (11th BG) lost May 29, 1944. MACR 5447"
Missing Air Crew Report 5447 (MACR 5447) created May 30, 1944
NARA World War II Prisoners of War Data File - Loren A Stoddard
NARA World War II Prisoners of War Data File - Peter Hryskanich
NARA World War II Prisoners of War Data File - Ernest Ferdinan Peschau, Jr.
NARA World War II Prisoners of War Data File - Lincoln S. Manierre
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - Leo F. Welch Jr.
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - Raymond E. Nedean
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - Russell H. Ketner
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - Preston B. Bellamy
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - Martin K. Burke
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - Hulbert Q. Hall Jr.
FindAGrave - Loren Arthur Stoddard (obituary, silver star citation, grave photos)
FindAGrave - LTC Peter Hryskanich (photo, obituary)
FindAGrave - LTC Peter Hryskanich (photo, grave photo)
FindAGrave - 1Lt Leo Francis Welch, Jr (photo, court of the missing photo)
FindAGrave - 1LT Ernest Ferdinand Peschau, Jr (photo, grave photo)
FindAGrave - SSGT Russell H Ketner (courts of the missing photo)
FindAGrave - Sgt Russell Huffman Ketner (memorial marker photo)
FindAGrave - SSGT Preston Bridges Bellamy (memorial marker photo)
FindAGrave - TSgt Martin K Burke (memorial marker photo)
FindAGrave - SSgt Hulbert Q Hall, Jr (memorial marker photo)

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Last Updated
March 30, 2023


Tech Info

6 Missing
4 Prisoners
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