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  B-24J-150-CO Liberator Serial Number 44-40188 Number 188
5th AF
90th BG
400th BS

Pilot  1st Lt. William J. Maxwell, O-802596 (KIA, BR) Wheeling, WV
Co-Pilot  2nd Lt. Nicholas Covell (KIA, BR) San Luis Obispo County, CA
Crew  2nd Lt. Kent L. Christensen (KIA, BR) Brigham City, UT
Crew  1st Lt. Kenneth R. Buck, 15096602 (KIA, BR) Summit County, OH
Crew  TSgt Ernest C. Smith (KIA, BR) IN
Crew  SSgt Edward A. Kiaune, 36356833 (KIA, BR) Cook County, IL
Crew  TSgt Daniel W. Rahl, 32138894 (KIA, BR) Chemung County, NY
Crew  Melone (survived)
Crew  SSgt Vincent F. Sardisco (survived)
Crew  SSgt Louis D. Nuzzi (survived) Nassau County, NY
Crew  SSgt Eugene T. Shannon (survived)

Crashed  June 11, 1944
MACR  none

Aircraft History
Built by Consolidated. Constructors Number 4124. Delivered to the U. S. Army Air Force (USAAF) as B-24J-150-CO Liberator serial number 44-40188. Ferried overseas via Hickam Field then across the Pacific to Australia.

Wartime History
Assigned to the 90th Bombardment Group, 400th Bombardment Squadron. No known nickname or nose art. Nose Number 188 (last three digits of the serial number). Prior to the mission, this B-24 staged from Nadzab Airfield to Hollandia Airfield.

Mission History
On June 11, 1944 in the morning took off from Hollandia Airfield piloted by 1st Lt. William J. Maxwell on a flight to Wakde Airfield to re-arm and re-fuel with a maximum load of ammunition of 400 rounds per gun with a bomb load 180 x 30 pound fragmentation bombs and a full load of 3,100 gallons of fuel.

Afterwards, took off from Wakde Airfield on a bombing mission against Peleliu Airfield on Peleliu. A total of twenty-two B-24s took off and the formation included four 319th Bombardment Squadron B-24 and seven 400th Bombardment Squadron B-24s.

About fifty miles from the target, the formation was intercepted by an estimated forty enemy fighters that dropped aerial bombs and making attacks before and during the bomb run, along with accurate anti-aircraft fire.

Returning from the mission, this B-24 followed another B-24 piloted by Ryan with seriously wounded aboard and landed at Wakde Airfield. Taking aboard the wounded, took off again bound for Hollandia Airfield at night. While approaching the runway, this B-24 crashed into the jungle prior to landing, crashed and caught fire. Four of the crew from the waist were thrown clear during the crash unconscious and survived. The rest of the crew perished in the crash.

Recovery of Remains
After the crash, the remains of the dead crew members were recovered and buried in Hollandia until the end of the Pacific War. Afterwards, each was transported to Manila and the United States for permanent burial.

The crew members killed in the crash were officially declared dead the day of the mission.

Maxwell earned the Distinguished Flying Cross (DFC), Air Medal with Oak Leaf Cluster and Purple Heart, posthumously. He is buried at Manila American Cemetery at plot F row 6 grave 47.

Covell earned the Purple Heart, posthumously. On June 29, 1948 he was buried at Golden Gate National Cemetery at section J site 626.

Christensen earned the Purple Heart, posthumously. He is buried at Brigham City Cemetery in Brigham City, UT at B-18-42-7.

Buck earned the Purple Heart, posthumously. He has an unknown burial, presumably in the United States.

Smith earned the Purple Heart, posthumously.

Kiaune earned the Purple Heart, posthumously. He is buried at Saint Casimir Catholic Cemetery in Chicago, IL at Sect 21 Lot 285 Gr 2S.

Rahl earned the Air Medal with three Oak Leaf Clusters and Purple Heart, posthumously. He is buried at Manila American Cemetery at plot D row 3 grave 107.

Nuzzi passed away February 4, 2002. He is buried at Florida National Cemetery in Bushnell, FL.

Shannon passed away November 3, 1999. He is buried at Estates of Serenity in Marion, IN at B L254 G5/6.

David Wride (nephew of Covell)

Note, this B-24s serial number is presumed to be 44-40188
NARA World War II Army Enlistment Records - Nicholas Covell

NARA World War II Army Enlistment Records - Kenneth R. Buck

NARA World War II Army Enlistment Records - Edward A. Kiaune
NARA World War II Army Enlistment Records - Daniel W. Rahl
NARA World War II Army Enlistment Records - Louis D. Nuzzi
NARA World War II Army Enlistment Records - Eugene T. Shannon

USAF Serial Number Search Results - B-24J-150-CO Liberator 44-40188
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - William J Maxwell
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - Daniel W. Rahl
FindAGrave - 1Lt William J Maxwell (tablets of the missing)
FindAGrave - Nicholas Covell (grave photo)
FindAGrave - 2LT Kent Lamar Christensen (grave photo)
FindAGrave - 1LT Kenneth R Buck
FindAGrave - Ernest Curtis Smith (grave photo)
FindAGrave - Edward A Kiaune
FindAGrave - TSgt Daniel W Rahl (grave photo)
FindAGrave - Louis D Nuzzi (grave photo)
FindAGrave - Eugene Tedder Shannon (grave photo)
Legacy of the 90th Bombardment Group, page 120-121

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Last Updated
August 10, 2019


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