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  B-24J-165-CO Liberator Serial Number 44-40529  
13th AF
5th BG
394th BS

Tech Information
USAAF c1944

Pilot  1st Lt. Edgar H. Wittmann, O-636846 (MIA / KIA) Lamar, IN
Co-Pilot  2nd Lt. Everett W. Smith, O-761196 (MIA / KIA) Kendall, NY
Navigator  2nd Lt Howard W. McGill, O-706543 (MIA / KIA) Centerville, TN
Bombardier  2nd Lt Alvan E. Shirk, O-765851 (MIA / KIA) Paradise, PA
Engineer  TSgt John W. Stroud, Jr., 34608238 (MIA / KIA) Black Mountain, NC
Asst. Engineer  SSgt Clyde M. Ross, 36833896 (MIA / KIA) Balgit, WI
Radio  TSgt Marcus O. Lightfoot, 6299934 (MIA / KIA) Miles, TX
Asst Radio  SSgt Richard V. Buchignani, 39126636 (MIA / KIA) Healdsburg, CA
Gunner  SSgt Frank D. Buthman, 37535489 (MIA / KIA) Martin City, MO
Photographer  SSgt Harry A. Gracyalny, 36297305 (MIA / KIA) Milwaukee, WI
MIA  September 30, 1944
MACR  9456

Aircraft History
Built by Consolidated at San Diego. Delivered to the U. S. Army Air Force (USAAF) as B-24J-165-CO Liberator serial number 44-40529 with natural aluminum finish. Ferried overseas via Hickam Field to the South Pacific.

Wartime History
Assigned to the 13th Air Force, 5th Bombardment Group, 394th Bombardment Squadron. No known nose art or nickname. Known as "529", for the last three digits of the serial number. When lost, engines R-1830-65A serial numbers BP-439954, BP-440182, BP-439918 and BP-439889. Armed with ten .50 caliber machine guns, serial numbers not listed in Missing Air Crew Report 9456 (MACR 9456).

Mission History
On September 30, 1944 took off from Kornasoren Airfield on Noemfoor Island piloted by 1st Lt. Edgar H. Wittmann on a bombing mission against Balikpapan on Borneo. The weather was clear with unrestricted visibility.

Over the target, this B-24 was hit by anti-aircraft fire and attacked by A6M Zeros that disabled the no. 2 engine and both the left and right tail rudders. The last radio message from this bomber at 1:30pm with the location Lat 0° N Long 134° over the Molucca Sea. When both bomber failed to return, their crews were officially declared Missing In Action (MIA).

Captain Robert A. Hannagan statement in MACR page 4:
"At 1000 on the 30th September 1944, after leaving the target area, Balikapapan, Borneo, I first saw airplane #44-40529 [this aircraft]. When I first sighted the airplane it had the #2 engine out with propeller jammed, large hole in right rudder one and one half feet in diameter, six inch hole in left rudder and flack holes in bomb bay. He was traveling at about 140mph and losing altitude. He was at about 6,000 feet when I reached him and I went over to cover him from Zero fire. There were no Zeros making passes at him, but there were still a few around. The crew of the airplane (529) were not throwing extra equipment over at this time, but at about 1015O they started throwing ammunition over. They lightened the plane were holding their altitude at 4,000 feet with a low airspeed of 135 to 140 mph. I then had them follow me as their ship was holding a steady heading. We had no VHF or Command Communication with them. We contacted them with the Aldis lamp but they were not returning any of our messages. The only message my radio operator received was that they had 800 gallons of gas left. Our gauges at this time read even less than that. I pulled in very close to them and they motioned me to go ahead from the co-pilots seat. They had about 15 degree flaps down and we couldn't use any because our hydraulic system had been shot out. I left their ship at 1255I at position 123 deg 30 min Long, 00 deg 04 min N Lat. They seemed to be alright when we left them and we felt sure they could get to Morotai. When we last sighted the airplane they were on a heading of 85 degrees at 5,000 feet doing 130 mph."


The entire crew was officially declared dead March 25, 1946. The entire crew earned the Purple Heart, posthumously. All are memorialized on the tablets of the missing at Manila American Cemetery.

McGill also has a memorial marker at Nashville National Cemetery and Little Lot Cemetery in Littlelot, TN.
Stroud also has a memorial marker at Stroud Family Cemetery Black Mountain, NC.
Ross also has a memorial marker at EastLawn Cemetery in Beloit, WI.
Lightfoot also has a memorial marker at Miles Cemetery in Miles, TX.

Whittmann earned the Air Medal with Oak Leaf Cluster.
Smith earned the Air Medal with Oak Leaf Cluster.
McGill earned the Air Medal with Oak Leaf Cluster.
Shirk earned the Air Medal with Oak Leaf Cluster.
Stroud earned the Air Medal with Oak Leaf Cluster.
Ross earned the Air Medal with Oak Leaf Cluster.
Lightfoot earned the Air Medal with Oak Leaf Cluster.
Buchignani earned the Air Medal with Oak Leaf Cluster.
Buthman earned the Air Medal with two Oak Leaf Clusters.

Martha Jayne Perrott
"I am the daughter of 1st Lt Edgar H Wittmann, reported MIA over the South Pacific on Sept 30 1944 during the raid over Borneo, Balikpapan. I am very interested in finding anything I can concerning my father. Thank you for all you do."

USAF Serial Number Search Results - B-24J 44-40529
"40529 (5th BG) lost over Borneo Oct 30, 1944. MACR 9456"
Missing Air Crew Report 9456 (MACR 9456) created October 3, 1944
American Battle Monuments Commission - Edgar H. Wittmann

American Battle Monuments Commission - Everett W. Smith
American Battle Monuments Commission - Howard W. McGill

American Battle Monuments Commission - Alvan E. Shirk
American Battle Monuments Commission - John W. Stroud, Jr.
American Battle Monuments Commission - Clyde M. Ross
American Battle Monuments Commission - Marcus O. Lightfoot
American Battle Monuments Commission - Richard V. Buchignani
American Battle Monuments Commission - Frank D. Buthman
American Battle Monuments Commission - Harry A. Gracyalny
FindAGrave - 1Lt Edgar H Wittmann (tablets of the missing photo)
FindAGrave - 2Lt Everett W Smith (tablets of the missing photo)
FindAGrave - 2Lt Howard W McGill (tablets of the missing photo)
FindAGrave - Howard W. McGill (memorial marker Nashville National Cemetery photo)
FindAGrave - Lt Howard W. McGill (memorial marker Little Lot Cemetery)
FindAGrave - 2Lt Alvan E Shirk (tablets of the missing photo)
FindAGrave - TSGT John Wesley Stroud, Jr (tablets of the missing photo)
FindAGrave - John W. Stroud, Jr (memorial marker)
FindAGrave - SSgt Clyde M Ross (tablets of the missing photo)
FindAGrave - Clyde M Ross (memorial marker Eastlawn Cemetery photo)
FindAGrave - SSGT Clyde M Ross (memorial marker Eastlawn Cemetery)
FindAGrave - TSgt Marcus Oral Lightfoot (photo, tablets of the missing)
FindAGrave - Sgt Marcus Oral Lightfoot, Jr (photos, memorial marker photo)
FindAGrave - SSGT Richard Victor Buchignani (photo, tablets of the missing photo)
FindAGrave - SSgt Frank D Buthman (tablets of the missing photo)
FindAGrave - SSgt Harry A Gracyalny (tablets of the missing photo)
Thanks to Martha Jayne Perrott for additional information

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Last Updated
September 20, 2018


Tech Information

Tech Information
Sept 30, 1944

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