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  B-24J-170-CO Liberator Serial Number 44-40555  
13th AF
307th BG
372nd BS

Pilot  1st Lt. Ulna H. Sylor, O-803306 (MIA / KIA) Dansville, NY
Co-Pilot  2nd Lt. Sam Camp Jr., O-696746 (MIA / KIA) Decatur, IL
Navigator  1st Lt. Joseph S. Principe, O-689581 (MIA / KIA) Long Island City, NY
Bombardier  1st Lt Walter C. Rowan, O-673904 (MIA / KIA) Hansel Park, MI
Engineer  T/Sgt Michael G. Vetrecin, Jr., 15320307 (MIA / KIA) Youngstown, OH
Asst. Engineer  S/Sgt Ruben O. Miller, 15323660 (MIA / KIA) Canton, OH
Radio  T/Sgt Francis R. Keefe, 11116730 (MIA / KIA) Auburndale, MA
Asst Radio  S/Sgt William W. Waters, Jr., 18168122 (MIA / KIA) Pine Bluff, AR
Gunner  S/Sgt James M. Hitchcock, 39256020 (MIA / KIA) Pomona, CA
Gunner  S/Sgt Clarence W. Dickerson, 35442185 (MIA / KIA) Oak Hill, WV
Observer  F/O Charles J. Harder, T-124507 (MIA / KIA) Milwaukee, WI

Crashed  July 15, 1944 at 12:20pm
MACR  6923

Aircraft History
Built by Consolidated at San Diego. Delivered to the U. S. Army Air Force (USAAF) as B-24J-170-CO Liberator serial number 44-40555 with natural aluminum finish. Ferried overseas via Hickam Field to then across the Pacific to the South Pacific (SOPAC).

Wartime History
Assigned to the 13th Air Force, 307th Bombardment Group, 372nd Bombardment Squadron. No known nose art or nickname. Known as "555", for the last three digits of the serial number. When lost, engines R-1830-65A serial numbers BP-440031, BP-439965, BP-439987 and BP-437737. Weapon serial numbers unknown.

Mission History
On July 15, 1944 took off from Mokerang Airfield on Los Negros Island on a bombing mission against Yap Island. The weather was a high overcast with alto stratus clouds at 15,000' and .2 low cumulus with tops at 3,000' and visibility of 1-2 miles.

Ten minutes before reaching the target, the formation was intercepted with a attacking Zero from 2 o'clock high. After the attack, B-24J 42-73119 was seen to fall off to the left and come down directly on top of this B-24. Both bombers burst into flames hanging together for several seconds before breaking up.

Both B-24s impacted the sea close together at roughly Lat 9° 8' N Long 138° 17' E roughly 5-8 miles south of Yap Island. The impact and crash were observed by several crew members aboard several other bombers in the formation. When both bomber failed to return, their crews were officially declared Missing In Action (MIA).

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

USAF Serial Number Search Results - B-24J 44-40555
"40555 (307th BG) collided with 42-73119 over Yap atoll Jul 15, 1944. MACR 6923 and 6924"
Missing Air Crew Report 6923 (MACR 6923) created July 17, 1944
American Battle Monuments Commission - Ulna H. Sylor

American Battle Monuments Commission - Sam Camp Jr.
American Battle Monuments Commission - Joseph S. Principe

American Battle Monuments Commission - Walter C. Rowan
American Battle Monuments Commission - Michael G. Vetrecin Jr.
American Battle Monuments Commission - Ruben O. Miller
American Battle Monuments Commission - Francis R. Keefe
American Battle Monuments Commission - William W. Waters, Jr.
American Battle Monuments Commission - James M. Hitchcock
American Battle Monuments Commission - Clarence W. Dickerson
American Battle Monuments Commission - Charles J. Harder
FindAGrave - 1Lt Ulna H Sylor (photo, tablets of the missing)
FindAGrave - 2Lt Samuel Arthur Camp, Jr (tablets of the missing photo)
FindAGrave - 1Lt Joseph S Principe (tablets of the missing)
FindAGrave - 1Lt Walter C Rowan (tablets of the missing)
FindAGrave - TSgt Michael G Vetrecin, Jr (tablets of the missing)
FindAGrave - TSgt Francis R Keefe (tablets of the missing)
FindAGrave - SSgt William W Waters, Jr (tablets of the missing)
FindAGrave - SSgt James M Hitchcock (tablets of the missing)
FindAGrave - SSgt Clarence W Dickerson (tablets of the missing)
FindAGrave - FltOff Charles J Harder (tablets of the missing)
Missing Air Crew - Yap Island Mission Loss—15 July 1944

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Last Updated
August 10, 2019


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