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  B-24J-170-CO "Temptation" Serial Number 44-40617  
USAAF
7th AF
11th BG
98th BS

Pilot  1st Lt. John K. Lowe, O-764368 (MIA / KIA) Kittitas County, WA
Co-Pilot   2nd Lt. Francis Richard Dibblee, O-929144 (MIA / KIA) CA
Navigator  2nd Lt. Harold Lionel Vigue, O-20656 (rescued)
Bombardier  2nd Lt. Alexander Walter Hunt, O-783072 (MIA / KIA) CA
Engineer  Cpl Horace W. Pliler, Jr., 37527385 (MIA / KIA) KS
Radio  Cpl Zane G. Phillips, 34809000 (MIA / KIA) AL
Gunner  Cpl Robert F. Finnerty, 31167546 (MIA / KIA) CT
Gunner  Cpl Roy Rosario Scimeca, 16187532 (MIA / KIA) IL
Gunner  Cpl Raymond Edward De Roo, 36876616 (WIA, rescued)
Gunner  Cpl Darwin O. Nichols, 16188450 (MIA / KIA) IL
Photographer  Sgt Joseph A. Slevin, 16031304 7th AF Camera Unit (MIA / KIA) IL
Ditched  May 8, 1945
MACR  14398

Aircraft History
Built by Consolidated. Delivered to the U. S. Army Air Force (USAAF) as B-24J-170-CO Liberator serial number 44-40617. Ferried overseas via Hickam Field then across the Pacific.

Wartime History
Assigned to the 7th Air Force, 11th Bombardment Group, 98th Bombardment Squadron. Nicknamed "Temptation". When lost engines R-1830-65 serial numbers BP-455044, BP-426826, BP-456488 and BP-437225. Weapon serial numbers noted in MACR 14398.

Mission History
On May 8, 1945 took off from Harmon Field (Depot Field) on Guam piloted by 1st Lt. John K. Lowe on a bombing mission against Marcus Island. Over the target, damaged by anti-aircraft fire before the bomb run and returning ditched roughly 70 miles northeast of Saipan. When this aircraft failed to return it was officially declared Missing In Action (MIA).

Search
Air Sea Rescue was contacted and a PBY Catalina searched for this bomber unsuccessfully. Six B-24s searched for this bomber on May 9, 1945 flying a box formation during the search. On May 10, 1945 another search was made by a single B-24.

Fates of the Crew
Two of the crew survived and were rescued. De Roo returned to duty on May 27, 1945. Vigue was injured and returned to duty on July 14, 1945.

Memorials
The entire crew with the exception of survivors De Roo and Vigue were officially declared dead the day of the mission. The missing crew members are memorialized at National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific (Punchbowl) on the courts of the missing. Lowe on court 7.

Lowe earned the Distinguished Flying Cross (DFC), Air Medal with seven Oak Leaf Clusters and Purple Heart, posthumously.

Dibblee earned

Vigue earned

Hunt earned

Pliler earned

Phillips earned

Finnerty earned the Purple Heart, posthumously.

Scimeca earned the Air Medal and Purple Heart, posthumously.

De Roo earned

Nichols earned

Slevin earned

Relatives
Antonia De La Guerra (nephew of Dibblee)

References
USAF Serial Number Search Results - B-24J-170-CO Liberator 44-40617
"40617 (11th BG) lost May 8, 1945, central Pacific. MACR 14398"
Missing Air Crew Report 14398 (MACR 14398)
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - John K. Lowe
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - Francis R. Dibblee
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - Harold Lionel Vigue
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - Alexander Walter Hunt
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - Horace W. Pliler, Jr.
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - Zane G. Phillips
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - Robert F. Finnerty
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - Roy R. Scimeca
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - Raymond Edward De Roo
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - Darwin O. Nichols
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - Joseph A. Slevin
FindAGrave - 1Lt John K Lowe (courts of the missing photo)
FindAGrave - Francis R. Dibblee
FindAGrave - Harold Lionel Vigue
FindAGrave - Alexander Walter Hunt
FindAGrave - Horace W. Pliler, Jr.
FindAGrave - Zane G. Phillips
FindAGrave - Robert F. Finnerty
FindAGrave - Roy R. Scimeca
FindAGrave - Raymond Edward De Roo
FindAGrave - Darwin O. Nichols
FindAGrave - Joseph A. Slevin

Contribute Information
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Do you have photos or additional information to add?

Last Updated
July 12, 2020

 

Tech Information
B-24

MIA
MIA
9 Missing

Map
Aprox
16 18' N
146 E
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