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  B-24J-190-CO Liberator Serial Number 44-40962  
13th AF
5th BG
23rd BS

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5th BG, 23rd BS c1944
Pilot  1st Lt. Wyatt A. Norris, O-818200 (MIA / KIA) Teague, TX
Co-Pilot  2nd Lt. Grant N. Hansen, O-771708 (MIA / KIA) Vernal, UT
Navigator  2nd Lt. Carlos C. Page, O-1686421 (survived) Lockland, OH
Bombardier  2nd Lt. Frederick S. Zimmerli, O-769334 (MIA / KIA) Kansas City, KS
Engineer  SSgt Thomas J. Honsowitz, 36462124 (survived) Portland, MI
Asst. Engineer  Sgt Paul P. Makuchan, 13158592 (survived) Conemaugh, PA
Radio  SSgt Charles D. Crum, 33671194 (MIA / KIA) Uniontown, PA
Asst. Radio  Sgt Melton D. Patrick, 34629995 (MIA / KIA) Tiplersville, MS
Gunner  Sgt Edwin I. Mills, 39275741 (survived) Los Angeles, CA
Gunner  Sgt Albert T. Chapman Jr., 34828442 (MIA / KIA) Hampton, GA
Crashed  November 16, 1944
MACR  10844

Aircraft History
Built by Consolidated at San Diego. At the factory completed with an aluminum finish. Constructors Number 4898. Delivered to the U. S. Army Air Force (USAAF) as B-24J-190-CO Liberator serial number 44-40962. Ferried overseas via Hickam Field then across the Pacific to the South West Pacific Area (SPWA).

Wartime History
On July 7, 1944 assigned to the 13th Air Force, 5th Bombardment Group, 23rd Bombardment Squadron. No known nickname or nose art. Also known as "962" for the last three digits of the serial number. When lost, engines R-1830-43 serial numbers BP-440952, BP-441169, BP-440704 and BP-440965. Aboard were twelve .50 caliber machine guns serial numbers not listed in Missing Air Crew Report 10844 (MACR 10844).

Mission History
On November 16, 1944 took off from Pitu Airfield (APO 719) on Morotai Island piloted by 1st Lt. Wyatt A. Norris armed with five 1,000 pound bombs as one of six B-24s from the 23rd Bombardment Squadron on a mission against Japanese warships in Brunei Bay in northwest Borneo.

This B-24 was flying in the no. 6 position. The formation also included B-24s from the 31st BS, 72nd BS and 394th BS plus six B-24s from the 307th Bombardment Group escorted by P-38 Lightnings. The weather was .3 low cumulus inbound with unlimited visibility over the target with no winds.

Over the target at 11:00am at an altitude of 10,500' for roughly 12-14 minutes, the bombers were subjected to heavy anti-aircraft fire from gunners on the warships and land batteries with 2,000-5,000 bursts of fire observed by the formation of different colors: black, white, yellow, green, pink, red and blue.

This B-24 sustained damage in the no. 2 engine and no. 2 fuel cell causing fuel to leak but continued the bomb run with the 23nd Bombardment Squadron releasing on a battleship and observed a cruiser burning, believed to be from the other bombers. At 11:06am a single Zero made a pass over the formation coming in from high above and diving downward and was fired on by some of the tail gunners.

Ten minutes after bomb run, this B-24 reported by radio that it was damaged by anti-aircraft fire and was reduced to a speed of 130 mph. After crossing the eastern coast of northern Borneo, Norris reported a fuel leak and expect to only have three hours of flying time left. At 4:40pm, Norris radioed his coordinates and that he expected to bail out hoping to make Sangihe Island. Other B-24s in the formation contacted air-sea rescue "Daylight 23" but the message was not able to be transmitted and was instead relayed via "Bloomer Tower". Last seen at 4:40pm at approximately Lat 2° 45' N Long 125° 15' E. When this aircraft failed to return it was officially declared Missing In Action (MIA). Also lost was B-24J 44-40924 (MIA).

Fate of the Crew
The crew bailed out roughly 20 miles southwest of Siaoe Island in the Sangihe Islands. At least eight of the crew bailed including Page, Honsowitz, Makuchan and Mills. The identity and fate of the others is unknown, they either died, drowned at sea or otherwise went missing.

After landing in the sea, Page and Honsowitz were near each other and lash themselves together with Page's leather gun holster but neither had a life raft.

On November 17, 1944 after 23 hours at sea, Page and Honsowitz were rescued by a PBY Catalina off Talaud Island. After take off, roughly two miles away the same PBY Catalina spotted two more survivors in life rafts and rescued Makuchan and Mills.

The six missing crew members were officially declared dead the day of the mission. All six are memorialized at Manila American Cemetery on the tablets of the missing.

Norris earned the Distinguished Flying Cross (DFC), Air Medal and Purple Heart, posthumously.

Hansen earned the Air Medal and Purple Heart, posthumously. He also has a memorial marker at Memory Grove Memorial in Salt Lake City, UT.

Zimmerli earned the Air Medal and Purple Heart, posthumously.

Crum earned the Air Medal and Purple Heart, posthumously.

Patrick earned the Air Medal and Purple Heart, posthumously.

Chapman earned the Air Medal and Purple Heart, posthumously.

Honsowitz passed away February 2, 1978. He is buried at Portland Cemetery in Portland, MI.

Glen Schneider (great nephew of Charles D. Crum)
"I am the Great Nephew of Charles D. Crum. My family and I have been looking for any and all information we can gather on what may have happened or if there was any changes in the location of his remains if any were found. We do have some phots of my Great Uncle as well as a letter from one of the crew that were saved that was wrotten to my great Grandma after the plane went down. Thank you very mich for creating the page. I assume I am able to share this via facebook or anywhere correct? We are attempting to also locate and talk with any other family or crew that may still be living to get more of a story line to this as well. We greatly appreciate all the help you guys have been providing. Thank you again."

NARA World War II Army Enlistment Records - Grant N. Hansen

NARA World War II Army Enlistment Records - Thomas J. Honsowitz
NARA World War II Army Enlistment Records - Charles D. Crum
NARA World War II Army Enlistment Records - Melton Patrick
NARA World War II Army Enlistment Records - Albert T. Chapman

USAF Serial Number Search Results - B-24J-190-CO Liberator 44-40962
"40962 (5th BG) lost Nov 16, 1944, SW Pacific. MACR 10844"
Missing Air Crew Report 10844 (MACR 10844) created November 18, 1944
Vernal Express "Vernal Pilot Participates in Raids on Jap Oil Fields" January 4, 1945 page 1
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - Wyatt A. Norris
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - Grant N. Hansen

American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - Frederick S. Zimmerli

American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - Charles D. Crum
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - Melton D. Patrick
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - Albert T. Chapman
FindAGrave - 1Lt Wyatt A Norris (photo, tablets of the missing)
FindAGrave - 2Lt Grant N Hansen (photo, tablets of the missing)
FindAGrave - 2LT Grant N Hansen (photo, memorial marker photo)
FindAGrave - 2Lt Frederick S Zimmerli (photo, tablets of the missing photo)
FindAGrave - SSgt Charles D Crum (photos, tablets of the missing photo)
FindAGrave - Sgt Melton Dewey Patrick (photo, tablets of the missing)
FindAGrave - Melton D. Patrick (photo, memorial marker photo)
FindAGrave - Thomas J Honsowitz (photo, obituary, grave photo)

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Last Updated
February 24, 2020


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Nov 16, 1944

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