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  B-24L-15-FO Liberator Serial Number 44-49840  
USAAF
13th AF
5th BG
23rd BS

Pilot  1st Lt. William L. Rau, Jr., O-434535 (KIA, BR) Cuyahoga County, OH
Co-Pilot  2nd Lt. Frank A. Hoeksema, O-771407 (KIA, BR) Cook County, IL
Navigator  2nd Lt. Harry G. Stark, O-811996 (KIA, BR) Jamaica, NY
Bombardier  1st Lt. Thomas R. Nuttall, O-772876 (KIA, BR) Salt Lake City, UT
Engineer  TSgt John J. Regan, 31268704 (KIA, BR) Manchester, NH
Asst. Engineer  SSgt Barton M. Whitaker, Jr., 33645030 (KIA, BR) Middleboro, KY
Radio  TSgt Nick Jurich, 17054824 (KIA, BR) Rock Springs, WY
Asst. Radio  SSgt Armonda J. Segneris, 33598841 (KIA, BR) Royersford, PA
Gunner  SSgt Nicholas Seifert, Jr., 36597717 (KIA, BR) Detroit, MI
Radar  TSgt Marvin E. Whitmore, 37352210 (KIA, BR) Colorado Springs, CO
Crashed  March 12, 1945
MACR  13310

Aircraft History
Built by Ford at Willow Run, Michigan. Constructors Number 4695. Delivered to the U. S. Army Air Force (USAAF) as B-24L-15-FO Liberator serial number 44-49840. This bomber had a natural aluminum finish. Ferried across the Pacific via Hickam Field to the South Pacific.

Wartime History
Assigned to the 13th Air Force, 5th Bombardment Group, 23rd Bombardment Squadron. No known nickname or nose art. When lost, engines R1830-43 serial numbers CP-319572, CP-321721, CP-321775 and CP-321886. Aboard were eight .50 caliber machine guns, weapon serial numbers not listed in Missing Air Crew Report 13310 (MACR 13310).

Mission History
On March 12, 1945 took off from Guiuan Airfield on Samar Island at 6:58am piloted by 1st Lt. Wallace R. Montgomery armed with fifteen 300 pound bombs with instantaneous fuses. This bomber was one of six B-24s on a bombing mission led by 1st Lt. Robert B. McCutcheon against Abteleil Plantation near Sarangani Bay on southern Mindanao Island. After take off, one of the other B-24s aborted the mission due to a leak in the fuel tank.

Weather was .10 cumulus alto stratus clouds at 8,000' with visibility of zero. Inbound to the target, the formation became separated due to extremely adverse weather condition. This bomber disappeared from sight after the formation passed through a cloud. Last seen by 2nd Lt. Olan R Jones, O-714930.

Statement by pilot 2nd Lt. Olan R Jones via MACR 13310 page 12
"I was the pilot of airplane #822 on the bombing mission 12 March 1945, against the Abteleil Plantation, Mindanao Island, Philippine Islands. After take off, I made visual contact with Lt. Rau in airplane #840 [this aircraft] and joined him in formation on his left wing. We remained on Lt. Rau's wing until we approached the remainder of the planes which were scattered about in a loose formation. At this time we speeded up to join the squadron leader leaving Lt. Rau behind. The approximate time was 0820I at the position was 07-30N, 124-45E. At this time we entered a cloud remaining on instruments for three (3) to four (4) minutes. Approximately ten (10) minutes after emerging from the cloud, I went back to the waist windows and was unable to see any planes in the rear from either waist window or the tail turret. I made no further contact with Lt. Rau in airplane #840 and never saw his airplane again."

When this aircraft failed to return it was officially declared Missing In Action (MIA). Also lost was B-24L "Maiden Montana" 44-41549 (MIA).

Search
When this aircraft was declared missing, the officer in charge of the search was Captain Kenneth G. Adams, O-696305. On March 14, 1945 two B-24 from the squadron searched for the missing bomber for three hours without result. On March 15, 1945 a single B-24 from the squadron searched for three hours without results.

Wreckage
On April 19, 1945 this bomber crashed into Mount Kitanglad at the source of Atugan Canyon approximately 700' from the peak.

Recovery of Remains
On April 19, 1945 the remains of seven of the crew were buried at the crash site. The two gunners were both identified: SSgt Nicholas Seifert, Jr. and SSgt Armonda J. Segneris. Postwar, the crew were transported to the United States for permenant burial.

Memorials
The entire crew was officially declared dead the day of the mission. Two of the crew were specifically identified and buried individually: Nuttal and Whitmore.

Nuttal has a memorial marker at Memory Grove Memorial in Salt Lake City, UT. After his remains were recovered, Nuttall was buried on July 11, 1949 at Salt Lake City Cemetery in Salt Lake City, UT.

Whitmore is buried at Evergreen Cemetery in Colorado Springs, CO.

Eight of the crew including Hoeksema, Jurich, Rau, Regan, Segneris, Seifert, Stark and Whitaker were buried in a group burial at Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery at section 82, site 3.

References
NARA World War II Army Enlistment Records - William L. Rau, Jr.
NARA World War II Army Enlistment Records - Frank A. Hoeksema
NARA World War II Army Enlistment Records - John J. Regan
NARA World War II Army Enlistment Records - Barton M. Whitaker, Jr.

NARA World War II Army Enlistment Records - Nicholas Seifert, Jr.
NARA World War II Army Enlistment Records - Marvin E. Whitmore
USAF Serial Number Search Results - B-24L Liberator 44-49840
"49840 (5th BG) lost Mar 12, 1945. MACR 13310"
Individual Aircraft Record Card (IARC) - B-24D Liberator 44-49840
Missing Air Crew Report 13310 (MACR 13310) created March 14, 1945
FindAGrave - 1LT William L Rau, Jr (group burial photo)
FindAGrave - 2LT Frank A Hoeksema (group burial photo)
FindAGrave - 1LT Harry G Stark (group burial photo)
FindAGrave - 1LT Thomas Ray Nuttall (obituary, grave photo)
FindAGrave - Lt Thomas R Nuttall (memorial marker photo)
FindAGrave - TSGT John J Regan (group burial photo)
FindAGrave - SSGT Barton M Whitaker, Jr (group burial photo)
FindAGrave - TSGT Marvin E. Whitmore (group burial photo)
FindAGrave - TSGT Nick Jurich (group burial photo)
FindAGrave - SSGT Armonda J Segneris (group burial photo)
FindAGrave - SSGT Nicholas Seifert, Jr (group burial photo)

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Last Updated
September 20, 2018

 

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B-24

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