|Pilot 1st Lt Bernard L. Foley, O-677699 (MIA / KIA) Lexington, KY
Co-Pilot 2nd Lt Wade Westfall, O-747932 (MIA / KIA) Portland, OR
Bombardier 2nd Lt Richard A. Hochadel, O-681887 (MIA / KIA) Albien, PA
Engineer S/Sgt William T. Branstad, 37424438 (MIA / KIA) Leland, IA
Radio T/Sgt Orville H. Diedrichs, 20919827 (MIA / KIA) Glendale, CA
Gunner S/Sgt Leon Monteith, 33325829 (MIA / KIA) Delaware County, PA
Photographer S/Sgt James J. Beattie, 31191049 (MIA / KIA) Bristol, CT
Crashed March 29, 1944
Built by North American. Delivered to the U. S. Army Air Force (USAAF) as B-25D-5 Mitchell serial number 41-30040. Ferried overseas via Hickam Field then across the Pacific to Australia.
Assigned to 5th Air Force, 345th Bombardment Group, 498th Bombardment Squadron during March 1944. Assigned to pilot Captain Earl J. Hitt with crew chief Radke. Nicknamed "Hitt and Miss" on both sides of the nose with the nose art of a nude female wearing high heels atop an aerial bomb. A scoreboard with yellow bombing markings indicated missions flown.
During early August 1943, converted to a B-25D-1 strafer by the 4th Air Depot at Garbutt Field near Townsville then returned to the 501st Bombardment Squadron at Port Moresby. Afterwards, the Air Apache falcon motif was painted over the nose and the forward portion of the nickname.
On November 27, 1943 took off piloted by Captain Bruce Marston (500th BS, Assistant Operations Officer) armed with parafrag bombs on a low level strafing mission against Boram Airfield near Wewak attacking anti-aircraft guns to the south.
On December 22, 1943 took off piloted by Lt. Ralph Robinette armed with 300 pound bombs on a low level strafing mission over Wewak. Over the target the formation bombed ships in Wewak Harbor. This B-25 was hit by anti-aircraft fire damaging a cylinder left engine and causing an engine leak but returned safely.
When lost, engines R-2600-13 serial numbers left 41-30697 and right 42-273136. Weapon serial numbers noted in Missing Air Crew Report 4110 (MACR 4110).
On March 29, 1944 took off from Nadzab Airfield No. 4 piloted by 1st Lt Bernard L. Foley on a medium altitude bombing mission against Dagua Airfield. Weather was scattered alto cumulus clouds at 6,000' with unlimited visibility.
During the bomb run, this B-25 was observed to leave the formation and was seen going down in the Dagua area and disappeared into a cloud, but it was not observed to have crashed. When it failed to return, the entire crew was declared Missing In Action (MIA) due to unknown circumstances.
The entire crew was officially declared dead on January 27, 1946. All are memorialized on the tablets of the missing at Manila American Cemetery.
Foley also has a memorial marker at Calvary Cemetery in Lexington, KY.
Branstad also has a memorial marker at Forest Home Cemetery in Leland, IA at plot: 44-4.
John G. Foley (brother Bernard L. Foley)
"Mt brother, 1st Lieutenant Bernard L. Foley, U.S.A.A.F., and his crew were reported missing in action March 29, 1944. His ID is #0-677699. Lt. Foley was on his 47th mission commanding a B-25. Among his commendations: Silver Star, Air Medal with oak leaf cluster, and the Purple Heart."
USAF Serial Number Search Results - B-25D-5 Mitchell 41-30040
"30040 (345th BG) lost Mar 29, 1944. MACR 4110"
Missing Air Crew Report 4110 (MACR 4110)
PNG Museum Aircraft Status Card - B-25C Mitchell 41-30040
Warpath Across The Pacific page 93, 99, 111 (map) 128, 148, 194 (color photo), 369, 381, 402 (photo), 411 (index Hitt and Miss), 435 (acknowledgments)
FindAGrave - William Ted Branstad (grave photo)
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - Bernard L. Foley
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - Wade Westfall
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - Richard A. Hochadel
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - William T. Branstad
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - Orville H. Diedrichs
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - Leon Monteith
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - James J. Beattie
FindAGrave - 1Lt Bernard L Foley (tablets of the missing)
FindAGrave - 1LT Bernard L Foley (memorial marker photo)
FindAGrave - 2Lt Wade Westfall (photo, tablets of the missing)
FindAGrave - 2Lt Richard A Hochadel (tablets of the missing photo)
FindAGrave - SSgt William Theodore Branstad (tablets of the missing photo)
FindAGrave - William Ted Branstad (memorial marker photo)
FindAGrave - TSgt Orville H Diedrichs (tablets of the missing)
FindAGrave - SSgt Leon Monteith (tablets of the missing photo)
FindAGrave - SSGT James J Beattie (tablets of the missing photo)
John G. Foley for additional information
Are you a relative or associated with any person mentioned?
Do you have photos or additional information to add?
February 14, 2020