|Pilot F/O William A. Snyder, T-120194 / 2267924 (MIA / KIA) Clark County, OH
Co-Pilot 2nd Lt Donald E. Simons, O-797194 (MIA / KIA) Cavalier County, ND
Bombardier/Navigator 1st Lt Jose M. Rodriguez, O-731179 (MIA / KIA) Val Verde County, TX
Engineer/Gunner SSgt Robert P. Rietze, 39827023 (MIA / KIA) IA
Radio Operator Sgt Phillip N. Boileau, 16013461 (MIA / KIA) Kalamazoo County, MI
Gunner S/Sgt Joe R. Coleson, 18018834 (MIA / KIA) Smith County, Texas
MIA January 22, 1944
Built by North American in Inglewood, California. Delivered to the U. S. Army Air Force (USAAF) as .B-25D-20 Mitchell serial number 41-30658. Ferried overseas via Hickam Field to the South Pacific. This aircraft was converted to a B-25D-1 strafer.
Assigned to the 13th Air Force, 42nd Bombardment Group, 75th Bombardment Squadron. No known nickname or nose art. When lost, engines: R-2600-13 serial numbers a) 42-77267 and b) 42-76947. Aboard were twelve .50 caliber M2 machine guns and two .30 caliber machine guns. Weapon serial numbers not noted in Missing Air Crew Report 1801 (MACR 1801).
On January 22, 1944 took off from Stirling Airfield piloted by F/O William A. Snyder on a bombing mission against Lakunai Airfield near Rabaul. The weather was reported as good and the formation was escorted by P-38 Lightnings and F6F Hellcats plus Royal New Zealand Air Force (RNZAF) P-40s.
Over the target during the bomb run, this B-25 sustained a direct hit from anti-aircraft fire and immediately caught fire and crashed. Possibly, two of the crew attempted to bail out but their parachutes did not open. When this aircraft failed to return, it was officially listed as Missing In Action (MIA).
Afterwards, Captain Ralph B. Rogers led four bombers to search for this missing plane without results.
The entire crew was officially declared dead on January 17, 1946. The entire crew earned the Purple Heart, posthumously. All are memorialized at Manila American Cemetery on the tablets of the missing.
Snyder also has a memorial marker at Ferncliff Cemetery in Springfield, OH.
Simons also has a memorial marker at Cavalier Cemetery in Cavalier, ND.
Coleson also has a memorial marker at Old Palestine Cemetery in Alto, TX.
USAF Serial Number Search Results - B-25D-20 Mitchell 41-30658
"30658 (42nd BG) lost Jan 22, 1944. MACR 1801"
Missing Air Crew Report 1801 (MACR 1801) notes mission as "bomb Rabaul City [sic]"
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC)
- William A. Snyder
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - Donald E. Simons
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - Jose M. Rodriguez
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - Robert P. Rietze
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - Phillip N. Boileau
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - Joe R. Coleson
2Lt William A Snyder (tablets of the missing photo)
FindAGrave - Lieut William Allen Snyder (memorial marker photo)
FindAGrave - 2Lt Donald E Simons (tablets of the missing photo)
FindAGrave - 2LT Donald E Simons (memorial marker photo)
FindAGrave - 1Lt Jose Margarito Rodriguez (tablets of the missing photo)
FindAGrave - SSgt Robert P Rietze (photo, tablets of the missing photo)
FindAGrave - Sgt Phillip N Boileau (tablets of the missing photo)
FindAGrave - SSgt Joe R Coleson (tablets of the missing photo)
FindAGrave - Joe Riley Coleson (memorial marker photo)
Air To Air The Story Behind the air-to-air combat claims of the RNZAF pages 270-274 (January 22, 1944 mission)
Page 270) "As the B-25s made their run in to the target, the [RNZAF 15 Squadron] P-40s stayed out to the side and a little below the bombers until they had released their bombs. The weather over the target was good with only a little bit of cloud over the western end of the strip [Lakunai Airfield]. Immediately after the leading bombers had released their load at around 2:30pm, S/L J. A. A. Gibson, who was leading the first section observed a B-25 [this aircraft] to his left take a direct hit from heavy anti-aircraft fire. The bomber exploded in a sheet of flame and went down burning. As the stricken aircraft fell, he observed what appeared to be two of the crew exit the machine but did not observe any parachutes open."
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May 18, 2018