|Pilot F/O Leslie D. Gilliland, T-186547 (MIA / KIA, BR) KS
Co-Pilot F/O Marion O. Stephens, T-375 (MIA / KIA, BR) MS
Bombardier 2/Lt Andrew V. Bobal, O-672553 (MIA / KIA, BR) NJ
Engineer Sgt James A. Goldsmith, 6975694 (MIA / KIA, BR) NY
Radio Operator S/Sgt Benton Freeman, 16004461 (MIA / KIA, BR) IL
Gunner Sgt Charles D. Dintaman, 680538 (MIA / KIA, BR) DC
MIA January 28, 1944
Built by North American. Constructors Number 94-12881. Delivered to the U. S. Army Air Force (USAAF) as B-25C-10 Mitchell serial number 42-32291. Ferried overseas via Hickam Field to the South Pacific.
Assigned to the 13th Air Force, 42nd Bombardment Group, 70th Bombardment Squadron. No known nickname or nose art.
On January 28, 1944 took off from Stirling Field piloted by F/O Leslie D. Gilliland on a bombing and strafing mission against Tobera Airfield near Rabaul. When it failed to return it was officially listed as Missing In Action (MIA).
According to F/O Arthur A. LaFortune, Jr, who was also engaged on the mission:
"Just as we were passing over the runway I looked over to the left and saw F/O Gilliland's ship as it was about 100 ft. above the trees with the left wing pointed to the ground. The nose dropped immediately and he made about 1 1/4 turns very fast, before he was out of sight in the trees and a moment later struck the ground. I saw no smoke or indication that the ship was on fire. It was still in one piece. Believed that the pilot was hit with M/G fire or his cables shot away causing the ship to go out of control."
The entire crew was officially declared dead on the day of the mission. After the recovery of remains, the entire crew was transported to the United States for permanent burial. The entire crew is buried in a group burial at Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery at section 81 sites 387-388.
Gilliland also has a memorial marker at Princeton Cemetery in Princeton, KS.
USAF Serial Number Search Results - B-25C-10 Mitchell 42-32291
Missing Aircrew Report 2086 (MACR 2086)
Washington, DC, Times Herald "Pacific B-25 Casualty Army Finds, Identifies D. C. Gunner Lost in '44" Oct 1958
Leslie D Gilliland (grave photo)
FindAGrave - Leslie D Gilliland (memorial marker)
FindAGrave - Marion O Stephens (grave photo)
FindAGrave - Andrew V Bobal (grave photo)
FindAGrave - James A Goldsmith (grave photo)
FindAGrave - Benton Freeman (grave photo)
FindAGrave - Charles Dana Dintaman (photo, obituary grave photo)
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February 14, 2020