|Pilot 2nd Lt. Louis R. Verzi, O-815790 (MIA / KIA) Palisade, NJ
Co-Pilot 2nd Lt. John H. Hejl, O-811075 (MIA / KIA) Temple, TX
Bombardier F/O James E. Zeitler, T-001959 (MIA / KIA) PA
Radio Cpl Anthony G. Fiscarelli, 33799044 (MIA / KIA) Knedville, PA
Gunner Cpl Ercell Rankin, 18215606 (MIA / KIA) Philadelphia, PA
Armorer/Gunner Cpl John A. Slagle, 12219873 (MIA / KIA) Port Chester, NY
MIA February 26, 1945
Built by North American. Delivered to the U. S. Army. Ferried overseas via Hawaii to the South Pacific.
Assigned to the 42nd Bombardment Group, 390th Bombardment Squadron. Nicknamed "Nancy Jean", with the nose art of a girl wearing cowboy hat and boots leaning on a fence. Engines were Wright R-2600-29 serial numbers 42-147613 and 42-148082, with 15 50 caliber machine guns installed.
On February 26, 1945 took off from Pitu Airfield on Morotai Island on a bombing and strafing mission against Jolo Island Group. Weather was story with visibility of 0-500' inside storms, or 20-25 miles outside clouds. At 9:08, the formation entered clouds and visibility between aircraft became nearly nil. When the formation exited clouds, this B-25 was gone.
Last seen by a crew member aboard another B-25 approximately 8 miles south of Sangihe Island, south of Davao Gulf.
The same day as the loss, a search by B-25s of the squadron was conducted by two B-25s of the 75th BS and six PBY Catalinas from the 2nd Air Sea Rescue Squadrons, with negative results. On the same day, twenty-four B-24s of the 307th BG also searched while in the vicinity, but found nothing. The next day, six 390th BS B-25s searched in pairs in three different areas with nil results. By March 6, all organized searched for this B-25 were abandoned.
The entire crew was declared dead on February 26, 1945. Memorialized on the tablets of the missing at Manila American Cemetery.
William Verzi (brother of Verzi)
Missing Air Crew Report (MACR) 12774
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - Louis R. Verzi
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - John H. Hejl
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - James E. Zeitler
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - Anthony G. Fiscarelli
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - Ercell Rankin
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - John A. Slagle
St. Petersburg Times"A Brother's long quest" February 26, 2008
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February 14, 2020