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  B-25H-1 Mitchell Serial Number 43-4129  
USAAF
5th AF
308th BW
418th NFS

Pilot  1st Lt. Gordon J. Schmeisser, O-728029 (MIA / KIA) WI
Radio-Observer  2nd Lt. Theodore E. Kara, O-869592 (MIA / KIA) OH
Gunner  Sgt Vernon A. Patterson, 38447259 (MIA / KIA) Little River County, AR
Radio  Sgt Isaac D. Leslie, 35260111 (MIA / KIA) OH
MIA  August 5, 1944
MACR  8784

Aircraft History
Built by North American in Inglewood, California. Delivered to the U. S. Army Air Force (USAAF) as B-25H-1 Mitchell serial number 43-4129. Ferried overseas to the South West Pacific Area (SWPA).

Wartime History
Assigned to the 5th Air Force (5th AF), 308th Bombardment Wing (308th BW), 418th Night Fighter Squadron (418th NFS). No known nickname or nose art. When lost, engines R-2600-13 serial numbers 43-2309 and 43-23741.

Between August 2, 1944 until August 4, 1944 this B-25 flew combat missions from Owi Airfield. On August 5, 1944 this B-25 was flown from Owi Airfield to Mokmer Drone on Biak in preparation for a night mission.

Mission History
On August 5, 1944 at 7:10pm took off from Mokmer Drone on Biak Island piloted by 1st Lt. Gordon J. Schmeisser on a night intruder mission scheduled to arrive over Laha at 10:00pm. Other sources list the mission as a reconnaissance from Biak and Ambon. After take off, there was no radio contact or sightings of this bomber. When this bomber failed to return it was officially listed as Missing In Action (MIA).

A second B-25 piloted by Lt. Harrington scheduled to take off afterwards aborted the mission due to bad weather over the target area and turned back 70 miles from the target and returned to base.

Search
The next morning, Air-Sea Rescue was notified about this missing B-25. On August 7, two Catalinas: Daylight 42 and 12 searched the area of the mission but reported nil findings. Afterwards, two or three Catalinas searched the following areas without results: McCluer Gulf, Ceram Sea, Seleman Bay and Geelvink Bay.

Memorials
The entire crew was officially declared on February 14, 1946. All are memorialized at Manila American Cemetery on the tablets of missing.

Schmeisser earned the Distinguished Flying Cross, Air Medal and Purple Heart, posthumously.

Kara earned the Air Medal and Purple Heart, posthumously.

Patterson earned the Air Medal and Purple Heart, posthumously. He also has a memorial marker at Oak Hill Cemetery in Little River County, AR. He also has a another memorial marker at Gravelly Cemetery Foreman, AR.

Leslie earned the Air Medal and Purple Heart, posthumously.

References
USAF Serial Number Search Results - B-25H-1 Mitchell 43-4129
"4129 lost Aug 5, 1944, SW Pacific. MACR 8784"
Missing Air Crew Report 8784 (MACR 8784)
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - Gordon J. Schmeisser
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - Theodore E. Kara
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - Vernon A. Patterson

American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - Isaac D. Leslie

FindAGrave - 1Lt Gordon J Schmeisser (tablets of the missing)
FindAGrave - 2Lt Theodore E Kara (photo, tablets of the missing)
FindAGrave - Sgt Vernon A Patterson (tablets of the missing)
FindAGrave - Vernon Alfred Patterson (memorial marker Oak Hill Cemetery photo)
FindAGrave - Vernon A. Patterson (memorial marker Gravelly Cemetery photo)
FindAGrave - Sgt Isaac D Leslie (tablets of the missing)

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Last Updated
February 14, 2020

 

Tech Info
B-25

MIA
MIA
4 Missing
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