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Muri June 1942
Muri June 4, 1942
Muri June 4, 1942
Roy Grinell 2005
|Pilot 1st Lt. James P. Muri (survived) Cartersville, MT
Co-Pilot Lt. Pren L. Moore (survived)
Navigator 2nd Lt. William W. Moore (survived)
Bombardier 2nd Lt. Russell H. Johnson (survived)
Nose Gunner TSgt John J. Gogoj (WIA, survived)
Engineer / Top Turret Gunner Cpl Frank L. Melo, Jr. (WIA, survived)
Tail Gunner Pfc Earl D. Ashley (WIA, survived)
Force Landed June 4, 1942
Built by Martin in Baltimore, Maryland. Delivered to the U. S. Army Air Force (USAAF) as B-26 Marauder serial number 40-1391. During the middle of 1941, assigned to the 22nd Bombardment Group, 18th Reconnaissance Squadron at Langley Field, Virginia. Disassembled and shipped as cargo aboard a shipped to Oahu.
During May 1942, one of the last B-26s reassembled at Hickam Field by the Hawaiian Air Depot (HAD). The stateside markings were over painted but retained the six U. S. star markings and "U. S. Army" on the bottom of both wings. The serial number, minus the first number "01391" was painted in yellow on both sides of the rear fuselage.
Initially, assigned to pilot 2nd Lt. Pren L. Moore. The entire B-26 was waxed to improve speed and was being prepared for a ferry flight across the Pacific to Australia.
Afterwards, assigned to 1st Lt. James P. Muri when the bomber he was assigned, B-26 40-1398 ditched. Muri nicknamed this bomber "Susie-Q" after his wife, on the right side of the nose painted in yellow and orange outlined lettering.
During April 1942, the 18th Reconnaissance Squadron was redesignated 408th Bombardment Squadron. This B-26 was at Hickam Field waiting for two other B-26s to be ready for a ferry flight across the Pacific to Australia.
This bomber was one of two B-26s from the 22nd Bombardment Group, 408th Bombardment Squadron plus two B-26s from the 38th Bombardment Group, 69th Bombardment Squadron flown to Midway Airfield to defend against the Japanese fleet that was expected to attack Midway Atoll during early June 1942.
On June 4, 1942 during the Battle of Midway took of from Midway Airfield on Eastern Island piloted by 1st Lt. James P. Muri at 6:30am armed with an aerial torpedo on a mission to attack Japanese Navy vessels during the Battle of Midway. The weather was described as "very good". The formation of four B-26 Marauders included two from the 38th Bombardment Group, 69th Bombardment Squadron plus two B-26s from the 22nd Bombardment Group, 408th Bombardment Squadron (including this aircraft).
The formation was led by the B-26 piloted by Captain James F. Collins, with left wingman B-26 "Satan's Playmate" 40-1424 piloted by 1st Lt Herbert C. Mayes and right wingman B-26 piloted by 1st Lt William S. Watson. Behind them was (this aircraft) B-26 "Susie-Q" 40-1391 piloted by 1st Lt. James P. Muri.
The B-26 formation was intercepted by two A6M2 Zeros flying a Combat Air Patrol (CAP) and defensive anti-aircraft fire. During the attack, B-26 "Satan's Playmate" 40-1424 went Missing In Action (MIA). At 7:10am, the formation attacked the Japanese Navy carrier force roughly 150 miles northwest of Midway Atoll. Flying in a diamond formation at 700' altitude the bombers descend to 200' to make their torpedo attack.
Aboard, this B-26 both turret gunners and the tail gunner were wounded. Over the Japanese fleet, this B-26 targeted Akagi released its aerial torpedo but failed to score a hit. Afterwards, in an attempt to evade anti-aircraft fire, this B-26 flew down the flight deck of the Akagi nearly grazing the bridge while the gunners strafed.
Two of the attacking B-26's were lost in the attack, the other two returned to Midway. Returning with heavy damage, this B-26's hydraulic system was knocked out and the landing gear tires were punctured. Aboard, three of the crew were wounded. Despite this damage, this bomber successfully landed at Midway Airfield with the landing gear only partially extended. Initially, it was believed Muri hit or damaged the carrier he attacked and was initially credited for the sinking.
After the mission, 500 bullet holes were noted in this bomber and it was written off. The nose art with "Susie-Q" was cut out of the nose by Lt. Moore and kept as a souvenir. The rest of the B-26 was bulldozed into a barge and dumped into the lagoon off Eastern Island.
After the mission, the entire crew was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross (DSC). The three crew members also received the Purple Heart for wounds sustained.
June 4, 1942
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