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  B-32-20-CF Dominator Serial Number 42-108578  
USAAF
5th AF
312th BG
386th BS


USAAF c1943

Aircraft History
Built by Consolidated-Vultee at Fort Worth, Texas. At the factory, this aircraft was completed with aluminum finish and black anti-glare panels on the nose and inner side of each engine cowling. Delivered to the U. S. Army Air Force (USAAF) as B-32-20-CF Dominator serial number 42-108578. Also known as #578 for the last three digits of the serial number. Ferried overseas via Hickam Field then across the Pacific before arriving at Yontan Airfield.

Wartime History
On August 13, 1945 assigned to the 312th Bombardment Group (312th BG), 386th Bombardment Squadron (386th BS). No known nickname or nose art. The tail of had the club motif of the squadron.

On August 18, 1945 at 6:55am took off from Yontan Airfield piloted by 1st Lt. John R. Anderson on a photograph reconnaissance mission over Tokyo to document Japanese compliance with the terms of surrender led by B-32 "Hobo Queen II" 42-108532 piloted by Captain James F. Klein followed by a F7B Liberator from the 20th CMS. The bombers were to photograph the area spanning from Chiba, Kido, Higurashi to Iwabe. The bombers were warned to stay clear of Hiroshima because intelligence believed bombers over that area might be intercepted.

The crew of this bomber included tail gunner Sgt John T. Houston, upper rear gunner Sgt Jimmie F. Smart and engineer Sgt Benjamin J. Clayworth. Also aboard were three from the 20th PRS including 2nd Lt. Kurt F. Rupke, SSgt Joseph M. Lacharite and Sgt Anthony J. Marchione.

Over the Tokyo area, this bomber descended to a lower altitude, reportedly due to camera shutters being frozen. After finishing their photographic runs, Klein saw enemy fighters taking off and Klein ordered this bomber flying at roughly 10,000' to 12,000' to climb to rejoin him in formation. Returning, the bomber encountered anti-aircraft fire near Miyakawa Airfield.

Over Chosi, intercepted by fourteen Japanese fighters including Ki-44 Tojos and A6M5 Zeros including pilots WO Sadamu Komachi and Ensign Saburo Sakai. That first attacked B-32 "Hobo Queen II" 42-108532 then made runs against this bomber. During the attacks, the bomber's gunners returned fire and claimed two fighters shot down and a third as probable. In fact, none of the Japanese aircraft were shot down or damaged.

This bomber was hit by gunfire from the fighter attacks that damaged the no. 3 engine, rudder trim tabls and several windows. Aboard, Sgt Smart was wounded in his forehead and left temple while manning his gun turret. In the rear of this bomber, crew members SSgt Joseph M. Lacharite and Sgt Anthony J. Marchione were stowing the camera equipment when they heard over the intercom enemy fighters and saw a fighter attacking from the rear. Gunfire hit the tail injuring both in their legs. Lacharite used a piece of rope to fashion a tourniquet around his right leg then used the wire from his headphones for his left leg. Meanwhile, another fighter made a firing pass and both were hit by more shrapnel. Marchione was given first aid by radar officer Lt. Donald H. Smith and navigator Lt. Thomas D. Robinson but appeared to be in shock and died within thirty minutes from his wounds. This was the last aerial combat between U. S. and Japanese aircraft during World War II and Marchione was the last American airmen to died in the air war. At 6:30pm this bomber returned to Yontan Airfield and was the first to land to rush Lacharite for medical treatment.

Postwar, flown back to the United States. Stored at Kingman Field and scrapped during late 1945 or 1946.

Memorials
Marchione was officially declared dead on August 18, 1945 at age 20. He earned the Purple Heart, posthumously. Postwar, he was buried at Old Saint Aloysius Cemetery in Pottstown, PA.

References
NARA World War II Army Enlistment Records - Anthony J. Marchione

USAF Serial Number Search Results - B-32-20-CF Dominator 42-108578
"108578 to Kingman, AZ and scrapped"
FindAGrave - Sgt Anthony James Marchione (photos, grave photo)
Dominator (1984) pages 46, 49
Echoes of the Dominator (2007) pages 109
20th Combat Mapping Squadron Flying Dumbos - [website removed]
"Chronology - Miscellaneous Events in the History of the 20th
18 August 1945
Sgt. Anthony J. Marchione, 20th RS aerial gunner, killed by attacking Japanese fighters while flying reconnaissance over Tokyo with the 312th BG, 386th BS in B-32 s/n 42-108578
S/Sgt. Joseph M. Lacharite, 20th RS aerial photographer, also aboard 42-108578, was wounded.
In Memory of 62 Air Crew Members of the 20th Who Didn't Return
"18 August 1945: While flying aboard a B-32 (42-108578) of the 312th Bomb Group, 386th Bomb Squadron, Sgt. Anthony J. Marchione was killed over Honshu in an attack by Japanese fighter aircraft. The attack occurred three days after the Japanese had declared their intention for peace • Sgt. Anthony J. Marchione, aerial gunner"
Imperial Japanese Navy Aces 1937-45 (1998) page 80
"On 17 August [1945] unesccorted B-32 Dominators flew over Tokyo on a photo-reconnaissance mission and were duly intercepted by fighters from the Yokosuka AG [Air Group]. Ens Saburo Sakai and WO Sadamu Komachi chased one bomber to Oshima Island, where it ditched - the loss was recorded as operational. This incident was repeated the following day [August 18, 1945] when the bombers again returned without escorts - this time one B-32 crewman was killed in the attacks, Sgt Anothony J. Marchione dying aboard the 312th BG's Hobo Queen [sic B-32 42-108578]."
Forty of the Fifth (1999) pages 55-57 (History Sixteen. Final Aerial Combat of the War (unnamed) Consolidated B-32-35-CF #42-108578 386th Bombardment Squadron / 312th Bombardment Group Attacked by fighters 18th August 1945)
J-Aircraft "Saburo Sakai's Last Battle" includes excerpt of Zero-sen No Saigo (1995) by Saburo Sakai
"At around this time, the Yokosuka Kokutai was working on the improvement of radio equipment on fighter planes and, performance had improved considerably, so we had no trouble finding the enemy. We found him at 6,000 meters. I had assumed the enemy was a B-29, but what I saw was a completely different aircraft. The single vertical stabilizer was enormous, and sweeped upwards towards the rear. I had never seen this plane before (I later found out that this was the Convair B-32 Dominator)... Apparently, the action was legal and we were never questioned about this action by McArthur's forces."
Rampage of the Roarin' 20's (2009) 330-333 (August 18, 1945), 356 (42-108578), 411 (index Orton)

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Last Updated
August 28, 2020

 

Tech Information
B-32
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