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  LB-30 Liberator Serial Number AL589  
USAAF
7th AF
5th BG
31st BS

PacificWrecks.com
USAAF c1941

PacificWrecks.com
USAAF c1941
Command Pilot  Major General Clarence L. Tinker, O-003282 7th AF, HQ (MIA / KIA) Schwagerte, OK
Pilot  Major Raymond P. Salzarulo, O-022334 7th AF, Bomber Command HQ (MIA / KIA) IN
Co-Pilot  Major Coleman Hinton, O-022597 5th BG, 31st BS (MIA / KIA) NC
Navigator  1st Lt. Gilmer H. Holton Jr., O-420873 (MIA / KIA)
Navigator  2nd Lt. Walter E. Gurley, O-427642 5th BG, 31st BS (MIA / KIA) NC
Crew  MSgt Franz Moeller, 6747015 5th BG, 394th BS (MIA / KIA) Germany
Engineer  TSgt James H. Turk, Jr., 6254704 5th BG, 31st BS (MIA / KIA) Uvalde, TX
Radio  Sgt Thomas E. Ross, 6981919 5th BG, 31st BS (MIA / KIA) Niagara Falls, NY
Bombardier  Sgt Aaron D. Shank, 6999169 5th BG, 31st BS (MIA / KIA) Allegany County, MD
Crew  Sgt George D. Scheid, 6581401 5th BG, 394th BS (MIA / KIA) UT
Crew  Sgt William J. Wagner, 6981060 5th BG, 394th BS (MIA / KIA) NY
MIA  June 7, 1942
MACR  600 / 800

Aircraft History
Built by Consolidated in San Diego for the Royal Air Force (RAF) as Liberator II serial number AL589. At the start of the Pacific War, requisitioned by the U. S. Army Air Force (USAAF) and retained the RAF serial number AL589.

Robert Livingstone adds:
"The aircraft was almost new having been built in November 1941 and entering the AAF post-Pearl Harbor. Nobody really knew what to do with these aircraft that were built for the RAF and with RAF equipment. The upper turret location was in the mid-rear fuselage in the RAF-style rather than on the command deck behind the cockpit and was only fitted in the UK. All the mission aircraft spent time at various depots having AAF equipment added and they MAY have had Martin turrets added during this time; no photos of these aircraft during the November 1942-June 1943 period. It also had no superchargers so was height limited."

Wartime History
Assigned to the 7th Air Force (7th AF), 5th Bombardment Group (5th BG) "Bomber Barons", 31st Bombardment Squadron (31st BS). No known nickname, nose art or markings. During early June 1942 flown from Hickam Field to Midway Airfield to refuel and stage for a bombing mission.

Mission History
On June 6, 1942 took off after dark from from Midway Airfield piloted by Major General Clarence L. Tinker Commanding Officer (C. O.) of the 7th Air Force armed with bombs and a bomb bay fuel tank on a bombing mission planned against Wake Island at dawn then return to land to Midway Airfield. The rest of the crew were all volunteers from the 31st Bombardment Squadron (31st BS) plus three from the 394th Bombardment Squadron (394th BS).

Five bombers were scheduled to fly the bombing mission, this aircraft plus LB-30 AL611, LB-30 AL617 and LB-30 AL626 and LB-30 AL633 but only four managed to take off and participate in the mission. The weather had an overcast at 6,000'. After take off, the bombers maintained radio silence.

Forty minutes after take off, in the early hours of June 7, 1942 the bombers climbed to an altitude of 8,000'. This bomber was seen to lag behind the formation, lost altitude and disappeared into the clouds approximately 25 miles southwest of Midway Atoll. It was believed to have spun into the sea and crashed. When this bomber failed to return it was officially declared Missing In Action (MIA).

Afterwards, the other three bombers continued the mission but failed to locate Wake Island due to bad weather and returned to Midway Airfield. After landing, they learned Tinker's bomber had not returned and was reported Missing In Action (MIA) on June 7, 1942 at 11:00pm (more likely he was lost on June 6, 1942 around 11:00pm).

AGPO-CR 704 Dead (30 Apr 48) Excerpt from SR&D Report - 30 Apr 48 11 via MACR 800
"A B-24 airplane [sic LB-30 AL589], which departed from Midway Island on a night bombing mission against the Japanese force at Wake on June 7, 1942. While enroute to Wake Island at approximately 25 miles southwest of Midway Island, the plane bearing subject personnel, lagged, lost altitude and disappeared. Officers, who were aboard the other two planes on this mission told General Sanders, it was their opinion that General Tinker’s plane 'spun into the water'. No radio messages were received from the lost aircraft, evidently due to the fact that orders were previously issued for radio silence."

Robert Livingstone adds:
"It was called a ‘night mission’ because the flight to the target was made at night. The similar missions I am aware of later in the war were all done by departing at night at a time which would bring the aircraft to the target in the early morning. Air Transport Command (ATC) flights across the Pacific were made at night so that star navigation could be used and so that arrival at the island staging points would be reached in daylight. The only time the aircraft would have been able to see each other would have been for a period after the departure from Midway. They were not operating as a formation per se, with the lead aircraft navigating. They would have been doing their own navigation and quickly would have spread out making their own way. By the time they were coming home they would have been alone, one at a time, and so in no position to see what was happening to Tinker’s aircraft."

Search
Afterwards, two weeks of intensive searches were conducted by air at low altitude but no trace of the bomber or any of the crew were found.

AGPO-CR 704 Dead (30 Apr 48) Excerpt from SR&D Report - 30 Apr 48 11 via MACR 800
"An intense search was conducted by air at low altitudes for two weeks following the plane’s disappearance, but no trace of the plane or any of its crew members was found. There is no land in the vicinity of the planes disappearance."

Memorials
The entire crew was officially declared dead the day of the mission on June 7, 1942. The entire crew are memorialized at National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific (Punchbowl) on the courts of the missing. Tinker, Turk and Wagner on court 5. Salzarulo, Hinton, Holton Gurley, Moeller, Ross, Shank and Scheid on court 7.

Tinker earned Distinguished Service Medal (DSM) for this mission, Distinguished Flying Cross (DFC), Soldier's Medal and Purple Heart, posthumously. On October 14, 1942 the Oklahoma City Air Depot was named Tinker Field in his honor, later Tinker Air Force Base (Tinker AFB).

Salzarulo earned the Silver Star and Purple Heart, posthumously. He also has a memorial marker at Arlington National Cemetery at memorial section H, site 81.

Hinton earned the Silver Star for the mission and Purple Heart, posthumously.

Holton earned the Silver Star for the mission and Purple Heart, posthumously. He also has a memorial marker at Elmwood Cemetery in Charlotte, NC.

Gurley earned the Silver Star for the mission and Purple Heart, posthumously. He also has a memorial marker at Mimosa Cemetery in Davidson, NC.

Moeller earned the Silver Star for the mission and Purple Heart, posthumously.

Turk earned the Silver Star for the mission and Purple Heart, posthumously.

Ross earned the Silver Star for the mission and Purple Heart, posthumously.

Shank earned the Silver Star for the mission and Purple Heart, posthumously. He also has a memorial marker at Zion Mennonite Church Cemetery in Broadway, VA.

Scheid earned the Silver Star for the mission and Purple Heart, posthumously. He also has a memorial marker at Mount Olivet Cemetery in Salt Lake City, UT at plot R-64.

Wagner earned the Silver Star for the mission and Purple Heart, posthumously.

Relatives
Madeline Tinker (widow of Tinker)
Clarence L. Tinker (son of Tinker) Missing In Action (MIA) in North Africa
Robert Ross (nephew of Thomas E. Ross)

References
Note, some sources list this mission as June 6, 1942 or June 7, 1942 and the target being either Wake Island while others report their target as the Japanese Fleet withdrawing after their defeat during the Battle of Midway.
NARA World War II Army Enlistment Records - Gilmer H. Holton
NARA World War II Army Enlistment Records - Walter E. Gurley
Liberator II for the RAF/LB-30 - AL589
"AL589 requisitioned by USAAF. Lost with 5th BG on raid from Midway to Wake Island Jun 7, 1942. MACR 600. General Clarence L. Tinker was on board."
Missing Air Crew Report 600 (MACR 600) created retroactively
Missing Air Crew Report 800 (MACR 800) created September 6, 1943
New York Times "Roosevelt Names 6 Major Generals; Tinker, Head of the Air Corps in Hawaii" January 15, 1942 page 11
New York Times "Major Gen. Clarence L. Tinker" June 13, 1942 page 1
New York Times "Tinker's Death Explained; Award of D.F.C. Reveals General Died on Pacific Bomber Raid" October 25, 1942
New York Times "Gen. W.H. Hale Takes Over Tinker Air Post in Hawaii" June 24, 1942 page 11
New York Times "Gen. Tinker in Hall of Aviation" June 28, 1942 page 29
New York Times "General Tinker's Son Is Missing" May 31, 1943 page 30
New York Times "Major C.L. Tinker Jr. Missing" June 1, 1943 page 8
(Page 29) Letter from General George C. Marshall to Mrs. Tinker
"We have hoped that the search for your husband would eventually prove successful, but I must not delay longer in expressing to you my deepest sympathy. General Tinker personally led his men in what has proved to be an historic Naval victory. He chose the most dangerous mission. He has set the highest standard for gallantry in leadership."
(Page 30) "IV --Award, posthumous, of Distinguished Service Medal by direction of the President under the provision of the act of Congress approved July 9, 1918 (Bull. 43, W. D., 1918), a Distinguished-Service Medal is awarded posthumously by the War Department to the following named officer: Clarence L. Tinker, Major General, United States Army.
[Citation] For exceptionally meritorious service to the Government in a position of great responsibility. Assuming command of the *** [7th] Air Force, and all Army Air Forces troops in the Hawaiian Department, on December 18, 1941, his wide knowledge of Army Air Forces tactics and his inspiring leadership brought those organizations to the highest standards of training. In the early part of June 1942, he anticipated an attempted Japanese raid on Midway Island and prepared a heavy bombardment task force to participate in the repulse of the raid and the ultimate marked defeat of the Japanese attacking forces. In the final phase of this battle he personally took command of a flight on an attack mission of an extremely dangerous nature, and in the highest tradition s of the service elected to execute the mission rather than detail it to a subordinate. This gallant officer and his entire crew, all of whom volunteered to participate in the mission with full knowledge of the nature thereof, were lost at sea. Entered military service from Oklahoma. Next of Kin Mrs. Madeline Tinker (Widow), 2918 Coachman Avenue, Tampa, Florida."
(Page 35) "AGPO-CR 704 Dead (30 Apr 48) Excerpt from SR&D Report - 30 Apr 48
11. The foregoing facts show the subject personnel, listed in paragraph 1 above were members of a B-24 airplane [sic LB-30 AL589], which departed from Midway Island on a night bombing mission against the Japanese force at Wake on June 7, 1942. While enroute to Wake Island at approximately 25 miles southwest of Midway Island, the plane bearing subject personnel, lagged, lost altitude and disappeared. Officers, who were aboard the other two planes on this mission told General Sanders, it was their opinion that General Tinker’s plane “spun into the water”. No radio messages were received from the lost aircraft, evidently due to the fact that orders were previously issued for radio silence. An intense search was conducted by air at low altitudes for two weeks following the plane’s disappearance, but no trace of the plane or any of its crew members was found. There is no land in the vicinity of the planes disappearance."
News "Honor Memory of Falls Aviator Lost in Raid on Midway Island"
History of the Fifth Bomb Group: The Story of 5th Bombardment Group (Heavy)
(1946) page 34
"Wake Island... On or about June 7 [1942] Colonel Waldron and crew of the 394th Squadron took part in a strike against Jap-held Wake Island. On this mission three enlisted men [Moeller, Scheid and Wagner] of the 394th were lost when they went down with General Clarence Tinker."
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - Clarence L. Tinker
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - Raymond P. Salzarulo
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - Coleman Hinton
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - Gilmer H. Holton Jr.
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - Walter E. Gurley
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - Franz Moeller
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - James H. Turk, Jr.
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - Thomas E. Ross
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - Aaron D. Shank
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - George D. Scheid
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - William J. Wagner
FindAGrave - MajGen Clarence Leonard Tinker (photos, biography, courts of the missing)
FindAGrave - Maj Raymond P Salzarulo (courts of the missing photo)
FindAGrave - Raymond P Salzarulo (memorial marker Arlington)
FindAGrave - Maj Coleman Hinton (courts of the missing photo)
FindAGrave - 1LT Gilmer H Holton, Jr (courts of the missing photo)
FindAGrave - Lieut Gilmer H Holton, Jr (memorial marker photo)
FindAGrave - 2LT Walter E Gurley (courts of the missing photo)
FindAGrave - Lieut Walter E. Gurley (memorial marker photo)
FindAGrave - MMS Franz Moeller (courts of the missing photo)
FindAGrave - TSgt James Humphries Turk, Jr (courts of the missing photo)
FindAGrave - Sgt Thomas E Ross (photos, courts of the missing photo)
FindAGrave - Sgt Aaron D Shank (photos, courts of the missing photo)
FindAGrave - Sgt Aaron David Shank (memorial marker photo)
FindAGrave - SSgt George D Scheid (courts of the missing photo)
FindAGrave - George David Scheid (memorial marker photo)
FindAGrave - Sgt William J Wagner (courts of the missing photo)
Under The Southern Cross The B-24 Liberator in the South Pacific (1998) Chapter 9
"General Tinker did not live long enough to see his oceanic route develop into a transport airline - on 6 June 1942 four LB-30s under his command took off from Midway Island to attack Wake Island, and AL589 and the General were never seen again."
Osage General Major General Clarence L. Tinker (1987) Chapter 11 pages 329-346
Thanks to Robert Livingstone and Robert Ross for additional information

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Last Updated
February 18, 2020

 

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LB-30

MIA
MIA
11 Missing
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