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Built by Consolidated Aircraft Corporation at San Diego. Delivered to the U. S. Army Air Force (USAAF) as B-24J-180-CO Liberator serial number 44-40768. Assigned to the U. S. Navy (USN) as PB4Y-1 Liberator bureau number 38836.
Assigned to Patrol Bombing Squadron 111 (VPB-111). Nicknamed "Cherie and Toni" on the left side of the nose with the nose art of a seated nude islander girl. The left side of the nose had large "38836" painted in white with the last three digits larger.
On April 15, 1945 at 6:25am took from Puerto Princesa Airfield on Palawan Island piloted piloted by Lt. Frank Cutaiar on solo patrol and search mission over the Singapore armed with 5 x 100 pound bombs and 2 x 250 pound bombs. Over the Singapore Strait, spotted a Tare Baker Two stack Japanese ship of approximately 6,000 Tons.
This bomber made an attack from the starboard quarter to port midship with the gunners opening fire at 2,000'. At the same moment, the ship opened fire with machine guns, 40mm AA and 3" deck gun that hit the Liberator in the tail and no. 3 engine during the bomb run. Although damaged, this bomber completed the bomb run releasing the two 250 pound bombs with one scoring a direct hit and the other exploded under the hull. The bomber's .50 caliber fire was so effective, the ship ceased firing as it passed overhead. Damaged, this bomber was unable to linger in the area to observe if the ship sank and claimed it as probably destroyed.
Returning to base, the damaged no. 3 engine was feathered and climbed to 600' and was touch and go if it could remain airborne flying at approximately 115 knots, only 2 knots above the stall speed at that weight and was 1,030 miles from base. Pilot Cutaiar ordered all gear to be jettisoned including their lunch of sandwiches, decking, bomb sight, extra ammunition, bomb bay tanks and the remaining five 100 pound bombs. The reduced weight allowed the bomber to climb to 1,500'.
He also attempted to call other aircraft for help or to relay a message to base and was aided by Lt. Commander S. R. Bland who was flying in the adjoining sector and the navigators aboard both bombers helped plot a converging course to fly back to base together in formation. The other bomber had radar and allowed both planes to fly at lower altitude through the Balabak Strait and up the eastern coast of Palawan Island before landing on Puerto Princesa Airfield at 10:29pm.
The next day, the damaged PB4Y-1 was photographed at Puerto Princesa Airfield.
Ultimate fate unknown, likely scrapped or otherwise disappeared.
USAF Serial Number Search Results - B-24J-180-CO Liberator 44-40768
Navy Serial Number Search Results - PB4Y-1 Liberator 38836
"38836 ex USAAF 44-40768"
VPB-111 Aircraft Action Report April 15, 1945
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