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  PB4Y-2 Privateer Bureau Number 59747  

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USN c1945
Pilot  Lt. Gilbert E. Miller, O-130161 USNR (MIA / KIA) Long Beach, CA
Crew  Ensign Robert A. Littmann, Jr., O-395607 (MIA / KIA) San Mateo, CA
Crew  Lt(jg) Ralph H. Hepworth, O-278412 (MIA / KIA) Albion, IA
Crew  AR1c Albert A. Comminiello, 6184315 USNR (MIA / KIA) Denver, CO
Crew  AOM3c Raymond E. Davis, 7026117 USNR (MIA / KIA) Manchester, IA
Crew  S1c James E. Ivie, 5746272 USNR (MIA / KIA) Tyler, TX
Crew  AMM3c John M. Gay, 8380391 (MIA / KIA) Morris, AL
Crew  AMM2c Francis A. Spencer, Jr., 8572453 USNR (MIA / KIA) Garrettsville, OH
Crew  AMM1c Orvill M. Osborn, 6165291 (MIA / KIA) Sturdivant, TX
Crew  AMM3c Joseph F. Cholasta, 7091928 USNR (MIA / KIA) Roselle, NJ
Crew  AMM3c Madison R. Stacy, 8412864 USNR (MIA / KIA) Killeen, TX
MIA  July 24, 1945

Aircraft History
Built by Consolidated Aircraft Corporation at San Diego as Model 32. Delivered to the U. S. Navy (USN) as PB4Y-2 Privateer bureau number 59747.

Wartime History
Assigned to Patrol Squadron VPB-124 (VPB-124). No known nickname or nose art.

Mission History
On July 24, 1945 took off from Yontan Airfield on Okinawa piloted by Lt. Gilbert E. Miller (crew #10) with PB4Y-2 "Gear Down (and Locked)" 59519 on an anti-shipping sweep along the west coast of Korea. At 9:20am a they radioed they were under attack and at 11:00am radioed that they had bombed a Japanese ship. Both bombers failed to return from the mission and were presumed to be lost along the 40th Parallel. The entire crew was declared Missing In Action (MIA).

On July 25, 1945 a search mission was conducted for the two missing bombers without result.

The entire crew was officially declared dead on July 25, 1946. All are memorialized at Manila American Cemetery on the tablets of the missing.

Miller earned the Navy Cross, Distinguished Flying Cross (DFC) and Purple Heart, posthumously.

Littmann earned the Distinguished Flying Cross (DFC), Air Medal, Purple Heart, posthumously.

Hepworth earned the Distinguished Flying Cross (DFC), Air Medal, Purple Heart, posthumously. He also has a memorial marker at Salt Lake City Cemetery in Salt Lake City, UT.

Comminiello earned the Purple Heart, posthumously.

Davis earned the Distinguished Flying Cross (DFC) and Purple Heart, posthumously.

Ivie earned the Distinguished Flying Cross (DFC). He is entitled to the and Purple Heart, posthumously.

Gay earned the Distinguished Flying Cross (DFC) and Purple Heart, posthumously.

Spencer earned the Distinguished Flying Cross (DFC) and Purple Heart, posthumously.

Osborn earned the Distinguished Flying Cross (DFC) Air Medal with Gold Star and Purple Heart, posthumously. He also has a memorial marker at Sturdivant Cemetery in Sturdivant, TX at section C1 site 16.

Cholasta earned the Distinguished Flying Cross (DFC) and Purple Heart, posthumously.

Stacy earned the Distinguished Flying Cross (DFC) and Purple Heart, posthumously.

Trudy Jones (daughter of Hugh Crae Wilson)
"I am Trudy Wilson-Jones, my father was flying with Lt. Ramsey. I have wondered many times over the years the fate of my father and the other men. My mother never remarried and held on to hope for many years that someday my dad would return. I was 2 weeks old when my dad's plane disappeared. Now I would like to get in contact with those folks who were close to the situation and learn more about the incident. I do have the letters of notification from the Navy about my father's last flight. Any information you could pass on to me would be of great worth to me. It is very similar to what was presented on the web site. Thank you for your help."

Navy Serial Number Search Results - PB4Y-2 Privateer 59747
USN Overseas Aircraft Loss List July 1945 - PB4Y-2 Privateer 59747
"59747 (VPB-124 lost of Okinawa Jul 24, 1945. 11 crew lost."
NARA Patrol Bombing Squadron 124 (VPB-124) War History 15 March 1943-15 August 1945 pages 36-37, 43 (crew #10)
(Page 36) "Two of our finest and most experienced pilots, Lieut. J. E. Ramsey and Lieut. Ge,. E. Miller teamed up on 24 July for an anti-shipping sweep along the western coast of Korea. Big things were expected of this bloodthirsty pair and although they did not return to confirm our conclusions, mute evidence would strongly indicate that they performed up to expectations... Neither plane was heard from again.
A carefully conducted search for survivors was negative, however, two planes from another unit while flying the Ramsey Miller sector sighted the remains of two ships which fitted into our pattern of known circumstances and offered a reasonable solution to the mysterious disappearance of our two Privateers. The first ship spotted was an 80 ton type such as Lt. Ramsey had mentioned in his last transmission to Miller, this vessel was run up on the beach with her bow blown off. Two miles north only the bow and forward king post of a 7,000 ton..."
(Page 37) "... merchantman showed above the water, her paint was fresh and from all appearances she had been recently sunk. A canvas of all units operating in that area including submarine units revealed no prior report of these sinkings consequently it was believed fairly conclusive that Lt. Ramsey and Lt. Miller had destroyed these two ships and had been shot down or forced to ditch as a result of the latter engagement.
There can of course be no real compensation for the severe loss of friends and shipmates suffered during our seven weeks of combat operations but it can be and is a satisfaction to have struck a deadly toll of Jap shipping in partial retribution."
(Page 43) "Crew #10 Gilbert E. Miller Lieutenant Long Beach, California..."
NARA VPB-124 War Diary July 1945 page 3
(Page 3) "Date: 24 July 1945 / Location: Western coast of Korea / How Lost: 2 PB4Y-2s missing. Presumed to have been shot down while attacking enemy merchant ship. See ACA-1 Report No. 35".
NARA VPB-124 Aircraft Action Report (AAR) No. 35 June 24, 194 pages 8-12
(Page 8) "Two PB4Y-2s lost Bureau Number 59519 and 59747"
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - Gilbert E. Miller
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - Robert A. Littmann, Jr.
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - Ralph H. Hepworth
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - Albert A. Comminiello
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - Raymond E. Davis
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - James E. Ivie
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - John M. Gay
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - Francis A. Spencer, Jr.
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - Orvill M. Osborn
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - Joseph F. Cholasta
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - Madison R. Stacy
FindAGrave - Lt Gilbert E Miller (tablets of the missing)
FindAGrave - Ens Robert A Littmann, Jr (photo, tablets of the missing)
FindAGrave - LtJG Ralph Huntington Hepworth (tablets of the missing)
FindAGrave - Ralph H Hepworth (memorial marker photo)
FindAGrave - Albert A. Comminiello (tablets of the missing)
FindAGrave - Raymond E. Davis (tablets of the missing)
FindAGrave - James E. Ivie (tablets of the missing)
FindAGrave - AMM3 John M Gay (tablets of the missing)
FindAGrave - AMM2 Francis A Spencer, Jr (tablets of the missing)
FindAGrave - AMM1 Orvill M Osborn (tablets of the missing) first name spelled "Orvill"
FindAGrave - Orville Marion Osborn (memorial marker photo)
FindAGrave - AOM3 Joseph F Cholasta (tablets of the missing)
FindAGrave - Madison R. Stacy (tablets of the missing)

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Last Updated
July 7, 2020

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