11 December 2013

Crew of B-24J 44-40783 Photographed in Front of "Tough Titti"

Image size: 1600 x 1139 pixel. 355 KB
Date: 1944
Place: Liuchow, Guangxi, China
Photographer: Unknown

Crew of B-24J 44-40783 photographed in front of "Tough Titti," a B-24J-155-CO serial number 44-40296. On the evening of August 31, 1944, ten crew members of the 14th Air Force, 308th Bomb Group, 375th Bomb Squadron, lifted off in a Consolidated B-24J-180-CO Liberator serial number 44-40783 from a base in Liuchow, China, on a mission to bomb Japanese ships anchored in Takao Harbor, Formosa. Intercepted by an A6M3 Model 32 Zero-Sen fighter piloted by Chief Petty Officer Takeo Tanimizu of the Tainan Air Group, who shot down B-24J 44-40831 and damaged 40783. On its return flight, it was diverted to an alternate field because Liuchow was under air attack. On its way to the alternate strip, it crashed into Mount Arisan (known as Mount Maoer or Kitten, 6000 feet, 1829 meters) and tumbled into a deep ravine. All aboard were killed. The crew: Pilot, Second Lieutenant George H. Pierpont (Salem, Virginia); Co-Pilot, Second Lieutenant Franklin A. Tomenendale (Shabbona, Illinois); Navigator, Second Lieutenant Robert Deming (Seattle, Washington); Bombardier, Second Lieutenant George A. Ward (Jersey City, New Jersey); Engineer, Staff Sargeant Anthony DeLucia, age 24 (Bradford, Pennsylvania); Radio, Sargeant Ellsworth V. Kelley (Newark, Ohio); Radarman, Private Fred P. Buckley (Garden City, Kansas); Gunner, Staff Sargeant William A. Drager (Washington, New Jersey); Gunner, Sargeant Robert L. Kearsey (McKees Rocks, Pennsylvania); Gunner, Private Vincent J. Netherwood (Kingston, New York), age 20, engaged to be married. On October 2, 1996 two Chinese farmers discovered the crash site 62 miles (100 kilometers) south of Gualin, Guangxi Province. Jiang Zemin, president of the People's Republic of China, presented President Clinton with five identification tags and a video of the crash site during a state visit the next month. The names on the military dog tags included: Buckley, Kelley, Netherwood, Tomenendale and Ward. Four times between 1997 and 1999, a joint U.S.-Chinese team excavated the crash site, recovering numerous pieces of wreckage, personal effects and remains. Using DNA, they identified the crew. Six were buried in Arlington and three in their hometowns.  



  1. B-24J-180-CO Liberator Serial Number 44-40783
    14th AF
    308th BG
    425th BS
    Pilot 1st Lt. Norman B. Clendenen, O-427299 (MIA / KIA) Stockton, CA
    Co-Pilot 2nd Lt. Robert B. Reade, O-699850 (MIA / KIA) Sacramento, CA
    Navigator 2nd Lt. John W. Roney, O-706547 (MIA / KIA) Chattanooga, TN
    Bombardier SSgt Howard N. Young, O-697755 (MIA / KIA) Colorado Springs, CO
    Engineer SSgt Ewald A. Mast, 31247318 (MIA / KIA) Wsterly, RI
    Radio Sgt James L. Hicks, 34722415 (MIA / KIA) Cleveland, TN
    Gunner Sgt Glen H. Park, 19126712 (MIA / KIA) Los Angeles, CA
    Gunner Sgt Milan J. Sliepka, 36650396 (MIA / KIA) Chicago, IL
    Gunner Sgt Richard D. Zacharias, 33429963 (MIA / KIA) New Kensington. PA
    Radar SSgt Allen S. Guthrie, 15082134 (MIA / KIA) Indianapolis, IN
    Observer Captain George K. O'Neil, O-427621 (POW, survived) Ames, IA
    Crashed August 31, 1944
    MACR 8018

    Aircraft History
    Built by Consolidated. Delivered to the U. S. Army. Ferried overseas to CBI.

    Wartime History
    Assigned to the 308th Bombardment Group, 425th Bombardment Squadron. No known nose art or nickname. Weapon serial numbers not noted in MACR.

    Mission History
    On August 31, 1944 took off from Liuchow Airfield at at 4:30pm to bomb enemy ships in Takao Harbor off Takao (Kaohsiung) on Formosa (Taiwan). Over the target, intercepted by A6M Zeros. This B-24 was shot down by A6M Zero piloted by Takeo Tanimizu and crashed into the sea. Also damaged was B-24J 44-40831 that later crashed.

    According to O'Neil who survived, the B-24 was hit by anti-aircraft fire and fighters, and the crew in the the forward compartment bailed out including O'Neil, Reade, Roney, Mast, Hicks. Two of their parachutes were fired on as they descended, and none were seen again after hitting the water. The remaining crew were likely were still aboard the B-24 when it crashed into the sea.

    Fates of the Crew
    O'Neil came ashore on an island with the help of locals. On September 1, 1944 he was taken prisoner by MP Sgt Kakimoto from a Japanese sub chaser that arrived to investigate the crash site on the sea. According to the Japanese he fired his pistol and resisted capture, but Kakimoto fired back and O'Neil was captured and became a Prisoner Of War (POW). At the end of the war, he returned to the United States.

    During December 1945, American Graves Registration Service (AGRS) "Search Team No. 9" searched for this aircraft, but found no trace.

    The entire crew was officially declared dead the day of the mission. All are memorialized on the tablets of the missing at Manila American Cemetery.

    Missing Air Crew Report (MACR) 8018
    American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - Norman B. Clendenen
    American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - Robert B. Reade
    American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - John W. Roney
    American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - Howard N. Young
    American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - Ewald A. Mast
    American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - James L. Hicks
    American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - Glen H. Park
    American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - Milan J. Sliepka
    American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - Richard D. Zacharias
    American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - Allen S. Guthrie
    NARA Prisoner of War File - no file could be found for "George K. O'Neil"

  2. Sources:

  3. http://www.pacificwrecks.com/aircraft/b-24/44-40783.html