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41-24526

B-17 Flying Fortress

B-17F 41-24526 "Leapin Liz". Assigned 358BS/303BG [VK-J] Bangor 19-Sep-42; Molesworth 16-Oct-42; Missing in Action St Nazaire 3-Jan-43, shot down by enemy aircraft, crashed off St Brevin, Bay of Biscay, France. 10KIA Missing Air Crew Report (MACR) 7560. Aircraft flew 4 Operations - 1 Abort.

23-Nov-43 Mission #1 U-Boat Pens, St. Nazaire, France (see Biography)
12-Dec-42 Mission #2 Railroad marshalling yards, Rouen, France - Aborted (see Biorgraphy)
20-Dec-42 Mission #3 Air Depot, Romilly-sur-Seine, France (see Biography)
3-Jan-43 Mission #4 LAST OPERATION, Torpedo storage areas, St. Nazaire, France (see Biography)

Service

Units

  • 303rd Bomb Group

    303rd Bomb Group

    Group
    The 303rd Bombardment Group (Heavy) was activated on 3-Feb-1942 at Pendleton Field, Oregon. They assembled at Gowen Field, Idaho on 11-February 1942 where it conducted flight training until 12-Jun-1942. The Group then moved to Alamogordo Field, New...

  • 358th Bomb Squadron

People

  • Paul Bouton

    Military | Second Lieutenant | Co-Pilot | 303rd Bomb Group
    Shot down 3 January 1943 in B-17F 41-24526 'Leaping Liz' while serving as Co-Pilot. Target was U/B yards (submarines) at St. Nazaire, France. Fighters attacked and plane crashed into Bay of Biscay. Killed in Action (KIA) Participated in 4 Operations -...

  • Arthur Brunnet

    Military | Sergeant | Ball Turret Gunner | 303rd Bomb Group
    Shot down 3 January 1943 in B-17F 41-24526 'Leaping Liz' while serving as Ball Turret Gunner. Target was U/B yards (submarines) at St. Nazaire, France. Fighters attacked and plane crashed into Bay of Biscay. Killed in Action (KIA). Participated in 6...

  • James Clark

    Military | Lieutenant | Pilot | 303rd Bomb Group
    Shot down 3 January 1943 in B-17F 41-24526 'Leaping Liz' while serving as Pilot. Aircraft crashed into Bay of Biscay. Killed in Action (KIA). Participated in 4 Operations - 1 Abort (see Biography)

  • Clifton Fincher

    Military | Sergeant | Ball Turret Gunner | 303rd Bomb Group
    On 23-Jan-43 in B-17F 41-24580 "Hellcat Agnes" while serving as Ball Turret Gunner the aircraft was shot down by fighters and came down between Brest, France and the coast. He parachuted to safety and was captured as a Prisoner of War (POW)....

  • George Hall

    Military | Staff Sergeant | Right Waist Gunner | 303rd Bomb Group
    Shot down 3 January 1943 in B-17F 41-24526 "Leaping Liz" while serving as Right Waist Gunner. Plane crashed into Bay of Biscay. Killed in Action (KIA). Participated in 7 Operations - 2 Aborts. (See Biography events) ...

  • Charles Hoffman

    Military | Second Lieutenant | Navigator | 303rd Bomb Group
    Shot down 3 January 1943 in B-17F 41-24526 'Leaping Liz' while serving as Navigator. Target was U/B yards (submarines) at St. Nazaire, France. Fighters attacked and plane crashed into Bay of Biscay. Killed in Action (KIA). Participated in 5 Operations ...

  • Jonathan Land

    Military | Sergeant | Left Waist Gunner | 303rd Bomb Group
    Shot down 3 January 1943 in B-17F 41-24526 'Leaping Liz' while serving as Left Waist Gunner. Target was U/B yards (submarines) at St. Nazaire, France. Fighters attacked and plane crashed into Bay of Biscay. Killed in Action (KIA). Participated in 4...

  • Don Lusk

    Military | Second Lieutenant | Bombardier | 303rd Bomb Group
    Shot down 3 January 1943 in B-17F 41-24526 'Leaping Liz' while serving as Bombardier. Target was U/B yards (submarines) at St. Nazaire, France. Fighters attacked and plane crashed into Bay of Biscay. Killed in Action (KIA). Participated in 5 Operations...

  • Thomas Reino

    Military | Technical Sergeant | Top Turret Gunner | 303rd Bomb Group
    Shot down 3 January 1943 in B-17F 41-24526 'Leaping Liz' while serving as Engineer/Top Turret Gunner. Target was U/B yards (submarines) at St. Nazaire, France. Fighters attacked and plane crashed into Bay of Biscay. Killed in Action (KIA). Participated...

  • Merlyn Rukes

    Military | Staff Sergeant | Tail Gunner | 303rd Bomb Group
    Shot down 3 January 1943 in B-17F 41-24526 "Leapin Liz" while serving as Tail Gunner. Target was U/B yards (submarines) at St. Nazaire, France. Killed in Action (KIA). Participated in 7 Operations - 2 Aborts (See Biography events) ...

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Missions

  • VIII Bomber Command 28

    3 January 1943
    The U-Boat pens at St. Nazaire, France are once again the target for this mission. This is proving to be a particularly difficult target to destroy due to its massive, reinforced concrete design. It consists of 14 individual pens connected together in...

Places

  • Molesworth

    Military site : airfield
    Molesworth was one of the early stations used by the Eighth Air Force in the UK, first occupied by the 15th Bomb Squadron’s Douglas Bostons in June 1942. Built in 1940 and extended and improved in 1942, Molesworth is most associated with the 303rd...

Events

Event Location Date
Mission #1 B-1F 41-24526, 303BG/303BS Saint-Nazaire, France 23 November 1942

CREW

P 1LT James B. Clark (RTD); CP 2LT Paul Bouton, Jr. (RTD)
N 2LT Charles E. Hoffman (RTD); B 2LT Don W. Lusk, Jr. (RTD)
E/TTG TSGT Thomas J. Reino (RTD); RO SSGT LeRoy W. Wilder (RTD)
BTG SGT George F. Hall (RTD); LWG SGT John W. Kennedy, Jr. (RTD)
RWG SGT George W. Hall (RTD); TG SSGT Merlyn D. Rukes (RTD)

Mission #2 B-17F 41-24526, 303BG/358BS Aborted Rouen, France 12 December 1942

CREW

P 1LT James B. Clark (RTD); CP 2LT Paul Bouton, Jr. (RTD)
N 2LT Charles E. Hoffman (RTD); B 2LT Don W. Lusk, Jr. (RTD)
E/TTG TSGT Thomas J. Reino (RTD); RO SSGT LeRoy W. Wilder (RTD)
BTG SGT John W. Kennedy, Jr. (RTD); LWG SGT Johnathan S. Land (RTD)
RWG SSGT George F. Hall (RTD); TG SSGT Merlyn D. Rukes (RTD)

Mission #3 B-17F 41-24526, 303BG/358BS Romilly-sur-Seine, France 20 December 1942

CREW

P 1LT James B. Clark (RTD); CP 2LT Paul Bouton, Jr. (RTD)
N 2LT Charles E. Hoffman (RTD); B 2LT Don W. Lusk, Jr. (RTD)
E/TTG TSGT Thomas J. Reino (RTD); RO SSGT LeRoy W. Wilder (RTD)
BTG SGT Clifton R. Fincher (RTD); LWG SGT Johnathan S. Land (RTD)
RWG SSGT George F. Hall (RTD); TG SSGT Merlyn D. Rukes (RTD)

Failed to Return (FTR) Saint-Nazaire, France 3 January 1943

Shot down by enemy fighters, crashed into the sea off St. Nazaire, France.

Mission #4 B-17F 41-24526, 303BG/358BS FTR 3 January 1943

CREW

P 1LT James B. Clark (KIA); CP 2LT Paul Bouton, Jr. (KIA)
N 2LT Charles E. Hoffman (KIA); B 2LT Don W. Lusk, Jr. (KIA)
E/TTG TSGTThomas J. Reino (KIA); RO SGT Leroy W. Wilder (KIA)
BTG SGT Arthur Brunnet (KIA); LWG SGT Jonathan S. Land (KIA)
RWG SSGT George F. Hall, Hr. (KIA); TG SGT Merlyn D. Rukes (KIA)

Revisions

Date Contributor Update
23 April 2019 22:42:48 BrianRukes Changes to nicknames and description
Sources

Brian Rukes, great nephew of S/Sgt. Merlyn Dale Rukes, tail gunner on the B-17 "Leapin Liz"

Date Contributor Update
09 August 2015 23:48:19 Lee8thbuff Changes to description and events
Sources

Lee Cunnningham 9-Aug-2015. Added Mission #4 to Decsription and Mission #4 event crew data per 303BG webiste Mission Report of 3-Jan-43, Gray Moncur, Historian: http://www.303rdbg.com/missionreports/009.pdf

Date Contributor Update
09 August 2015 23:39:36 Lee8thbuff Changes to description and events
Sources

Lee Cunningham 9-Aug-2015 Added Mission #3 to Description and Mission # 3 event crew data per 303BG website Mission Report of 20-Dec-42, Gary Moncur, Historian: http://www.303rdbg.com/missionreports/007.pdf

Date Contributor Update
09 August 2015 23:25:50 Lee8thbuff Changes to description and events
Sources

Lee Cunningham 9-Aug-43. Added Mission #3 to Description and added Mission #3 event crew data per 303BG website Mission REports of 12-Dec-42, Gary Moncur, Historian: http://www.303rdbg.com/missionreports/006.pdf

Date Contributor Update
09 August 2015 23:14:59 Lee8thbuff Changes to description and events
Sources

Lee Cunningham 9-Aug-2015. Added Mission #1 to Decription and Miaaion #1 crew data to Biography event per 303BG website Mission Report of 23-Nov-42, Gary Moncur, Historian: http://www.303rdbg.com/missionreports/004.pdf.

Date Contributor Update
09 January 2015 19:01:10 Lee8thbuff Changes to description
Sources

Lee Cunningham 9-Jan-2015. Corrected typo in description.

Date Contributor Update
09 January 2015 18:58:40 Lee8thbuff Changes to nicknames, markings, description, events, place associations and mission associations
Sources

Lee Cunningham 9-Jan-2015. Added nickname , markings and FTR event description and map location per "Losses of the 8th & 9th Air Forces" Stan Bishop & John A. Hey MBE; Made connections to Place and Mission within existing website data; Edited description adding TN, converted date nomenclature to military style signification; Added Crew Position, Rank, Full proper name and disposition per MACR 7560.

Date Contributor Update
27 September 2014 18:40:03 AAM AAM ingest
Sources

Dave Osborne, B-17 Fortress Master Log / MACR 7650 / Paul Andrews, Project Bits and Pieces, 8th Air Force Roll of Honor database

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