Aircraft Wrecks in the Mountains and Deserts of the American West



On the morning of May 29, 1943, B-24D #42-40397 departed Pocatello Army Air Base, ID, for an over-water navigation training mission above the Pacific Ocean.  The aircraft was assigned to the 538th Bomb Squadron, 382nd Bomb Group.  After refueling at Marysville AAF, CA, the aircraft was to fly west to a point about 150 miles offshore, where it would rendezvous with 9 other B-24's.  Weather that day was good, with some clouds at 10,000 ft.  After departing Marysville at 3:18 p.m., no radio contact was made with the bomber, and it was not seen by any other aircraft.  #42-40397 failed to show up at the rendezvous point, and the next day aircraft from Hamilton AAF, CA, began a search over land and sea.  A possible life raft was spotted, but further investigation was hampered by bad weather over the next few days.  The search was suspended on June 3, 1943, and the B-24D was declared lost at sea.  No trace of it was ever found.


Pilot                                Lt. Paul V. Pavel, Solon, IA
Co-Pilot                         Lt. Forrest H. Branson, San Diego, CA
Navigator                      Lt. Paul R. Ohlhault, Cincinatti, OH
Bombardier                  Lt. Raymond R. Ramey, Wyandotte, MI
Engineer                        S/Sgt. Edwin H. Johnson, Indian Springs, GA
Radio Operator           Sgt. Carleton H. Lewis, Higginsville, WV
Assistant Engineer      S/Sgt. Elvin L. Grundstrom, Duluth, MN
Assistant Radio           Sgt. Henry J. Marra, Dysart, PA
Gunner                          S/Sgt. Harry E. Williford, Elvins, Missouri
Armorer-Gunner         S/Sgt. Edgar H. Schmidt, Oshkosh, WI



Lt. Paul V. Pavel, pilot of #42-40397 (Courtesy of his nephew, Joe Goodlove)


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