It seemed the # 3 and # 4 propellars of Lt. Bodmer’s B-24 cut off the tail of Maj. Bradford’s B-24 at a point just behind the waist windows. Maj. Bradford’s B-24 climbed violently and fell into a spin. Lt. Bodmer’s B-24 lost a bomb bay door and fell off onto the right wing, did a half-turn-spin, then spiraled down. Both B-24s hit the water about 200 yards apart and exploded. No parachutes were seen. It was near Bilugynn Island, Bay of Martaban. He is remembered on the memorial wall of the missing in the Manila Cemetery & Memorial, Philippines. He was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross, the Air Medal and the Purple Heart.
His brother, Jolly J. “Bagu” Harkins, born 13 September 1915, served in the U.S. Army, Captain, during WW II (European Theater), enlisted 3 March 1941 (National Guard then activated) and Korea. He died on 30 September 2014 and is buried in the Shady Grove Cemetery, Shady Grove, Texas.
His brother, Claude E. Harkins, born 9 January 1922, served in the U.S. Merchant Marines during WW II. He died on 27 June 2009 and is buried in the Fairview Cemetery, Bastrop, Texas.
WEIGAND, JOHN BAPTIST SHEA, Technical Sergeant, # 3751569, USAAF
John B. Weigand was born on 2 January 1923 in Kansas to William Alford Weigand (1882-1947) and Marie Catherine Weigand (1893-1981). Siblings included Kathleen (Weigand) Glotzbach (1924-1997) and Marie Antoinette Weigand (1930-2000).
After enlisting, he was trained in the maintenance and operation of the radio equipment on the B-24 and earned his crewman wings. He was sent overseas to India. On 22 October 1944, a flight of B-24Js, including # 44-40588, # 44-40992, and # 44-70414, assigned to 10th Air Force, 7th Bomb Group, 493rd Bomb Squadron, departed the airfield at Pandaveswar, India, on a bombing mission over Moulmein, Burma. The bombers were hit by anti-aircraft fire, collided, and crashed, exploding. Five minutes after bombing the target at about 1202 hours, the formation was attacked by eight to twelve enemy fighters. He saw Oscars. Lt. Blair was in the # 2 position on the wing of Lt. Young. Maj. Jack Bradford, 0-424404 (OK), was in the # 4 position behind Lt. Young. 1stLt. Bodmer was in the # 3 position and Lt. Hill was in the # 5 position. When the enemy fighters were sighted, the formation closed. On the 3rd or 4th pass by the enemy, Lt. Blair’s # 2 engine caught on fire. He pulled out slightly left and feathered the engine. The fire went out and Lt. Blair made a diving left turn into clouds. He was not seen afterwards. Five minutes later, Maj. Bradford appeared to be looking back to see what happened to the other bombers. He was flying a rough formation but none of his bomber’s movements were violent. His bomber descended slightly to the left. He pulled up just under Lt. Bodmer, who was flying to the front and left of him. As he pulled up, Lt. Bodmer climbed up and out.