41-24218 on MACR (also in fold3.com as 42-38245) 11907


On 15 September 1943 a B-24J Liberator, “Daisy May,” # 41-24218, assigned to 14th Air Force, 308th Bomb Group, 373rd Bomb Squadron, Yangkai, China, departed the airfield to bomb Haiphong, French Indochina (Annam or Vietnam). It was attacked by enemy fighters and the crew killed. The crew was:

                                      Pilot                             Capt. Leroy D. Cunningham                 0-431945

                                      Co-Pilot                       1stLt Richard P. Hjorth                          0-730120

                                      Navigator                     Capt. James M. Everly                          0-728365

                                      Bombardier                  Capt. Maynard P. Johnson                     0-663272

                                      Crew Chief                  TSgt Michael B. Ludwig                       39181221

                                      Radio Operator            TSgt Vincent J. Pizzoferrato                 15071556

                                      CC Gunner                   SSgt Leo J. Kennedy                            20121837

                                      Radio Gunner               TSgt Kenneth H. Pershke                     13040925

                                      Gunner                         SSgt Eldred W. Stafney                        37281162

                                      Observer                      2ndLt Pu Shi Ping                    Chinese Air Force

The flight of five of seven B-24s (two were unable to take off) were to bomb the cement plant. Planners were unaware of enemy fighters that had been brought in and were nearby. The B-25s had no fighter cover and were attacked by about 50 enemy fighters over Haiphong at about 8,000’ altitude. A crew reported that they saw 41-24218 going down in a spin, its bomb bay door close, and no parachutes were seen. Capt. Don B. Smith, 0-793188 reported that he saw the B-24 flip inverted and crash into the Bay [Gulf] of Tonkin. There was an explosion when it impacted the water. The body of TSgt Pershke was recovered by French who saw the crash. The rest of the formation parted and dropped their bombs in the Gulf of Tonkin to improve their chances of escaping the many enemy fighters. The listed next-of-kin were:

                                 Cunningham                Cunningham, W, 2402 E. Chestnut St., Yakima, WA

                                 Everly                          Mrs. Elmer L. Chenault, M, Cardin, OK

                                 Johnson                       Paul F. Johnson, F, 2330 Parmelo St., Rockford, IL

                                 Hjorth                          W, 316 McClinton St., El Monte, CA

                                 Ludwig                        Margaret O. Ludwig, W, Rte 2 Box 147, Canes, WA

                                 Pizzoferrato                 Norma J. Pizzoferrato, W, 3214 Windson Place SW, Canton, OH

                                 Pershke                        Pauline G. Pershke, M, 624 Anderson St., Braddock, PA

                                 Stafney                         Hyacinth W. Stafney, W, North Hotel, Rm 18, Billings, MT

                                 Kennedy                      Cornilia Ann Kennedy, W, 764 Adams St., Denver, CO