On 21 November 1944 a B-24J, “Cabin In The Sky,” # 44-40811, assigned to 10th Air Force, 7th Bomb Group, 492nd Bomb Squadron, departed the airfield at Madhaicanj, India, on a combat mission over Geang Luang. It was seen by 2ndLt John E. Bittner, 0-696419, 2ndLt John J. Probst, 0-703520, and 1stLt John J. Berry, 0-696738, to crash, killing all on board, at about 1650 hours after a fire and explosion occurred in the wing between # 1 and # 2 engines, likely caused by anti-aircraft fire. The crew was:


                                         Pilot                             1stLt Charles E. Mead                         0-694841

                                         Co-Pilot                       2ndLt Louis W. Cochran                     0-764231

                                         Navigator                    2ndLt Albert J. Sita                              0-707340

                                         Bombardier                  2ndLt Frank B. Schrump                     0-703401

                                         Crew Chief                  TSgt Robert E. Kooi                           36458906

                                         Radio Operator            TSgt Leo J. Ullman                              12084339

                                         Asst Crew Chief           SSgt Carl W. Eickhorst                        36630569

                                        Gunner                        SSgt Russell V. Randall                        12031238

                                        Gunner                        SSgt Santo J. Beutecale                        39014707

                                        Gunner                        SSgt Lennard M. Litzell                       37307245

                                        Passenger                     ACI W. G. Duff                                   RAF (British)

                                                           (All enlisted crewmen also worked as gunners)


1stLt Berry reported that he saw the fire and the B-24 crashed beyond a ridge. 2ndLt Bittner reported that he heard Lt. Miller say, “Mead has an engine on fire.” The left wing seemed on fire, the flames back to the rudder. The B-24 hit the trees and exploded. Bombs then exploded. 2ndLt Probst reported that a puff of smoke appeared near engine # 2. Flames grew and spread to engine # 1. The B-24 hit the ground about 2 ½ miles from the target. It exploded on impact and burned. The bombs then exploded. It was about twenty-five miles southwest of Bhre, Thailand.


The next-of-kin listed were:


                                              Mead               Joseph F. Mead, F, Box 213, Dryden, NY

                                              Cochran           L. W. Cochran, W, 277 Lyndhurst Plc, Lexington, KY

                                              Sita                  Charles Sita, F, 40 Maple St., Mansfield, Mass.

                                              Schrump          Minnie M. Schrump, M, 224 Seaver St., New Britien, CT

                                              Litzell              Gladys E. Litzell, W, 226 N. 62nd Ave. West, Duluth, Minnesota

                                              Kooi                Alice Kooi, M, 120 Wall St., Kalamazoo, Mich.

                                              Ullman             Olive Ulmann, M, 1921 23rd Drv, Asteria, Long Island, NY

                                              Eickhorst         Alice M. Eickhorst, W, 5623 S. ?iddaugh Ave., Downers Grove, IL

                                              Randall            Ernest V. Randall, F, RFD 1, Phelps, NY

                                              Beutezale         Santo Beutezale, F, Atwater, CA