B-17 Flying Fortress B-17 42-102429

B-17 Bomber Flying Fortress – The Queen Of The Skies 42-102429


MACR: 6955


History of
B-17 42-102429

Delivered Cheyenne 2/3/44; Hunter 18/3/44; Morrison 2/4/44; Assigned 840BS/483BG Sterparone 17/4/44; Missing in Action Ploesti 15/7/44 with Vic Vlahovich, Bellonio, Gusciora, Ryan, Navarro, Stewart, Fletcher, Watkins, Barton, Van Deren (10 Killed in Action); flak, crashed on mountain; Missing Air Crew Report 6955.

Last updated: 12. February 2020


B-17 42-102429 Details

Statement of Witness from MACR 6955

Airplane No. 42-102429 was one of the five ships in our box. The ship was apparently damages by flak over the target, about five minutes later I noticed that No. 2 Engine was feathered. The ship , 653 piloted by Lt. Kilpatrick remained with the formation for a while and then the entired crew bailed out. About ten minutes past this point the remainder of the box scattered due to clouds that extended from approximately 6000 feet to 18000 feet. Our ship climbed through this front until we reached an altitude of about 12000 feet. The last time that I saw 429, the pilot seemed to be trying to get under the overcast.

Louis E. guerrina
1st Lt., Air Corps

I saw an unidentified airplane about eight or ten miles to our left, on our way back to the Italien coast. I saw it hit the water twice and then disappear. This was about fourty three miles from the coast according to our navigator

T/Sgt. Peter E. Mendoza
Engineer, Crew 810

Lt. Vlahovich lost its #2 engine in Airplane No. 42-102429 in the target area. However, he seemed to have no other difficulty and kept flying tight formation.

When Lt. Kilpatrick’s ship (42-97653) went down, he followed it at least part of the way. Then our formation hit a cloud bank and scattered. We started to climb and when we hat reached an altitude of about 15000 ft. I saw a B-17 flying a course parallel to ours. He was much lower than we were and to our right. We continued climbing and I lost sight of him.

About five minutes after we hit the Adratic the undercast broke. We were about 21000 ft and once again I saw an airplane very low and to our right. However I cannot positively identify it as a B-17. I lost sight of that plane after a while.

When we were half way across the Adratic Lt. Scott called and said that an airplane had just ditched. He immediately started to do 360° spirals and came down to 1500 ft. One the way down, we called Air, Sea Rescue and gave them our position and all the particulars. During the time we spiraled down I saw no signs of any aircraft, dingny or personell in the water. As we only had three good engines and limited fuel we finally resumed our course. A short distance from the scene of the ditching we saw a PBY or some sort of naval aircraft. It was at about 2000 ft. altitude and appeared to be flying a varying cource.

2nd Lt. Jack H. Leatherman
Co-Pilot (999)


B-17 42-102429 Crew

Position Rank Name Status Note
P 1LT Victor P. Vlahovich KIA
CP 2LT Michael J. Bellonio KIA
BOMB 2LT Arthur F. Ryan KIA
ENG/TT T/SGT Charles P. Navarro KIA
RO T/SGT Bernard B. Fletcher KIA
WG S/SGT Stephen H. Barton KIA
--- CPL Leolass C. Stewart KIA Asst Engineer
--- T/SGT Robert J. Watkins KIA Asst Radio Op.
--- S/SGT Alfred L. VanDeren, Jr. KIA Asst Gunner

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