B-17 Flying Fortress B-17 42-97455 / Keystone Mama

B-17 #42-97455 / Keystone Mamazoom_in



  • RCL: LL-J

MACR: 4829 / KSU/ME/KU: 1901


History of
B-17 42-97455 / Keystone Mama

Delivered Denver 21/11/43; Wendover 12/12/43; Grenier 16/1/44; Assigned 457BG Glatton 19/2/44; transferred 401BS/91BG [LL-J] Bassingbourn 11/3/44; Missing in Action Berlin 19/5/44 with Bob Wylie, Navigator: Howard Hutchinson, Bombardier: Sid Muzzy, Flight engineer/top turret gunner: Jim Hageman, Radio Operator: Paul Noll, Ball turret gunner: Williard Walker, Waist gunner: Frank George,Tail gunner: Bill Bracken (8 Killed in Action); Co-pilot: Joe Kozina (Prisoner of War); took flak hit in right wing which broke off at #4, crashed Henningsdorf, near Berlin; Missing Air Crew Report 4829. THE KEYSTONE MAMA.

Last updated: 11. June 2022


B-17 42-97455 / Keystone Mama Details

Lt. Horace C. Nichols and crew of the 401st Bomb Squadron, 91st Bomb Group, 8th Air Force, beside the Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress “THE KEYSTONE MAMA”. England, 10 May 1944.

Statements of Eyewitness

Aircraft B-17G, 42-97455, suffered a direct hit by flak at approximately the tail well, which knocked tail assembly completely off. Aircraft rolled over on its back and went straight down. No parachutes were seen”.

1Lt. Lloyd H. Keller

Aircraft B-17G; 42-97455, received a direct burst of flak on the left wing tip which knocked off 5 or 6 feet of the wing. He pulled up to the right going over the ships in his element. The aircraft then dropped off and went into vertical dive, and was last seen entering clouds at about 16,500 feet. No chutes were seen to leave the aircraft. This occurred about 2 minutes before bombs away. No fighters were around our formation at this time. My position was tail gunner”.

S/Sgt. Wallace L. Sexton

Statement of Co-Pilot, Lt. Joseph J. Kozina

Mission to Berlin, Germany, 19 May 1944.

Route over North Sea across Denmark, and south to Berlin, and back a little west of the original south heading of bomb run.

Approxinately six minutes from target, two bursts of flak broke to the right of our plane (flying tail end Charlie), and a second later, the ship shuddered violently, and I saw the right wing rip off at No. 4 engine and fold up and back.

The plane immediately started into a steep vertical dive. Upon seeing the wing disappear, I gave the “Bail Out” order over inter-com. I pulled back on the controls and they just pulled back easily and flopped. Nothing happened (I later learned our empennage had been shot off by the fourth burst of flak). I unbuckled my safety belt, and I was thrown from the seat by some force caused by the gyrations the plane was doing out of control.

I was thrown up and down and all al out the compartment. I lost consciousness, and later came to and found myself floating in the air. I pulled my rip-cord and the jerk of the chute blacked me out again. I recovered at about 6000 feet and safely landed in a patch of woods in someone’s garden. I hid all affects on my person that would aid the enemy, and hid out in the woods until nightfall, at which time I started walking.

I was caught on the night of the 21st of May, 0130 hours and put in the city jail. The town I was caught in was Herzberg, Germany.

The plane went down northwest of Doenigsdorf, within a radius of 13 miles of the town.

1Lt. Joseph J. Kozina

Source: MACR 4829


B-17 42-97455 / Keystone Mama Crew

Position Rank Name Status Note
P 1LT Robert S. Wylie KIA
CP 2LT Joseph J. Kozina POW
BOMB F/O Sidney W. Muzzy KIA
ENG/TT T/SGT James T. Hageman KIA
RO T/SGT Paul W. Noll KIA
BT S/SGT Willard L. Walker KIA
WG S/SGT Frank J. George KIA
TG S/SGT William M. Bracken KIA

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