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Help with B-17F Serial # 42-5102


brandon_rss18
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brandon_rss18

Thanks so much to forum member Locobuster for helping me discover the plane that my Great Cousin was flying when he was killed. He was flying a B-17F Serial (Tail) # 42-5102. I would like to find out any info on this plane and if there is a photo anywhere out there in the world, I would like to know lol. But any info on it would be great. The plane crashed 25 miles North of Glenrock, WY on February 25th, 1943. He was part of a training wing and belonged to the 461st Bomb Squadron 331st Bomb Group. Pilots name Louis E. Machala and plane went down due to bad weather. Any help on this plane would be greatly appreciated, and if no help can be given on the plane, I would also like to request any info about the 331st BG here in Wyoming or even better if any info can be found at all for the 461st BS. Thanks a lot guys, and thanks again Loco for making this possible. thumbsup.gif

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Brandon.

 

It was my pleasure to help you discover your great cousins' story. As for the aircraft, the record card is on file at Maxwell AFB with the AFHRA and copies can be obtained along with the accident report, which may contain photos of the aircraft.

 

Cheers! thumbsup.gif

Syd

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  • 1 month later...

Hello, Brandon – My cousin, Staff Sergeant Eugene (“Gene”) Giles was on the training flight with your great cousin, Louis Machala. Gene died with Lt. Machala in the crash of #42-5102 on February 25, 1943 near Glenrock, Wyoming. Our family has a box of information about Gene and related info on the crash, including a copy of the accident report from Maxwell AFB.

 

Gene was the youngest crewman and was only 18 when the plane crashed into a Wyoming hillside that snowy night. He was trained as a radio operator/gunner and his duty on #42-5102 was listed as a radio operator.

 

I have Gene's memories safely packed away in a box and preserved in my home. I would be glad to share anything with you, so let me know where you are in your search for information and I can hopefully fill in any gaps.

 

Gene’s death was a significant loss to our family and we miss him to this day. I’m sure your family feels the same about Lt. Machala. Their story is a sad one, but certainly worth remembering and their sacrifice will never be forgotten.

 

All the best to you,

 

Mark Perry

Zionsville, Indiana

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brandon_rss18
Hello, Brandon – My cousin, Staff Sergeant Eugene (“Gene”) Giles was on the training flight with your great cousin, Louis Machala. Gene died with Lt. Machala in the crash of #42-5102 on February 25, 1943 near Glenrock, Wyoming. Our family has a box of information about Gene and related info on the crash, including a copy of the accident report from Maxwell AFB.

 

Gene was the youngest crewman and was only 18 when the plane crashed into a Wyoming hillside that snowy night. He was trained as a radio operator/gunner and his duty on #42-5102 was listed as a radio operator.

 

I have Gene's memories safely packed away in a box and preserved in my home. I would be glad to share anything with you, so let me know where you are in your search for information and I can hopefully fill in any gaps.

 

Gene’s death was a significant loss to our family and we miss him to this day. I’m sure your family feels the same about Lt. Machala. Their story is a sad one, but certainly worth remembering and their sacrifice will never be forgotten.

 

All the best to you,

 

Mark Perry

Zionsville, Indiana

 

OMG this is amazing!!!!! Im sending you a PM! w00t.gif

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  • 8 years later...
Goosenheimer

I am glad you all maintain the connection to your relatives involved in this crash. I thought you might like to know that B-17 42-5102 was the first B-17 to arrive at the Casper Army Air Base in 1942. It was affectionately named "The Casper Kid". If you have not visited the Air Base, I extend to all of you an open invitation to visit the Air Base and walk in their footsteps. The Air Base is very intact and is one of the best preserved left in the nation. You can check on the Museum that celebrates the Air Base's history via Facebook: Wyoming Veterans Museum, which is located in the WWII Enlistedmen's Service Club. This was a building that certainly hosted the enlisted crewmen of Machala's crew. We have a lot of information about the 331st and 461st. You are welcome to send me an inquiry. If you visit the museum we have a large collection of photographs and archives about the Air Base.

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  • 4 years later...

In 2021, researchers with the Friends of the Wyoming Veterans Memorial Museum discovered the Machala B-17F (42-5102) crash site. The exact location had been a mystery for over 60 years. The site is NW of Douglas, Wyoming, and several tens of miles from previous searches and as reported in official and press reports. Even the current landowner had no clue it was a crash site. The aircraft hit the ground steeply and at high speed, scattering small pieces of wreckage over several acres. Friends are currently researching living relatives of Machala crewmembers. A memorial service for family members is being planned for July 2022. For more information, contact the Museum.

MACHALA AMSPOKER SITE (41).JPG

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  • 8 months later...
Msquared

The Friends of the Wyoming Veterans Memorial Museum successfully conducted a public memorial service honoring the ten-man Machala crew lost on February 25, 1943, northwest of Douglas, Wyoming. The crash site was found by the Friends in 2021.

 

Under beautiful weather, about 30 attendees watched as the Wyoming Army National Guard Funeral Team conducted a military funeral ceremony. A T6 Texan flown by an EAA member from Casper made some passes culminating in a missing man formation pull-up directly over the crash site. There was not a dry eye in the place.

 

After the funeral service, attendees were led by members of the Colorado Aviation Historical Society to the crash site and debris field. The violence of the crash was very apparent by the debris field, and many people hung their heads in prayer for the young men who perished here.

 

Although Friends was able to contact relatives of some crewmembers, none were able to attend. We do, however, have landowner permission to escort relatives to the site if they decide to travel here.

 

Contact markmilliken99@gmail.com for more information about this and other crash sites we have discovered and for which we are planning future memorials.

 

https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/1PpMRyl3qOBfazGdNjt3L5UNQ-rOQ86e-?usp=sharing

 

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