DUCEMUS - We Lead!

1 September 1944

T/Sgt.. Maurice M. Possley
T/Sgt.. Maurice M. Possley

    Daybreak, on 1 September 1944, was still hours away when the 33rd Bomb Squadron's Charge of Quarters roused S/Sgt. Maurice M. Possley and his crewmates. On Owi, a small island in the Netherlands East Indies, the same was happening to members of 23 additional 22nd Bomb Group air crews. Maurice, from Erie, Illinois was the radio operator on pilot Lt. Robert A. Lint's crew.
1st Lt. Robert A. Lint
1st Lt. Robert A. Lint
Ernie Lint Collection

    Dressed and still groggy, the airmen slowly stumbled through the darkness to the mess hall for a cup of strong coffee and breakfast. Later, at briefing, the crews learned that this would be a historic mission, a milestone on the route to Tokyo. The 5th Air Force had chosen the 22nd to lead the wing on a strike against the dispersal areas at the Matina Airstrip near Davao, Mindanao, P.I. The wing was composed of 55 B-24s from three heavy bomb groups, the 22nd (Red Raiders), the 43rd (Ken's Men) and the 90th (Jolly Rogers). It was the first 5th Air Force daytime strike on the Philippines since withdrawal in 1942 of US forces from Bataan. With each aircraft carrying 180-20 pound free falling fragmentation bombs, take off started at 0610 hours.
Lawrence Wulf Collection
Lawrence Wulf Collection

    After passing through two mild weather fronts, the Red Raiders reached the rendezvous point. In the 22nd Bomb Group Newsletter, Lt. Richard "Mike" Michaels, 33rd Squadron navigator reported: "We were to rendezvous with the 43rd and 90th BG just before the Philippines. When we got there the ceiling was about 12,000 ft. but the 43rd and 90th did not wait for our lead. The flak over Davao was unbelievable for our Pacific area. The gunners had our altitude and we had to go through their flak. Our two wingmen were shot down." His plane, B-24J #42-100317, piloted by Capt. Art C. Henry led the 33rd Squadron at the tail end of the 22nd Bomb Group formation. Strangely, it passed through the heavy, intense and accurate anti-aircraft fire without sustaining any damage.

    On taking a direct hit by an A/A phosphorous shell while over the target, B-24J-90 #42-100291, known as OLE' TOMATO exploded. No chutes were seen and apparently all eleven airmen aboard were killed.

They were:

    Lt. Donald W. White, pilot
    Lt. Alonzo Roundtree, Jr., co-pilot
    Lt. William R. Brown, navigator
    Lt. Joseph A. Coronado, Bombardier
    T/Sgt. Wayne W. Shaw, engineer
    T/Sgt. Arthur K. Miller, Jr., asst. engineer
    T/Sgt. John T. Hooks, radio operator
    S/Sgt. Chester B. New, gunner
    S/Sgt. Raymond Schutrom, gunner
    S/Sgt. William C. Steele, gunner
    Lt. Nathaniel H. Ball, passenger

    Concerning his loss, Lt. Michaels noted, "Ball had begged the C.O. to go, even though he had finished his missions. It was the return to the Philippines and he wanted to go even if only as an observer and the C.O. allowed it."
Charles Shawver Collection
Charles Shawver Collection

    Moments after dropping her bombs, flak damaged engines #3 and #4 on TEMPTATION, B-24J-80 #42-100196, the Liberator being flown off Captain Henry's right wing. The ship's pilot was Lt. Lint from Carmichaels, Pennsylvania. He was extremely well liked and fellow officers simply called him Bobby or Art. This was to be one of his last missions before going home. He had 50 missions under his belt and was awaiting his orders stateside. As the formation headed back towards the sea the crippled plane began to lose altitude and fall behind the formation. The crippled bomber slowly descended through an undercast and angled towards the water. When last seen it was at about 500 feet above the water and a small boat was observed headed in its direction. In a final message Lt. Lint said that he was ceasing communication and preparing to ditch. The time was 1239 hours. The estimated ditch site was about 15 miles from the coast of Mindanao, in Davao Gulf near Cape San Augustin. Searches by a Catalina flying boat and a rescue submarine, as well as a post war search, were fruitless.

Lost were:

    Lt. Robert A. Lint pilot
    Lt. Paul R. Tofte, Co-pilot
    Lt. William C. Mittereder, navigator
    Lt. Richard C. Bennett, bombardier
    T/Sgt. Chester J, Neil, engineer
    Pvt. Charles J. Sweeney, gunner
    S/Sgt. Maurice M. Possley, radio operator
    T/Sgt. Ralph B. Clark, assistant engineer
    Sgt. Howard W. Davis, gunner
    S/Sgt. Edward J. Sebelski, gunner
    S/Sgt. Wallace B. Garner, photographer

    Initially declared missing in action, TEMPTATION'S crew was declared dead in 1946. Dated June 7, 1944, this letter was found in Lt. Lint's effects:

Dear Family,
    As I sit down to write this letter I have had a premonition that my chances of returning home to you are less now than at any time since I've been riding the skyways. I have to date completed 40 missions over the enemies vast territory. So far I've kept coming home which has not been true of others of the American youth stationed at far flung battle areas. With 10 more missions to complete before my turn comes to go home, I want you to know that God will be riding with me on each of them. Should it be that I go out and not return I do not want you to be overly burdened with the thoughts that the sacrifices made by us are not going to be compensated when the last shot is fired and the last mission is flown.
    Am I afraid when I take off on each of my missions? Are my friends and my crew afraid? Yes, my mother we are. It's not the fear you show nor any type of fear you can express. No one speaks of it. No one has ever told me so. Yet I know it. It's just that feeling that God puts in you to help pull you thru the tight spots you get into.
    Mother, just have faith in God's will and know that my being taken away from you was not done to bring you grief and sorrow. Be content with the knowledge that I do not regret that I am to be called on for the greatest mission of them all.
    I have requested no decorations for my work over here. Yes, I could have and could get them. Those things are no good to you where I am now.
    I want you to know I really love everyone of you and am especially grateful to you Mother for the things you've done for me. Though you are far away my thoughts of you have kept me company. Please, have trust and hope for the future I shall never see.

With Love, your son, Arthur

    22nd Bombardment Group's Mission No. 254-A-3, was Lt. Robert A. Lint's 53rd run over an enemy target. Normally, at the time, a combat tour ended with the 50th mission. Lint had flown his 50th on 5 August and had expected to go on detached service. The circumstances that led to his additional missions are unknown.

Cy Klimesh

I am proud to have served with the Red Raiders

Squadron insignia from THE MARAUDERS, courtesy of Bob Crawford

Keep 'em Flying!