1LT David Noble Riker KIA 13 April 1944

15th Airforce

461st Bomber Group, 766th Bomber Squadron

        1LT David Riker was my wife's great uncle.  He died while bombing an aircraft parts factory over Budapest, Hungary.  His plane, piloted by Bauman and co-piloted by Riker was hit by FLAK directly over the target and fell into the trail plane.  Riker's plane had 12 on board that day and none were able to exit the aircraft; all were killed.  The other aircraft, piloted by Mowery, was struck by Riker's B-24.  The prop of Riker's plane killed the co-pilot of the other plane while he was still strapped in the seat.  Mowery was able to re-gain control of his plane and gave the order to bail out.  All but the co-pilot exited the aircraft.  Unfortunately, Mowery's chute didn't open and he was killed as well. 



MACR 3974, Plane 42-52366 Lost 13 APR 44

Click to expand, zoom to read.  These are old and fuzzy.  Declassified in 1982.


                                                        Plane Type:  B-24H

                                   Serial # 42-52366

                                   Plane #44, Original Squadron Assignment

                                   OD Finish, Mfg Ford at Willows Run, Michigan, 1942

                                   Plane Name: Spirit Of Hollywood

                                   Lost 4/13/1944

Ford Willow Run Manufacturing Plant

Another view of Willow Run

Flight Crews wait at Willow Run for their B24s.


Crew of Spirit of Hollywood

Bauman, Charles W., Pilot
Riker, David N., Co-Pilot (My wife's great uncle)
Ritacco, Frank E., Navigator
Zabriskie, Edward F., Bombardier
Brindle, Alfred G., Engineer/Gunner
Bross, Edward C., Gunner
Brzezinski, Edmund J., Gunner
Carroll, Leo G., Gunner
Velarde, Leopoldo, Engineer/Gunner
Ventresca, Michael, Radio Operator/Gunner
Squadron Archive Mission Synopsis:
Mission #07 
13 April 1944
Target: Duna Tokol Aircraft Components Factory, Budapest, Hungary 
For the seventh mission, which was against the Duna Tokol A/C Components
Factory at Budapest, RDX bombs were used for the first time by this Group.
Major Burke flew as Group leader for the first time.  On this mission a 
total of 58 enemy aircraft were seen.  Several encounters were experienced, 
three enemy planes were destroyed and three more claimed as probable.  
Twin-engine enemy airplanes fired rockets at the formation.  Single engine 
enemy airplanes flew parallel with the Group at a safe distance and radioed 
headings, altitude, and air speed to their ground installations.  Flak over 
the target was intense, accurate, and heavy.  Two bombers were lost over the
target.  1st Lt. Charles W. Bauman, flying the deputy lead position in A  
Flight of the second Section, had part of a wing shot off by flak.  His plane
fell into the plane in the number 4 position of the same flight, which was 
piloted by 2nd Lt. Paul S. Mowery.  A third plane flown by 2nd Lt. Kay B. 
Steele, which had come off the target with the formation, failed to return to
the Base.  Colonel Glantzberg, who was flying as co-pilot in a plane in the 
second Section, led a small formation of planes in chasing attacking Ju-88s 
away from this damaged plane.  He was unable, however, to stay with the plane 
because of an undercast.  Fifteen planes were damaged over this target. Again 
the Group turned in an excellent mission by dropping 45 per cent of its bombs 
within 1,000 feet of the briefed aiming point on a comparatively rectangular 
building well hidden in woods.
Photo of target after the bombing.  The unit received a citation for their bravery on this day.  

Crew of #49, "Gloria Jean"

This is the plane that was struck by the Spirit of Hollywood as it went down due to heavy FLAK.

Standing: Reed, George E. (N); Mowery, Paul S. (P) [KIA]; Owens, George L. Jr. (CP) [KIA]; Sanders, Robert M. (B)

Kneeling: Dean, Harry E. (TG); Johnson, Lenard S. (WG); Zippilli, Joseph S. (E/TT); Moreno, John V. 'Bob' (NG); Hoch, Daniel R. (BG)

Not Pictured - Childs, Cayton (RO/WG)



MACR 4649, Plane 42-52336 Lost 13 APR 44

Click to expand, zoom to read.  These are old and fuzzy.  Declassified in 1982.



Irony of War: This B-24 that my wife's great uncle was shot down in, was built at Willow Run where my aunt worked to build B-24s.

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