Tribute to My Grandfather - Frederic N. Hernandez

10th Air Force / 7th Bombardment Group / 493rd Bombardment Squadron

TSgt. Erniest M. "Don" Neil, 14054610, Radio Operator - Olson Crew

Enlisted: 20 Aug 41

Distinguished Flying Cross    Air Medal

2Lt. John A. Neudorfer, O-730155

Enlisted: 23 Jan 42

Distinguished Flying Cross w/Oak Leaf Cluster   Air Medal w/Oak Leaf Cluster

1Lt. Robert E. Nickels, O-731411, Navigator - Gunther Crew

Distinguished Flying Cross    Air Medal w/Oak Leaf Cluster

Cpl. Frank R. Nolf, 12075198, Aerial Gunner - Cheaney Crew

Nolf was a gunner on B-24L #44-41440, assigned to the 10th Air Force, 7th Bombardment Group, 493rd Bombardment Squadron. They were part of a six plane formation that departed Pandaveswar India to search the Bay of Bengal for a B-29 that had not returned from a bombing mission. The B-24 was seen to veer away from the course the rest of the planes were flying and it did not return to base. Subsequent searches found that Nolf's plane had crashed on top of the Banjhikusam Mountain Range about twenty miles west southwest of Udala Burma.

1Lt. Carrol C. Norris, O-705773, B-24 Pilot

Enlisted: 12 Aug 42

Distinguished Flying Cross   Air Medal w/Oak Leaf Cluster

TSgt. Sidney A. Nunez, 14071026, Flight Engineer - Ingham Crew

Enlisted: 10 Dec 41

Distinguished Flying Cross   Air Medal   Purple Heart

was the flight engineer on B-24 #42-73070, assigned to the 10th Air Force, 7th Bombardment Group, 493rd Bombardment Squadron. They were part of a formation to bomb targets in the Rangoon area. About 15 minutes from the target area they were attacked by Japanese fighter planes. the bomber lost #1 engine and they fell behind the formation, losing altitude. They dropped their bombs over the target and seemed to hold 9,400 feet until just south and east of Akyab, when they went into a heavy cloud bank and were not seen again. Because his body was not recovered, he is memorialized on the Tablets of the Missing.

Capt. Donald G. Nutter, O-755743, B-24 Pilot

Enlisted: 5 Jun 42    Honorable Discharge: 15 Aug 45

Distinguished Flying Cross w/2 Oak Leaf Clusters   Air Medal w/2 Oak Leaf Clusters

With the outbreak of World War II, Nutter joined the Army Air Forces. As a B-24 bomber pilot, he flew 62 combat missions, logging more than 500 hours of combat time. He spent 13 months in the China-Burma-India Theater and was discharged at the rank of captain after 39 months of service.
He returned to eastern Montana and opened his own farm implement dealership in Sidney and in 1948 began working toward a law degree. Nutter was elected to the Montana State Senate in 1950, serving his eastern Montana constituents while attending law school in western Montana. In 1954, he was admitted to the Montana Bar and re-elected in the state senate. After defeat as the incumbent seeking a third term, he served as the chairman of the Montana Republican Central Committee from 1958 to 1960. He secured the Republican gubernatorial nomination and was elected governor in November 1960.
On the night of January 25, 1962, Nutter was en route to a speaking engagement in Cut Bank when the C-47 Skytrain he was a passenger in crashed. Winds exceeding 100 mph sheared off one of the wings of the plane, causing the aircraft to go down in Wolf Creek Canyon north of Helena. Also killed in the crash were Dennis Gordon, his executive secretary; Edward Wren, commissioner of agriculture; and three members of the Montana Air National Guard: Maj. Clifford Hanson, Maj. Joseph Devine and Master Sgt. Charles Ballard.
Nutter's casket lay in state in Montana's Capitol House Chambers, flanked by the caskets of Wren and Gordon and under watch by two Montana National Guardsmen, prior to being interred in the Sidney City Cemetery in Sidney, Montana.
Elsewhere in Sidney, Nutter is remembered with a statue in Central Park and by the Donald G. Nutter Building, which is home to the Richland County Extension Office.
At the Montana State Capitol in Helena, a bronze plaque outside the south entrance to the statehouse remembers Nutter and the others lost in the 1962 air crash.

493rd BS Personnel

7th BG Personnel