2nd Lt. Francis M. "Mike" Iriarte, O-744199

Bombardier - Allison Crew

10th Air Force / 7th Bombardment Group / 9th Bombardment Squadron

Enlisted January 1942

Graduated as Bombardier, Victorville Flying School, February 1943

KIA 15 April 44

Distinguished Flying Cross   Air Medal   Purple Heart


(Info Courtesy of Al Hoffman)



Lt. Iriarte and companion in front of Grace Methodist Church, New York City. Mid- to late-1943


B-24 #42-92948 left Pandaveswar Air Base on the morning of April 15, 1944. The targets were the airfield and docks at Port Blair in the Andaman Islands. From S/Sgt. Herbert B. Page & S/Sgt. Salvatore (NMI) DiBello, the following is the eyewitness account to the downing of Iriarte's ship:


(Click on image to enlarge)

   "On the 15 April 1944 while participating on a combat mission we were attacked by enemy fighters. The first pass knocked out number two engine of our lead ship flown by Lieut. Stanley M. Allison. This engine was feathered. The second pass started number one engine on fire. All passes from then on were concentrated on the crippled ship. We were flying on his right and could see that the right waist gun, the tail turret guns and the left gun on the nose turrett (sic) were not firing. Lieut. Allison pulled out of the formation and was flying at approximately 300 feet. Four parachutes were seen to open, three landed in the water and the other landed in some trees on the island. Losing altitude rapidly it appeared that he was trying to make a landing in the water. Due to the loss of his two engines he could not complete his attempt and crashed into the sea about 100 yards from the shore. Upon impact with the water the ship exploded and burst into flames which died out immediately. Through the smoke we could still see the tail of the plane protruding above the water."

Below is the Missing Air Crews Report #4119:


(Click on image to enlarge)

Lt. Iriarte's Find-A-Grave.com Memorial



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