THE FINAL MISSION
The 9th Bomb Squadron B-24L #28, piloted by Lt. Nathan Margolies, was part of a March 24, 1945, 7th Bomb Group mission to attack Bridge Q633
on the infamous prisoner-built Burma-Siam Railway.
As the Group was leaving their base in India, Margolies's plane developed an engine oil leak followed by multiple engine malfunctions.
Breaking formation, the ill-fated #28 reversed course over the treacherous Ganges Delta swampland.
Even after salvoing the bomb payload, the extra gas tank, and other removable heavy equipment, the B-24 continued losing altitude.
The bailout command was issued.
Six of the crew bailed out at less than 1,000 feet, and four others ditched with the plane in a delta river.
Lieutenant Scranton's and Staff Sergeant Cunningham's chutes never opened in time; the two men were never found.
The pilot Margolies was trapped aboard the plane and sank with it; neither he nor the plane was ever recovered.
Assistant engineer Staff Sergeant Edward Reed died after reaching the shore; his body was recovered.
The six survivors were rescued the next day.
Two months earlier, on January 21, 1945, Sgt. James Segrest, an original member of Margolies' crew, was killed while
filling in on another bomber that crashed on takeoff, killing all aboard.
Standing, left to right:
1st Lt. James M. Meredith, Bombardier;
S/Sgt. Edward Reed, Assistant Engineer/Gunner;
T/Sgt. James F. Nelson, Radio Operator;
S/Sgt. John E. Cunnigham, Gunner;
S/Sgt. Kenneth W. Herald, Gunner;
S/Sgt. Leo Moriarty, Gunner;
Cpl. John L. Sulgrove, Crew Chief.
Kneeling, left to right:
1st Lt. Arthur R. Chaffee, Co-pilot;
1st Lt. Nathan Margolies, Pilot;
T/Sgt. Stanley P. Sadloski, Engineer;
1st Lt. Edwin E. Scranton, Navigator.
Photo taken February 5, 1945 at Pandaveswar Army Air Base, India, prior to a mission.