Aircraft B-24J with serial number 44-40368 departed from Biak Island on a strike mission to Balikpapan, Borneo.
Statement from Major Leland I. Harter.
On 10 October 1944, 1st Lt. Leonard F. Temple and crew were participating in a strike to Balikpapan, Borneo. Lt. Craig and Lt. Temple of the 400th squadron were flying as a two plane element appended to the second element of the 319th squadron. Lt. Craig was flying as lead airplane with Lt. Temple on his right wing. The 319th squadron was leading the group, with their six planes flying in two elements of three plane V’s. The two 400th planes flew in the slot of the second element of the 319th.
Flying at 10,000 feet, at 1050/I, approximately 10 miles north west of the target (01 10 S – 116 56 E) a formation of six Hamps and Zekes made a high frontal attack on our formation, dropping plane to plane aerial burst bombs. One bomb hit the cockpit of Lt. Temple’s plane, causing it to go completely out of control. The plane pulled up, stalled, fell off to the right and went into a steep dive on course to the target area. One man was seen jumping from the plane just before it crashed into the water.
The plane was last sighted as it crashed and exploded near the target area.
Pilot, 1st Lt Leonard F. Temple
Co-Pilot, 1st Lt John L. Homer
Navigator, 2nd Lt Holdman L. Tanner
Bombardier, 1st Lt John G. Pappas
Engineer, T/Sgt Herbert M. Sabin
Assistant Engineer, S/Sgt Gerald D. McGee
Radio Operator, T/Sgt Stanley F. Geraldson
Assistant Radio Operator, S/Sgt John T. Plimb Jr.
Nose Gunner, S/Sgt Martin P. Vugts
Tail Gunner, S/Sgt Denver F. Hammons