321stBG,446thBS, T/Sgt. James "Raymond" Orechia, Radio/Gunner, KIA 15 May '44 /George Walsh Crew/Flamingo
The following are excerpts referencing the "Crash" of the B-25 Mitchell Airplane, A/C(AirCraft) No.42-32429, Nick-Named "Flamingo" which took the life of James R. "Raymond" Orechia & his fellow crew members:
15 May 1944 (page 97)
HQ 321st BG War Diary: "The 446th was hit hard today over Porto Ferraio and lost 4 planes out of 9 that flew. The others were shot up quite a bit. Lt. Walsh's plane burned on landing, the entire crew killed."
15 May 1944 (page 98)
HQ 321st BG Mission Summary: (Ops Order 331/Mission 330/Group Mission #290)
19 A/C took off to bomb Orvieto South RR Bridge at A-581485 and Porto Ferraio, the alternate. Results: the leader of the second flight had a bad engine and finding overcast over the coast, elected to attack alternate, which he did on a 240*(degree) axis; ship #499--Lt. Othick and ship #697--Lt. Sampson went down just past target. Lt. Sampson reported landing at Pinosa and 6 chutes reported from #499. Ship #429--Lt. Walsh crash landed at the base due to no brakes.
15 May 1944 (page 102)
446th BS War Diary: The squadron loses Lt. George Walsh, Lt. Harry B. Wilcox, Lt. Roy W. Lee, Technical Sergeant James Orechia, Staff Sgt. E.P. Thornton and Staff Sgt. Lawrence Shellhamer in a crash landing at our field. A crash landing was made and the plane burned upon striking the ground with all members of the crew killed.
Another of our ships had to be landed in the water and the crew was rescued by Air Sea Rescue patrols.
A third ship was forced down at Pianosa Island held by the enemy and the
following men are presumed to be Prisoners of War: Lts. Othick, Mayfield, Griffin and EM Youngblood, Cobb and Miller. Sergeant Napoliello, on the sea crash plane, had to make his second parachute jump and both leaps were on the same day of the same month. He made a jump on May 15th of 1943 in Mississippi.
Cobb, Alvie J., Sgt, gunner
Griffin, Patrick A., 2Lt, bombardier
Lee, Roy N., 2Lt, pilot
Mayfield, Estel A., 2Lt, pilot
Miller, Edward J., Sgt, gunner
Napoliello, Felix, Sgt, gunner
Orechia, James R., T/Sgt, radio-gunner
Othick, Ronald R., 1Lt, pilot
Shellhamer, Lawrence, S/Sgt, engineer-gunner
Thornton, Edward P., S/Sgt, gunner
Walsh, George F., Lt, pilot
Wilcox, Harry B., Jr., 2Lt, bombardier
Youngblood, Woodrow W., S/Sgt, radio-gunner
446th BS Mission Summary: Squadron Mission 247
TARGET: Orvieto Station RR Bridge DATE: 15 May 1944
Porto Ferraio, Elba (Alt)
Type of Bombs: 1000 lb. Demo. 446th Planes: 8
Lt. Morris and Lt. Moss led the formation. The first flight reported direct his on the center and both approaches of the bridge. At the alternate, the second flight reported direct hits in the commercial harbor area and on two boats. Flak was heavy, intense and accurate.
Lt. Othick’s plane was badly hit over the target and was reported to have made a successful crash-landing on the Island of Pianosa. It is assumed that the crew members were taken prisoners by the enemy.
Lt. Sampson’s plane also suffered direct hits from flak and the entire crew wounded by fragments. Heading for the open sea, Lt. Sampson gave the order to bail out, he being the last to leave, after which the plane exploded in mid-air. Air-Sea Rescue were able to pick up all the men.
Lt. Walsh crash-landed at the home base, upon hitting the runway, the plane exploded and burned, due to the fact that it was saturated with gasoline from leaking fuel lines. Lt. Walsh was thrown clear of the plane, but died in the hospital from burns received. The other crew members could not be rescued, and all perished in the burning bomber.
After an emergency landing Lt. Hodges’ emergency brakes failed while taxiing and the plane crashed into a ditch, collapsing the landing gear. Lt.Vivas returned early with an oil leak in the right engine.
Hodges, Richard E., 2Lt, pilot Morris, Meade L., Jr., Lt, pilot
Moss, Lt, pilot (Robert P., 381st ?) Sampson, Allan T., 1Lt, pilot
Vivas, Frank Paul, 1Lt, pilot
A/C No.42-32429 "Flamingo" crash landing
P->Walsh, George F., 1Lt
CP->Lee, Roy N., 2Lt
B->Wilcox, Harry B., Jr., 2Lt
E->Shellhamer, Lawrence, S/Sgt
R->Orechia, James R., T/Sgt
G-> Thornton, Edward P., S/Sgt
A/C No. 43-27499 shot down
P-> Othick, Ronald R., 1Lt
CP-> Mayfield, Estel A., 2Lt
B-> Griffin, Patrick A., 2Lt
E-> Cobb, Alvie J., Sgt
R-> Youngblood, Woodrow W., S/Sgt
G-> Miller, Edward J., Sgt
446th BS Mission Summary: Squadron Mission 248
TARGET: Nickeling Mission, Velletri, Italy. DATE: 15 May 1944 Type of Bombs: Leaflets 446th Planes: 2
Leaflets were successfully dropped. Flak was light, medium, intense from A/D ten miles
SW of Rome.
~~~ Research by Patti Johnson, Raymonds' distant Cousin and 57th BW Historical Researcher, as well as all of WWII and a GREAT Genealogist. ~~~~ Placed 9 Nov. 2012