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Kizer Crew, MACR #7180, Yap Island Mission, 15 July 1944
13th Air Force, 371st Bombardment Squadron, 307th Bombardment Group

Information and pictures on this page have been reprinted with permission from the Thomas Wiley.
Please submit additioanl 307th Bomb Group information and pictures to: pat@missingaircrew.com


5 of 10 members of the Kizer Crew shown after rescue on Los Negros, July 17, 1944. Gayle Kizer, Bob Ashby, Dean Wiley, Hilary Gilbert, and Erickson (not pictured). Erickson was the only one to survive the war. He opted for ground duty after the Kuly 15 crash.
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Note: Of the five men who were rescued from the Kizer Crew loss on 15 July 1944, only one man lived to see the end of the war (Erickson). The other four men were lost in separate B-24 losses on later dates. The pilot, Gayle Kizer, was shot down and killed on October 22, 1944 near Borneo. Click on the following link to view an account of the search for his second lost plane by the father of one of the crew members after the war. Kizer Article

Kizer plane shot up and ditched about 240 miles north of Wakde Island. Plane #42-40857 made a forced landing at 1616, local time, at the position 01º 50' North 144º 18' East, about 350 miles northwest of the admiralty Islands. Five members of the eleven -man crew were rescued by a PBY plane on 17 July 1944. According to the survivors, all crew members escaped from the plane which sank in about 4 minutes. Sergeant McNab was injured in the landing. The survivors were on tow lift rafts and it was believed that the missing personnel were on a third raft. Just before dawn on the first night, crew members on one raft heard calls from another raft and believed that they recognized the voices of Lt. Klinefelter and Corporal Patla. Two survivors also reported seeing the balloon for the radio signal on 17 July 1944 and followed the direction of the signal unit it dropped. However, no sightings were made. It was the opinion of the organization headquarters that these men could have drifted to some island or been picked up by an enemy vessel. The rate of drift in this area is 12-18 miles a day, and the plane went down between the north equatorial current which flows east and the south equatorial current which flows west.

Sgt. Hilary Gilbert was rescued from the Lt. Kizer Crew crash on 15 July 1944 and shot down a second time with the Anthony crew on 10 August 1944

Sgt. Hilary Gilbert was rescued on 17 July 1944 after going down with the Kizer crew on a mission to Yap. He was shot down a second time less then a month later with the Anthony crew on 10 August 1944. He was captured by the Japanese near the mouth of the Yap harbor with Sgt. Reyond B. Mooney after bailing out of the Anthony B-24. On 11 August 1944 the two captured flyers left Yap on board the Special Sub chaser #27 under the command of Ensign Miyake Hito. On August 13 they reached Palau. On August 19 the POWs were put on the Japanese cruiser Kinu at Palau to be transferred to Manila by way of Cebu. The Kinu was likely sunk by American subs as it approached Manila.

Kizer Crew Documents:

The following documents were supplied by Tom Wiley:

Letter from Lt. Richard Wiley to his parents describing the Kizer shoot down and rescue.

Memorial Service document for Hillary Gilbert, Jr. dated March 31, 1946

Gayle Kizer Memorial Service Document, March 24, 1946

24 March 1992 letter from Sheldon Holland to Tom Wiley about the Kizer Crew

29 September 1993 letter from Charles A. Kliest to Tom Wiley about the Kizer Crew

29 Tom Wiley letter to Pat Ranfranz explaining the Kliest letter and other important details.

Letter from Bill Blair to Tom Wiley

Bill Blair Crew Picture

Kizer Crew Missing Air Crew Report

16 July 1945 Memo listing crew members lost on missions to Yap

Newspaper article titled, "Dean Wiley Added To List of War Dead".

Newspaper article titled, "Hilary Gilbert, Jr. Considered Killed".

Newspaper article titled, "Lt. Gayle Kizer Declared Dead".

Newspaper article titled, "Lt. Klinefelter listed as Dead".

Kizer Crew List of names and family contacts

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Kizer Crew Pictures:

Dean Wiley and Slim. 1943. San Antonio

Dean Wiley. 1944. Australia.

Dean Wiley and Friend. Mississippi State, 1943.

Dean Wiley Solo in piper P-75

Dean Wiley Solo in piper P-75

Dean Wiley Solo in piper P-75

James W. Erickson. Quincy, Oregon. Only Survivor of the original Kizer Crew.

5 of 10 members of the Kizer Crew shown after rescue on Los Negros, July 17, 1944. Gayle Kizer, Bob Ashby, Dean Wiley, Hilary Gilbert, and Erickson (not pictured). Erickson was the only one to survive the war. He opted for ground duty after the Kuly 15 crash

Los Negros, June 1944. Wiley (Navigator), Klinefelter (Bombardier), and Kizer (Pilot).

Probably March Field, CA. Back: Klinefelter, Kizer. Front: Callaway, Wiley.

Mr. & Mrs. Martin Kizer in Apache, OK. Parents of Gayle Kizer

Dean Wiley and Jeannice Dye, Rialto, CA. March Field, CA, early 1944. Uso Dance.e

Bill Blair, Phoenix, AZ in 1992.

Richard Dean Wiley Stone. Chestnut Hill Cemetery, Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio.

Collings B-24, All American logo. Scotttsdale, AZ 1992.

Collings B-24D, Dragon and His Tail logo, Tucson, AZ.

Pima Air Museum B-24J

Tom Wiley and Sharon Connor (Sharon's dad was lost near Yap Island on July 15, 1944.

Left to Right: Joe Lanigan and Tom Wiley. Ft. Devens, MA


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