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Rice Crew —Shot down on 5 July 1944 near Yap
13th Air Force, 371nd Bombardment Squadron, 307th Bombardment Group

Information and pictures on this page have been reprinted with permission from the Bilder Family Member

Please submit additioanl 307th Bomb Group information and pictures to:

Rice Crew—Click to Enlarge

Excerpt about the Rice Crew shoot down from "The Long Rangers" by Sam Britt: In an attempt to catch the Japanese interceptors on the ground, the Group attacked Yap Airdrome in two waves on July 5th. This required a night take off for the 424th and the 371st who made up the first wave. Only eight of the twelve planes reached the rendezvous at Sorol Island. The 371st leader was among the ones that did not make it, and Lt. Edward J. Rice assumed the lead. The hoped for surprise was not achieved and twenty-eight fighters attacked the eight planes. Only two fighters rose to attack the second wave. On the first pass, every crew member in the second wave fired and someone got one of the fighters. The remaining Zeke dropped two phosphorous bombs with no results. Lt. William Rouzie (372nd) did not make it to the target because of the loss of the static instruments shortly after takeoff. Lt. Edward J. Rice's (371st) plane received heavy damage. He instructed the other pilots to reduce air speed and keep together. He maintained the formation until the interceptors departed. He then announced, over the radio, in a bored and disgusted tone "I'm going to ditch the son of a bitch." He had waited too long because the plane was falling out of control. The plane slid steeply on the left wing and burned fiercely, hit the water and exploded. Five men were seen to bail out and later all five were observed swimming in the water. There were three rafts in the water, but the nearest one to a survivor was three hundred yards. A plane from the 371st and one from the 424th circled for twenty-five minutes but all searches proved negative.

Rice Crew Documents:

The following documents were supplied by John Painter. John has collected the documents and pictures from various Rice Crew family members:

Missing Air Crew Report
(pdf file 1.4 MB)

Findings of Death Document
(pdf file 2.1 MB)

Combat Flying
(pdf file 4.6 MB)

Armorers Diploma
(pdf file 88 KB)

Aerial Gunner Diploma
(pdf file 84 KB)

AC Record 41_24016 MissJones
(pdf file 944 KB)
Earle Painters Letter
(pdf file 232 KB)

AC Record 41_24012 65
(pdf file 5.1 MB)

AC Record 41_24012 Eagerbeaver
(pdf file 2.5 MB)

AC Record 44_40611
(pdf file 1.2 MB)

Presidential Ciitation
(pdf file 439 KB)

Non Recoverable Document
(pdf file 1.2 MB)

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Marcel Bilder (Rice Crew) Code Book:

The Marcel Bilder Family Members have shared the following "code book". Marcel created the code book before he departed for the Pacific so he could get information past the censors and to his family. The code book allowed his family to find out about his location and missions with the 307th Bomb Group.











Rice Crew

Back of the Rice Crew
picture including names

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The following crew picture was reprinted with permission of John Painter:

Crew picture taken in the south pacific
in front of the "Eager Beaver—Joe E Brown plane.
Jake bauer painted the nose art while
on a beer run to espiritu santo.

Back of Picture with names

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The following crew picture was reprinted with permission of John Painter:






Helen_Paintev posthumously_re_purple_heart



















Smith Boys

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