The story that you cited is one of those that was written before all of the facts were determined. I will quote an eye witness to the return of Kelly's plane to Clark Field on the day in question. "A note about Cpt Kelly and his crew. When we were just a few days into the war, Capt Kelly and his B-17 crew made a good showing against the Japanese forces that landed on the northern tip of the Philippines. It was first thought that they sunk a battleship but this proved to be an error. His bombardier (Cpl. Levin, I knew him personally) dropped three 500 pound bombs across this heavy cruiser, one in the water and two on the deck of the ship. It was reported that they sunk this ship and Cpt Kelly flew his crippled, badly shot up B-17 into the battleship. This was false. After they unloaded their bombs, they turned south and headed back to Clark for another load of bombs. His intent was to land at Clark, take on a full load of bombs and return to the battle in the north. When he arrived at a point about due east of Clark, he let down through the cloud cover and three Japanese fighters were there waiting for him. He was hit and wounded, orderd his crew to bail out, he crashed east and north of Clark heading in a northerly direction. The members of his crew that bailed out were strafed by the Japanese fighters on their way down. They were close enough to Clark that we were able to see the entire battle from Clark." The author is Alfred R. Young CWO W-3 USAF (Ret). Alfred Young was among a group of American soldiers who fled from Clark but although they were surviving reasonably well in the jungles of Mindanao, they were forced to surrender to the Japanese when the Americans surrendered on Luzon and agreed that all of their men must surrender to the Japanese. He spent the rest of the war in various Japanese prisoner of war camps.
Found an interesting article on Master Sgt. Meyer Levin, who was a Bombadier with the 64th SQ. until he was KIA on January 7, 1943 in his B-17. (Click on Link below). There should be a story on the... more
Thank you Jim for that information. That is pretty much what I heard. I knew it wasn't the battleship Haruna and that Kelly didn't crash into it. In 2001 I met the son of Meyer Levin, who's name is... more
Thank you for the additonal information. I had kept track of Meyer Levin's military record for some time. Yes, he did serve in the 43rd as you mentioned and that was his second tour of duty in the... more