16 February 1945 — Emmen, Holland
The 467th Bomb Group, 790th Bomb Squadron of the Eighth Air Force was based at Station 145, Rackheath, England. Rackheath was located five miles north-east of Norwich and was built with a 6,000 foot main runway, two auxiliary runways, two T-2 hangers and temporary housing for 2,900 personnel. In March 1944, the 467th Bomb Group moved into Rackheath with fifty-eight B-24 Liberators. Although there were fifty hard standings, it was common practice to park two heavy bombers on each of the loop dispersals. The bomb group code marking was a “Circle P” located on the tail.
On Friday, 16 February 1945, the Eighth Air Force sent 1,042 bombers and 197 fighters to attack benzole plants, oil refineries and marshaling yards inside Germany. The weather was poor, but it was decided mission #173 could be flown. Flak over the target area was moderate but very accurate, and appeared to be fired from large caliber anti-aircraft guns, causing varying degrees of damage to the group ships. No enemy aircraft were sighted. Bombs were dropped on the target from an altitude of 23,500 feet by using H2X (Radar) equipment. The results achieved by the bombing were rated fair. Eight bombers were lost that day.
2nd Lt. John D. Mullican and his crew of the B-24H-25-FO aircraft number 42-95080, nicknamed “Super Wolf” flew to a primary target of opportunity, the marshaling yards at Osnabruck, Germany. The B-17s dropped their 12 x 500-lb GP bombs on the target. Upon returning home from the target, the crew reported moderate but very accurate large caliber flak. The aircraft was hit about 14:54 hours resulting in three holes penetrating the fuselage. One blast was so intense, the wires to the intervalometer were severed. Mullican gave the order to bail out. The entire crew bailed out over eastern Holland. The aircraft crashed about 15:30 hours between the town of Valthe and the town of Nieuw-Weerdinge which is located just north of Emmen, Holland. The parachute of engineer Walter M. Sies failed to open and he was killed.
When the crew failed to return to base, Missing Air Crew Report 12425 was issued to headquarters.
All of the other crew members were captured and became POWs. Co-pilot Jay S. Young, who was injured and unconscious, was taken to the hospital in Emmen where he stayed until his liberation on 11 April 1945. Navigator William Caselton evaded capture for over a week and was sheltered by some locals. Eventually he was captured including those who gave him shelter.