Daybreak, on 1 September 1944, was still hours away when the 33rd Bomb Squadron's Charge of Quarters roused S/Sgt. Maurice M. Possley and his crewmates. On Owi, a small island in the Netherlands East Indies, the same was happening to members of 23 additional 22nd Bomb Group air crews. Maurice, from Erie, Illinois was the radio operator on pilot Lt. Robert A. Lint's crew.
Dressed and still groggy, the airmen slowly stumbled through the darkness to the mess hall for a cup of strong coffee and breakfast. Later, at briefing, the crews learned that this would be a historic mission, a milestone on the route to Tokyo. The 5th Air Force had chosen the 22nd to lead the wing on a strike against the dispersal areas at the Matina Airstrip near Davao, Mindanao, P.I. The wing was composed of 55 B-24s from three heavy bomb groups, the 22nd (Red Raiders), the 43rd (Ken's Men) and the 90th (Jolly Rogers). It was the first 5th Air Force daytime strike on the Philippines since withdrawal in 1942 of US forces from Bataan. With each aircraft carrying 180-20 pound free falling fragmentation bombs, take off started at 0610 hours.
After passing through two mild weather fronts, the Red Raiders reached the rendezvous point. In the 22nd Bomb Group Newsletter, Lt. Richard "Mike" Michaels, 33rd Squadron navigator reported: "We were to rendezvous with the 43rd and 90th BG just before the Philippines. When we got there the ceiling was about 12,000 ft. but the 43rd and 90th did not wait for our lead. The flak over Davao was unbelievable for our Pacific area. The gunners had our altitude and we had to go through their flak. Our two wingmen were shot down." His plane, B-24J #42-100317, piloted by Capt. Art C. Henry led the 33rd Squadron at the tail end of the 22nd Bomb Group formation. Strangely, it passed through the heavy, intense and accurate anti-aircraft fire without sustaining any damage.
On taking a direct hit by an A/A phosphorous shell while over the target, B-24J-90 #42-100291, known as OLE' TOMATO exploded. No chutes were seen and apparently all eleven airmen aboard were killed.
Lt. Alonzo Roundtree, Jr., co-pilot
Lt. William R. Brown, navigator
Lt. Joseph A. Coronado, Bombardier
T/Sgt. Wayne W. Shaw, engineer
T/Sgt. Arthur K. Miller, Jr., asst. engineer
T/Sgt. John T. Hooks, radio operator
S/Sgt. Chester B. New, gunner
S/Sgt. Raymond Schutrom, gunner
S/Sgt. William C. Steele, gunner
Lt. Nathaniel H. Ball, passenger
Concerning his loss, Lt. Michaels noted, "Ball had begged the C.O. to go, even though he had finished his missions. It was the return to the Philippines and he wanted to go even if only as an observer and the C.O. allowed it."
Moments after dropping her bombs, flak damaged engines #3 and #4 on TEMPTATION, B-24J-80 #42-100196, the Liberator being flown off Captain Henry's right wing. The ship's pilot was Lt. Lint from Carmichaels, Pennsylvania. He was extremely well liked and fellow officers simply called him Bobby or Art. This was to be one of his last missions before going home. He had 50 missions under his belt and was awaiting his orders stateside. As the formation headed back towards the sea the crippled plane began to lose altitude and fall behind the formation. The crippled bomber slowly descended through an undercast and angled towards the water. When last seen it was at about 500 feet above the water and a small boat was observed headed in its direction. In a final message Lt. Lint said that he was ceasing communication and preparing to ditch. The time was 1239 hours. The estimated ditch site was about 15 miles from the coast of Mindanao, in Davao Gulf near Cape San Augustin. Searches by a Catalina flying boat and a rescue submarine, as well as a post war search, were fruitless.
Lt. Paul R. Tofte, Co-pilot
Lt. William C. Mittereder, navigator
Lt. Richard C. Bennett, bombardier
T/Sgt. Chester J, Neil, engineer
Pvt. Charles J. Sweeney, gunner
S/Sgt. Maurice M. Possley, radio operator
T/Sgt. Ralph B. Clark, assistant engineer
Sgt. Howard W. Davis, gunner
S/Sgt. Edward J. Sebelski, gunner
S/Sgt. Wallace B. Garner, photographer
Initially declared missing in action, TEMPTATION'S crew was declared dead in 1946. Dated June 7, 1944, this letter was found in Lt. Lint's effects:
22nd Bombardment Group's Mission No. 254-A-3, was Lt. Robert A. Lint's 53rd run over an enemy target. Normally, at the time, a combat tour ended with the 50th mission. Lint had flown his 50th on 5 August and had expected to go on detached service. The circumstances that led to his additional missions are unknown.