Tolleson, James B., SSgt

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Last Rank
Staff Sergeant
Last Primary AFSC/MOS
M 0611-Aerial Gunner
Last AFSC Group
Primary Unit
1945-1945, M 0611, 868th Bomb ardment Squadron, Heavy
Service Years
1944 - 1945
Staff Sergeant

 Last Photo   Personal Details 

Home State
North Carolina
North Carolina
Year of Birth
Not Specified
This Military Service Page was created/owned by CMSgt Don Skinner to remember Tolleson, James B., SSgt.

If you knew or served with this Airman and have additional information or photos to support this Page, please leave a message for the Page Administrator(s) HERE.
Casualty Info
Home Town
Last Address
Pitoe Airdrome, Borneo

Casualty Date
Jul 17, 1945
Hostile, Died while Missing
Air Loss, Crash - Land
Pacific Ocean
World War II
Location of Interment
Arlington National Cemetery - Arlington, Virginia
Wall/Plot Coordinates
Sec 34, Site 4808

 Official Badges 

 Unofficial Badges 

 Military Association Memberships
World War II Fallen
  1945, World War II Fallen

 Photo Album   (More...

 Ribbon Bar

Aerial Gunner Badge

 Unit Assignments
Aerial Gunnery School13th Air Force868th Bomb ardment Squadron, Heavy
  1944-1944, Aerial Gunnery School
  1945-1945, M 0611, 13th Air Force
  1945-1945, M 0611, 868th Bomb ardment Squadron, Heavy
 Combat and Non-Combat Operations
  1945-1945 Asian-Pacific Theater/Western Pacific Campaign (1944-45)
 My Aircraft/Missiles
B-24 Liberator  
  1944-1945, B-24 Liberator
 Additional Information

Last Known Activity
James Bruce Tolleson was born in 1925 in Spindale, North Carolina although he listed Laurens County, South Carolina as his hometown. His NARA enlistment record shows he enlisted in the Army Air Corps as a private on January 6, 1944 at Fort Bragg, North Carolina. It also shows year of birth as 1925, completed 4 years of high school (although he was enrolled at Clemson University for the school year 1942-1943.) His occupation was given as semiskilled dyer, a field with the Textile area.

After basic training, he was sent to aerial gunnery school, and became a gunner on a B-24. In January, 1945, he was assigned to the 868th Bomb Squadron, a special unit reporting directly to 13th Air Force. The B-24s of this unit were equipped with special radar, were painted solid black, and were known for their night-time raids against Japanese shipping in the South Pacific. For this reason, they were known as "Snoopers" or Low Altitude Bombers (LAB).

On his second combat mission, Tolleson and crew took off from Pitoe Airdrome on Borneo to search the Mahakan River in Borneo. A second flight running the same route attempted radio contact, but failed. Two different searches were made, but no wreckage or survivors were found.

One of the crew walked away from the crash (the aircraft had hit a mountain) and was returned to Allied control with the help of natives. A search of the area in 1947 found the wreckage, plus two sets of identified remains along with the bodies of the rest of the crew which were unidentifiable. These unidentified remains were returned to the U.S. and buried in a common grave at Arlington National Cemetery in Section 34, Site 4808. The two identifiable remains were buried in the Manila (PI) National Cemetery and Memorial.
USAAC-USAAF Aircraft Inventory Records
NARA Enlistment Records


The aircraft involved in this incident was SB-24 #44-50397, nicknamed "Hells Belles," assigned to 868th Bomber Squadron.

Missing Air Crew Report 14768 was issued, and identifies the crew as:

2 Lt Robert F. Marcotte       p
2 Lt William S. Grieves     c-p
2 Lt Jack Weisberg          nav
2 Lt Richard E. Ackerman      bomb
2 Lt Robert A. White          radar operator
Cpl Benjamin B. Ciak        eng
Cpl Edward R. Jacoby       r/o
Sgt Frederick L. Shreckenberg      gunner
SSgt Richard H. Rutledge      gunner
SSgt James B. Tolleson     gunner

SSgt Rutlege was the crew member that survived.

Lts Weisberg and White were the identified crew members, and buried in the Manila (PI) National Cemetery and Memorial. NOTE: At least one source (American Battlefield gives White's name as "Whyte. The MACR states "White."


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