On April 3, 1943, Fran and the other gunners, are picked up at Davis-Monthan Airfield in Tucson, Arizona and depart to Hawaii for their very first mission. This is their very first bomber. It is called Thumper. The ten-man bomber crew had been training since July and finally, they will be hurled into World War II.
Their new bomber with that brand new bomber smell, flies the guys from Arizona to Kualoa Airfield in Hawaii on April, 3, 1943. After the crew deplanes at 5 PM, a new crew gets on board Thumper for a defensive patrol around the Hawaiian Islands. Shortly after take off, the second crew loses radio contact with the control tower.
The crew and the wreckage of Thumper, are never found. Fran Perkins and the other guys learn quickly that even in non-combat roles, men are lost. A sickening feeling takes over the crew. In silent tribute to the relief crew on Thumper, they never mention her again.
Shown in the picture is “Thumper II,” in June of 1943. It crashed upon take off at the same Kualoa Airfield, where Thumper I was lost.
Read the whole story in The Last Flight of the Daisy Mae.