Northern Wyoming Daily News - Serving the Big Horn Basin for over 100 years

By Marcus Huff
Staff Writer 

Ten Sleep hosts Bomber Mountain research


June 27, 2018

TEN SLEEP — On June 28, 1943, a B-17 Flying Fortress departed Pendleton Army Air Base in Pendleton, Oregon, to meet up with the rest of the 383rd Bomber Group, 541st Bomber Squadron in Nebraska, before departing for the war in Europe.

The plane never arrived, and after an extensive search of three states, the Army Air Corps gave up all attempts to find the missing plane and crew.

Then, in 1945, cowboys Berl Bader and Albert Kirkpatrick were riding through the Cloud Peak area when they spotted a shiny object on a nearby mountain face. Riding up to inspect, the men located the crashed bomber and the crew. The Army detached a party to retrieve the bodies for burial, while the crashed plane remained on the mountain.

In 1946, the previously unnamed ridge was named Bomber Mountain by the U.S. Forest Service.

This Thursday marks the 75th anniversary of the crash, and the Ten Sleep Library has obtained an extensive collection of original reports, photos and documents on the crash, compliments of researcher and former Ten Sleep resident Nancy Kelly.

The materials are available for inspection at the library for research purposes, and will remain in the library collection.

Materials in the collection include “brownie” camera photos from Air Corps photographer Charles Obert with the recovery team, official Army reports detailing the crash, and personal histories of the crew.


All told, 10 men, all below the age of 25, died in the crash on Bomber Mountain.

They included:

William R. Ronaghan (pilot)

Anthony J. Tilotta (co-pilot)

Leonard H. Phillips (navigator)

Charles H. Suppes (bombardier)

James A. Hinds (aircraft engineer)

Ferguson T. Bell, Jr. (radio operator)

Lee ‘Vaughn’ Miller (assistant aircraft engineer)

Charles E. Newburn, Jr (assistant radio operator)

Jake F. Penick (aircraft gunner)

Lewis M. Shepard (assistant aircraft gunner)


Powered by ROAR Online Publication Software from Lions Light Corporation
© Copyright 2018