James Bruce Tolleson


Mechanical Engineering

Attended Clemson Sep 1942 - June 1943.

Laurens County, SC / Rutherford County NC

Army Air Force, Staff Sergeant

868th Bombartment Squadron, Gunner on B-24M6 SN 44-50397

Purple Heart, Air Medal

Jul 17, 1945

Killed in Action while on a combat mission in the Borneo Theater (Pacific).

Memorialized with his crew members in Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, Virginia; Section 34, Site 4808.


Additional Information

Missing Air Crew Report 14768
  • 868th Bombardment Squadron
  • Gunner on B-24M6 SN 44-50397
  • KIA on combat mission: Destination Mahakan River, Borneo
  • Last known where about 3:29 am, JUN 17 1945, Pitoe Airdrome

According to MACR 14768: SSGT Tolleson’s plane was last seen during takeoff at 0329 heading west to conduct a search of the Mahakam River.  Conducting the same mission 25 minutes earlier, a pilot attempted to make contact with SSGT Tolleson’s but failed.  Once the ground station realized the situation of the missing plane the following action took place that afternoon.  One plane was instructed to search the islands of Morotai Strait and the areas of Halmahera.  Another plane searched Tolleson’s assigned route.  All surrounding islands were searched but results were negative.  Searches were conducted for 2 days, both ending in negative results.

List of Crew:
2nd LT Robert F Marcotte              Pilot                 KIA
2nd LT William S Grieves JR             Co-Pilot            KIA
2nd LT Jack Weisberg                     Navigator         KIA
2nd LT Richard E Ackerman             Bomber            KIA
2nd LT Robert A White                    Radar               KIA
CPL Benjamin B Ciak                        Engr                KIA
CPL Edward R Jacoby                      Radio               KIA
CPL Michael Chapatoris                    Gunner            KIA
SGT Frederick L Schreckenberg        Gunner            KIA
S SGT Richard H Rutledge                Gunner            Rescued
S SGT James B Tolleson                     Gunner             KIA
Staff Sergeant Tolleson was born in Spindale, North Carolina and attended Ford High School in Laurens, South Carolina.  He entered Clemson College September 1942 and went in the service on January 6, 1944.  He was assigned to the Borneo Theater of Action in January 1945 as a B–24 bomber gunner.  Tolleson died when his aircraft crashed into a mountain at Halmahera Island.  His plane took off from Pitoe Air Strip July 17, 1945 on a combat mission.  There was no contact with the aircraft after take off and an extensive search was conducted.  There was one survivor that returned to duty through enemy lines.  Tolleson received the Air Medal for meritorious achievement.
Source of Narrative and Picture: Real Heroes: Rutherford County Men Who Made the Supreme Sacrifice During WWII, by Dr. Anita Price Davis.

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Extra Documents

The Snoopers – Vignette written by Kelly Durham for The Echo