T/Sgt. Arthur Benko sitting atop "The Goon" next to the top turret
The B-24D Liberator “The Goon” was a well-known bomber in the China-Burma-India (CBI) theater in the Pacific War. This was due in a large part to a photo of its nose art appearing in an issue of National Geographic magazine.
Some were skeptical asT/Sgt. Benko’s score mounted so an intelligence officer boarded “The Goon” on a mission to see for himself. On that mission, T/Sgt. Benko shot down seven Japanese aircraft, quickly making a believer of the officer.
Original 3D art of the B-24D Liberator "The Goon" and Japanese Zero.
In December, 1943, “The Goon” lost two engines after a night attack on the Kowloon docks. The crew jettisoned all non-essential items and everyone bailed out except for the pilot, who was eventually able to make it to a friendly base. Benko and another crewman were captured and killed by the Japanese. T/Sgt. Arthur Benko, the leading air gunner of all allied forces in WW2, was lost.
Photos and text © by Konley Kelley