On 10 March, at approximately 2000 at Alexandria AAF, Louisiana, the Group had its first fatality. Lt. V. Tulla, piloting a B-29 crashed on landing during a routine training flight. The entire crew of five officers and five EM were killed instantly and the airplane was burned. Lt. Tulla was a native of Puerto Rico, and was well known in the Group for his friendliness and slightly Spanish accent. He had reached a high degree of proficiency in preparation to fly in combat and it was a great blow to the Group to lose such a fine officer. Also on board was 2nd Lt. Hubert H. Crane, Jr., 21st Squadron RCM Officer, a native of Ft. Worth, Texas.
The crew members of 21-17 also killed in the crash were:
1st Lt. Valentine Tulla, O-801221, Airplane Commander;
2nd Lt. Wayne R Shambrook, O-835710, Pilot;
1st Lt. Vincent L Levora, O-808092, Navigator
F/O Herbert W. Callahan, T-134319, Bombardier
S/Sgt Willaim M. Cadwallader, 13053766, Radio Operator;
S/Sgt Everett A Neely, 17029599, Engineer;
Cpl William R. Adams, 31381398;
Cpl James L. Allen, 33684242;
and Cpl Reed D. Allison, 33871980, Gunners.