The 394th was in the process of moving troops and aircraft to their new assignment. Pilots and crews were flying the 33 aircraft of the 585th, 586th and 587th Squadrons to Ardmore while the support personnel were traveling to Ardmore on two troop trains.
The six aircraft were flying under “radio silence” and visual flight rules at 2,500 feet. Captain Edward B. Saxon was leading the No. 1 element. Captain Shelton H. Pierce and Lt. William M. Lester, co-pilot, were on his left wing and Lt. William T. White, Jr. was on his right wing. Lt. George C. Pinyerd was leading the No. 3 element with Lt. Francis M. Kirby on his left wing.
The planes were to land at DeRidder Army Air Base before proceeding to Ardmore. Prior to their arrival there, Captain Pierce and Lt. Lester's aircraft, 41-34770, and Lt. Pinyerd's plane dropped out of formation. Due to radio silence, Captain Saxon physically signaled them to return to their positions. He checked a short time later and had four planes on his right, assuming they had followed his instructions. When they landed at DeRidder, it was discovered that 41-34770 was missing. The aircraft had crashed approximately 26-miles southeast of Harding Field, Baton Rouge, Louisiana. All seven crew members perished. Accident investigators could not discover the cause of the crash, declaring it "100% undetermined."