Diary of Sgt Albert L. Kyler, Tail Gunner, P-17
Tokyo, Friday 13th April 1945
Crew P-17 departed Guam at 1900 hrs. on Friday 13th April 1945. We arrived over Tokyo early Saturday morning. We flew between two batteries of search lights at 7500 ft. Without being seen or hit. Fires from planes that had bombed ahead of us could be seen for almost 200 miles off the coast. The flak was moderate to intense but we received no battle damage. We returned to Guam about 0900 hrs Sat morning. The results released from command headquarters was classed as good. Credited with our first mission and 15:15 hrs Combat Flying Time.
Kawasaki, Sunday 15th April 1945
Crew P-17 departed Guam Sunday evening and arrived over the target area early Monday morning. We were “locked in” to a straight and level flight at 7500 ft. Through intense and fairly accurate flak for about 3 minutes. After the bombing run and after turning for Guam we were chased by several strange aircraft. For lack of any other Identification we called them “fireballs” because they looked like a ball of fire. We later were told these were part of the suicide squadrons called “kamikazes”. Upon our arrival at Guam we discovered many flak holes. Thankfully no vital areas were hit. It was after all the patching was done that Jason Sox, our left side gunner found a can of red paint and a brush and we painted each patched hole red. Published results of the raid were “good” and we were credited with our 2nd Mission and 15:05 combat hours.
Kanoya Airfield, Wednesday 18th April 1945
Crew P-17 departed Guam with other crews from our squadron to begin a series of raids on the airfields on Kyushu the first such raid was against Kanoya Airfield from 11,000 feet. This was our first mission where we went in, in formation, rather than alone. On this raid opposition was practically non-existent and we returned to Guam without any damage. However, a leaking oil line caused our engineer Jim Lewis to shut down the No. 3 engine somewhere north of Iwo Jima. Raid results were good and we were credited with our 3rd mission and 14:30 of combat flying time.
Kuishira Airfield, 27 April 1945
Crew P-17 departed Guam with other members of the 60th and 61st. Arriving over the target assembly point only one other B 29 was there to assemble with (Crew 6). At this point our pilots decided to make a Two Plane Formation and go in together at 12,500 feet which we did. Flak was meager and inaccurate however, we had about a twenty minute running battle with about 25 fighter planes that used every method to knock us out. We were met with air to air phosphorus bombs as well as cannon and machine guns. A twenty mm shell exploded in the wing flap behind the No. 4 engine causing loss of this engine. All in all we had four confirmed kills and several damaged on this mission. Results of bombing was proclaimed excellent and we got our 4th Mission and 15:00 combat hours.
Oita Airfield 4 May 1945
Crew P-17 and the rest of the squadron departed Guam and arrived at the assembly point around noon. The formation went in at 10,000 feet. Flak was meager and inaccurate. We had another battle with Jap fighters, again getting our No. 4 engine shot out. This added about 6 more hours to our three engine time. Returned to Guam about 6:00 pm. Results were described as good and we were credited with our fifth mission and 15:50 combat hours. Also General Orders arrived giving each of our crew the Air Medal fuselage.