39th Bomb Group (VH)

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"The following is an exact excerpt
from a letter my father
Capt Wetsel D. Waggoner – “Wag”
sent to my mother, Pauline".

Michael Waggoner, son

DATE: May 10, 1945

TARGET: Otake Oil Refinery

“Finally first mission with my own crew. Hit an oil refinery at Otake. It was one of the best missions our group has run and best of all OUR squadron led the group. We were the first over the target and our bombs hit dead center. By the time the other squadrons got there the flames and smoke were 10,000 feet high. What a sight! We had some opposition. Flak was pretty heavy and fighters attacked us. Got hit by flak but only put a small hole in the tail. Gunner Hinds got damage on one fighter when it made a pass at us. As it went over, Hinds gave it three squirts. We saw pieces fly off its wing and then peeled off. The lead plane in the next squadron shot him down. My crew performed beautifully. I’m proud as a peacock of them. They didn’t get excited and everyone did there their job very well. I had to fly a close formation and was almost too busy to be scared! Got worried a couple of times and was very relieved when we left the Japan coast behind. A long flight but a good feeling to know we hit the target and at last are doing something toward ending the war. A very good ending for crew 18’s first mission together.”

DATE: May 14th, 1945

TARGET: Nagoya

Flew to Nagoya on a big fire raid. Was the biggest raid the B-29’s had run. Really blasted the target. We were the fourth wing over it. By the time we got there tremendous fires were raging. Had a little bad luck on this trip. About 10 miles before we got to the target our number 4 engine quit on us. We flew over the target and back on 3 engines. Our formation ran away from us. We flew out of Japan by ourselves. Really lonesome over Japan during that time. Lucky that no fighters jumped us, for I’m afraid I would not be writing this letter. Planned to land at Iwo Jima but it was closed in so we flew back and landed at Tinian. Couldn’t make it back to Guam for lack of gas.

DATE: May 19, 1945
4th Mission – TARGET: Hamamatsu

“Scheduled to go to Tokyo this time but weather was too bad so we bombed Hamamatsu by radar. We think we hit the city. Was a real milk run, no fighters and no flak. I read the biography of George Gershwin on the way back! Only trouble we had was that Haas salvoed our bomb bay tank with the bombs and smashed up the rear of the plane a little. Wasn’t his fault as the tank was supposed to be bypassed. So much for our 4th mission.”

DATE: May 24, 1945
5th Mission – TARGET: Tokyo

“To Tokyo on a night mission fire raid. Again the biggest B-29 raid to date. A pretty tough mission, although we suffered no battle damage. We were late getting to the target so there were many fires by the time we got there. After we turned on course for the target we could see all of Tokyo and most of it was burning. It was a sight I’ll never forget. Looked like Dante’s inferno. Whole sky was lit up from fires and about 80 or 90 searchlights weaving through the sky! Flak bursts were so thick it looked as if you could walk on them. Flak looks a lot different at night than in the daytime. When it bursts there is an ugly red color and then sparks shoot off in all directions. Looked like a tremendous 4th of July celebration except we knew the Japs weren’t celebrating! We were lucky. Went all the way over the city into the target with bomb bay doors open before they caught us. Just as our bombs were away about six searchlights caught us smack in the middle and immediately flak started bursting all around us. I saw a big column of smoke off to our right so I turned and dove into it going 320 MPH. As I made a big sweeping turn we broke out over Tokyo Bay and the searchlights lost us but the night fighters picked us up and followed for about 150 miles. They kept blinking lights and shooting tracers trying to get us to show a light or to shoot back. Then they would have been on us like a swarm of bees. They also have a new weapon that we call a “fireball.” It is a jet propelled plane with 1000 lbs of explosives in the nose and piloted by Jap suicide pilots. Their job is to ram the B-29’s.  I just hope that none get their sights on old Waggoner and Crew 18. Had to land at Tinian on return.”

As transcripts are received from Michael Waggoner they will appear on this page.

60th Squadron Crew Index
Source: Michael Waggoner, son