39th Bomb Group (VH)
Crew 6

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19 May 1945 Forced Landing of
"Queen Cathy"
B-29 # 42-94053
Photo Courtesy of 1st Lt Warren Foster, Nav.
Click on image to enlarge - NEW PHOTO
Crew 6 was ready 19 May 1945 to make a daylight formation attack on Tachikawa. The 39th Group was alerted but it was an unfortunate one for this crew.

They had made eight missions to Japan already but they were forced to abort because of an engine problem. They were making a landing with a feathered propeller, when they careened off the runway and burst into flames.

Estaban "Steve" Garcia, the tail gunner was seriously burned and later succumbed to his injuries. A/C Edward Flynn and Sgt Robert Winsniski were burned seriously also. M/Sgt Angelo Repucci, Cpl Tynan, Cpl Ray Schwartz and Sgt James Regopoulous escaped with burns less extensive. 

2nd Lt Warren C. Foster recalls from his crash position in the navigator's seat that the bottom of the plane was literally torn off and that he was dragged along the ground while he hung on. This tore off all of his clothes. When the plane "bumped" up over one of the "key holes" parking spot for airplanes he was thrown forward into the pilots area. When the plane initially struck the ground a canister (which looks like a small keg of beer) struck him in the head nearly knocking him out. He managed to get himself up and around to the radio/flight engineers window and jumped out. He says "I dove out the window and never touched the sides of the window".

Photo Courtesy of 1st Lt Warren Foster, Nav.
Click on image to enlarge - NEW PHOTO TOP LEFT

In an email from Ray Schwartz dated 3 July 2003 he states:

Click image to enlarge
19 May 1945 B-29# 42-94053 "Queen Cathy"
Photo Courtesy of Ray Schwartz
Click image to enlarge
S/Sgt Raymond Schwartz recalls "The radio operator's station didnt have a window. My escape was thru the astrodome, which was on top of the fuselage right at the end of the tunnel. Luckily I had removed it before we crashed since A/C Flynn had stated we were making an emergency landing & he reluctantly gave me permission to do so otherwise I would not be here today misspelling all these words.. I had to hoist myself up thru a ring of fire from fuel burning on the skin of the plane and received burns up to my elbows on both arms as well as on my face. Warren is correct about the plane breaking near our stations. I later noticed the back of my GI shoes badly scraped where I evidently got dragged along the ground (crushed coral).

(Andrew) Slivka had numerous cuts and bruises (I pulled him out thru the copilot’s window. Lemon was in the rear of the plane & his worst injuries were burns. The fingers on both hands were bent back severely on healing. He had been involved as an art instructor and was concerned that his career as an artist was doomed, He was from Chicago. I have no knowledge of Wagner’s injuries. We had us a flight engineer, last name was Burke on his virgin mission. He was the one hanging upside down outside the copilot’s window caught by a web strap, I lifted him enough to release his ankle and he dropped on his head, I learned in Dayton in about 1990 that he later flew missions (don‘t recall the crew) but almost lost one ear in our crash. I wonder if I might have caused it?

I might add also that I do not recall actually seeing Red (Foster) outside the plane after the crash Pomieko refused to fly after two missions. I didn’t know the circumstances until years later when I asked Flynn about it. Our first mission was as a dumbo (rescue). It was on our first bombing mission as we were taking off that he said to Flynn “I can’t do this, abort" Flynn told him its too late, you’re going! After that mission he went on "sick call" and all knew then was that he was ill & couldn’t fly.

The above photo is courtesy of Ray Schwartz, RO, P-6. This photo was part of a series of B-29 photos found on Auction site by Chuck Ivey, son of L. Jay Ivey, 61st Sqd Flight Chief, who notified the 39th BG webmaster that there appeared to be "Square P" tail insignia's in the photos being auctioned. After reviewing the auction, an email was sent to Ray Schwartz, who verified that was indeed his crew's B-29. Ray's son Randy was able to succussfully win the bid for the photos. Ray Schwartz was awarded the Soldier's Medal for saving the lives of his fellow crew mates. To read more click here.

Army Air Forces
Report of Major Accident

Accident Report Number: 45-5-19-505 is the report that covers Crew 6's crashing landing on 19 May 1945. The report is courtesy of Craig Foster, son of 1st Lt. Warren C. Foster, Navigator, P-6.

The report contains 27 pages - Narratives of crew involved, statements from personnel in the control tower and other witnesses in addition to crash photos- these photos are photocopier quality (two-tone black and white).

Note: Narratives and witness statements in the report are in some cases less than legible - therefore they have been transcribed as they were written and included with the original pages of the report.

The report is in PDF format and is in 4 parts to make viewing easier for those who do not have a high speed connection.

Part I - AAF Accident Report Form Sections A-M & Flt Report (295k)
Part II - Narratives of: AC, Pilot, Nav, Bomb, Radio Op (664k)
Part III - Narratives of: CFC, Radar Ob, RG, FE Observer, Control Tower NCOIC and witness (787k)
Part IV - Crash Photos (1.07 mb)

You will need a PDF viewer to view and print the PDF file. You can get Acrobat Reader for free by clicking

Status of Crew P-6
60th Squadron Crew Index

Sources: "History of the 39th Bomb Group"; Raymond L. Schwartz; Warren C. Foster