39th Bomb Group (VH)

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Award of Distinguished Flying Cross/
DFC- Oak Left Cluster

APO 234, c/o Postmaster
San Francisco California

8 September 1945
NO . . . . . . . . 57) -
   Section XIII

    AWARD OF THE DISTINGUISHED-FLYING-CROSS (OAK LEFT CLUSTER)--By direction of the President, under the provisions of the Act of Congress, approved 2 July 1926 (Bull 8, WD 1926), and persuant to authority delegated by Headquaters United States Army Strategic Air Forces in letter, file AG 323; subject: "Ddefinitions of Administrative Responsibilities", dated 6 August 1945, announcement is made of the award of the Bronze Oak-Leaf Cluster to the Distinguished-Flying-Cross to the following named officers and enlisted men of the 60th Bombardment Squadron, 39th Bombardment Group.

         For extraordinary achievement while participating in aerial flight on 28 April 1945. These individuals were combat crew members of a B-29 aircraft flying from a base in the Marianas on a decisive strike against the Kushira airfield, Kyshu, Japan. At the assembly area, the number three engine became inoperative because of excessive backfiring. Fully aware that their reduced power would increase their vulnerability over the target, they elected to continue on and attack the objective. Remaining with their group, they bombed the target with exceptional results. Observing their cripped condition, enemy fighters pressed coordinated, agressive strikes, but this crew courageously repulsed them. On return, a bomb which had hung up fell free and crashed through the bomb bay doors. It was necessary to go into the bomb bay at great risk to manually close the doors. This was accomplished, and the plane was returned safely to the base. The courage, skill, and airmanship demonstrated by these veterans of repeated assaults against the Japanese homeland reflect great credit on themselves and the Army Air Forces.

First Lieutenant THOMAS A. BELL, Air Corps, United States Army, as Airplane Commander.

Second Lieutenant JOSEPH F. CALLAGHAN, Air Corps, United States Army, as Navigator.

Second Lieutenant ELMER C. JONES, Air Corps, United States Army, as Radar Observer.

Master Sergeant GEORGE W. BEAVER, JR., Air Corps, United States Army, as Flight Engineer.

Per GO 54 Section 4 dated 5 September 1945, issued by HQ 20th AF (which reads the same as above) were awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross.

First Lieutenant CHARLES D. BALDRIDGE, JR., Air Corps, United States Army, as Bombardier.

First Lieutenant RICHARD D. HARRISON, Air Corps, United States Army, as Pilot.

Technical Sergeant John J. Essig, Air Corps, United States Army, as Central Fire Control Gunner.

Staff Sergeant RALPH W. JOHNSON, Air Corps, United States Army, as Right Gunner.

Staff Sergeant DAVID E. POTTERS, Air Corps, United States Army, as Left Gunner.

Staff Sergeant DAVID SCHULMAN, Air Corps, United States Army, as Radio Operator.

Sergeant THOMAS F. SMITH JR., Air Corps, United States Army, as Tail Gunner.

60th Squadron Crew Index
Source: GO 57 Section 13 dated 25 August 1945 Issued by HQ 20th AF/GO 54 Section 4 dated 5 September 1945 HQ 20th AF