39th Bomb Group (VH)

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Award of Distinguished Flying Cross

APO 234, c/o Postmaster
San Francisco California

25 August 1945
NO . . . . . . . . 44) -
   Section XVIII

         AWARD OF THE DISTINGUISHED-FLYING-CROSS--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 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 26 June 1945. These individuals were members of the combat crew of a B-29 aircraft on a highly successful reconnaissance mission to the northernmost Japanese home island of Hokkaido. Knowing well the dangers involved in undertaking a flight of more than 4,500 miles from their Marianas Islands base, a large portion of which was over hostile waters and enemy territory, they courageously volunteered to carry out this extremely difficult assignment. The airplane returned safely to base twenty-two and one half hours later after making a non-stop flight of 4,650 miles. One of the longest combat flights in history. Although navigational check points were as much as a thousand miles apart over great expanses of totally unfamiliar water and land; winds of high volocity were met; the island of Hokkaido was obscured by a heavy overcast, the navigator performed his duties in such an exceptional manner that the route to the target and return was flown exactly as briefed. Because the fuel supply had been closely calculated with reference to the distance and duration of the flight, the expert work of the flight engineer in connection with cruise control and his other duites was instrumental in accomplishing the assignment. The instrument specialist performed an outstanding service in securing important and much needed reconnaissance photographs. The overcast above the target island by no means lessened the difficulty of his work, and a camera malfunction required that a part of the route be retraced that pictures could be taken with hand cameras. In spite of these obstacles, however, photographs of superior quality and great usefulness were obtained. Throughout this exceptionally long flight there were constantly present with the long B-29 dangers from hostile fighters and anti-aircraft defenses, weather and mechanical malfunctions. The high courage and outstanding professional skill displayed by each of these airmen in securing valuable information reflect great credit on himself 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.

60th Squadron Crew Index
Source: GO 44 Section 18 dated 25 August 1945 Issued by HQ 20th AF