26 June, Crew 10 of the 60th Squadron established a record
for the longest combat mission flown. Commanded by Lt Thomas
A. Bell, the reconnaissance flight had taken them to the
northernmost Japanese Island of Hokkaido. This was a difficult
assignment involving long distance flight over hostile waters
and enemy territory. Navigational checkpoints were as much
as a thousand miles apart over great expanses of totally
unfamiliar waters and land. Furthermore, winds of high velocity
were encountered. Notwithstanding these problems, and the
fact that undercast obscured the island of Hokkaido, the
navigator performed his duties in such an exceptional manner
that the route to the objective and return was flown exactly
fuel supply had been closely calculated because of the
distance and duration of the flight. Therefore, the expert
work of the flight engineer in connection with cruise
control and other related matters was instrumental in
accomplishing this assignment.
instrument specialist performed an outstanding job in
securing important and much needed reconnaissance photographs.
The overcast above the island added to the difficulty
of his work, and a camera malfunction required that a
part of the route be retraced so that picture could be
taken with hand cameras. In spite of these obstacles,
photos of superior quality were obtained.
this exceptionally long flight, there was the constant
exposure to of the lone B-29 to possible attacks from
enemy fighters and anti-aircraft fire. The added danger
of mechanical malfunction loomed as a possibility too.
these perils, the airplane returned safely to Guam twenty-two
and one half-hours later after making a non-stop flight
of 4,650 miles.
recognition of their accomplishment, later The Distinguished
Flying Cross would be awarded to Airplane Commander Thomas
Bell; 2nd Lt Elmer C. Jones, Radar Observer; 2nd Lt Joseph
F. Callaghan, Navigator; and Master Sergeant George W.
Beaver, Jr., Flight Engineer. [click here
to read the order]
Commendations were given to the ground crew whose expert
maintenance made the record-breaking flight possible.
They were S/Sgt Edward F. Lally, Crew Chief; Sgt Walter
J. Bodner, Sgt Anthony J. Mangiaracina, Cpl Jack D. Donathan,
and Pfc Angelo P. Repucci.