39th Bomb Group (VH)

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Original Crew
"City Of Cooperstown"

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Batista Field Cuba during training
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Standing L to R:
1st Lt Donald Hetherington  Pilot
2nd Lt  Odie A. Kelly  Radar
F/O Aldwyn B. Fields  Navigator
1st Lt James M. Engelholdt  Bombardier
1st Lt Smith L. Edwards  Airplane Commander
Sgt Clyde R. Anderson  Radio Operator
Kneeling L to R:
S/Sgt Gerald W. Arundale  CFC Gunner
Sgt Ernest E. Nyholm, Jr. Right Gunner
T/Sgt James R. Ogilvie Tail Gunner
T/Sgt Harry W. Clark  Flight Engineer
Sitting (in front):
Sgt Herbert J. O'Brien Jr. Left Gunner

 Crew 16
Honor Roll
1st Lt Smith L. Edwards Airplane Commander MIA 4 May 1945
1st Lt James Engelholdt Bombardier MIA 4 May 1945
1st Lt Odie A. Kelly Radar  MIA 4 May 1945
T/Sgt Harry W. Clark Flight Engineer MIA 4 May 1945
S/Sgt Gerald W. Arundale CFC Gunner  MIA 4 May 1945
Sgt Ernest E. Nyholm, Jr. Right Gunner MIA 4 May 1945
Cpl Milton Jacobs (P-11R) Temp Replacement Tail Gunner MIA 4 May 1945
F/O Aldwyn B. Fields* Navigator 16 March 1982
1st Lt Donald W. Hetherington Pilot 31 March 2002
Sgt Clyde R. Anderson* Radio Operator 10 August 2004


17 April 2009: Added: Missing Air Crew Report 14367 to section. This document is in PDF format and can be viewed from this site. You will need a PDF reader program like Adobe's Acrobat Reader. You can download this program by clicking here.

14 April 2009:
Jones Norman, nephew of 1st Lt Smith Edward found the web site and notified us that his uncle was misidentified in the above crew photo which has been revised as stated above.

28 June 2006:
Kathleen Kendrick, the daughter of Sgt Clyde R. Anderson found the web site and contacted us - verifying that her has taken his Final Flight and that in the above crew photo - her father was misidentified - which has been revised as stated above.

14 June 2006: The nephew of 1st Lt James M. Engholdt, Bombardier of the crew contacted us and stated that his mother (Engholt's sister) was a young girl when her brother went off to war. He is looking to make contact with anyone that may have known his Uncle who could share some anecdotes about him so he may inturn share them with his mother. Please send any to and we will forward them to him.

13 June 2006: The Crew 16 Honor Roll (and the web site's Final Flight Honor Roll section) has been updated as a result of searching the Social Security Death Index (SSDI) - the following results were found:

*The name of Clyde R. Anderson was found on the SSDI. Sgt Clyde R. Anderson's WWII Enlistment Record shows he was from Cumberland County, Maine; with a year of birth listed as 1917; and under the category of Nativity - Maine was listed. The SSDI entry found listed that "Clyde R. Anderson" as being having a year of birth of 1917 and his Last Residence was listed as Cumberland County, ME.; also his SS Number was issued in Maine. Given these similarities its believe the entry found is for our veteran.

Similarily, the name of Aldwyn B. Fields was found on the SSDI. Flight Officer Aldwyn B. Fields' WWII Enlistment Record shows he was from Queens County, New York with a year of birth as 1917. The SSDI entry for Aldwyn B. Fields lists his year of the birth as the same in the Enlistment Record and the SSDI shows SS number issued in New York; Nativity in the Enlistment Record is listed as New York. Even though there is not "Last Residence" listed for "Aldwyn B. Fields" in the SSDI - with him having a unique first name .. its believe to the same as our veteran. Out of 77,213,083 records in the SSDI only 24 records have the first name of "Aldwyn" and only 1 record came up listed with first name, middle initial and last name and year of birth the same F/O Fields.

29 October 2002:

S/Sgt Joseph Paruti, RG, Replacement Crew 11 confirmed that Cpl Milton Jacobs, TG from their crew did indeed fly with Crew 16 on the 4 May 1945 mission in which he was lost; ironically T/Sgt James R. Ogilvie, TG of Crew 16 who Jacob's replaced flew as Tail Gunner on Replacement Crew 11 - replacing Jacobs.

If anyone has updated information regarding this crew, please email

Crew 16 went down on their first bombing mission the target was Saeki Airfield, Kyushu. They were approximately 20 miles north of Iwo Jima at 10,000 ft. The weaher had broken clouds at 1,000 ft ceiling with visibilty at 12 miles.

According to Air Sea Rescue Report No. 5 there was no indication of any trouble before the fire started. No one in the plane smelled or saw any smoke before the fire broke out. The fire was first seen by the Radio Operator (Anderson) in the vicinity of the voltage regulators under the Liaison Radio. The flames looked as if they were coming off the floor.

Anderson (the radio operator) notified the crew in the nose by voice. Steps were immediately taken to put out the fire with the extinguisher. The flames were out for a moment but started again and the extinguisher was empty. The Radio Operator made attempts to smother the flames with a flak curtain but could not get at it to do any good.

A state of emergency was declared by the Pilot (Edwards). There was no electrical power as soon as the fire started. The pilot hit the gear switch to get the nose gear down and hit the alarm bell. The alarm bell gave one very loud short ring, but the nose gear did not start down. The Co-Pilot (Hetherington) tried to call a buddy ship but the radio was out and also the intephone became inoperative.

The Bombardier (Engholdt), Engineer (Clark) and Navigator (Fields) were attempting to crank the nose gear by hand. There was a great deal of smoke in the nose of the plane. It was the whitish grey smoke and very irritating. The windows in the pilot's compartment were tried open and closed with no noticable changes in smoke.

The Co-Pilot not seeing that the efforts of the crew to get the nose gear down were not going well, and hewas coughing a great deal and couldn't see very well, lef the co-pilot's seat to go back to the bomb bay door to get some air. The co-pilot saw the CFC Gunner (Arundale) going through the tunnel to tel the men in the back to bail out. The Radio Operator (Anderson) jumped down on the bomb bay and pulled the emergency handle. The doors opened he fell out. The co-pilot was standing on the cat walk and was just going back inside when the navigator (Fields) came out and jumped. He was so badly burned that he was hardly recognizable. The fire increased in intensity a great deal in about 15 seconds.

When the Co-Pilot had come out the flames were coming out under the top turret but when he stared to go back the flames were all over the turret with intense heat; so he turned around and jumped. The Navigator had tried to bring the Engineer (Clark) back with him but he wouldn't go though the fire. The Left Gunner (O'Brien) heard the alarm bell, fastened his parachute and started for the rear escape hatch, telling the Right Gunner (Nyholm) to follow him. The Right Gunner had started to get a fire extinguisher to take up front. The Radar Officer (Kelly) was in his chute and fastening on his dinghy when the left gunner got back to the radar room. He told him someone had bailed out of the front and to jump. Two men, the Radar Man (Kelly) and Right Gunner (Nyholm), were standing behind the Left Gunner (O'Brien) when he jumped. The Co-Pilot jumped and pulled the cord when he saw he was clear of the plane. The plane came back around in a circle and the whole nose was on fire, flames coming out the top and right side of the fuselage. About a ninety degree turn more it blew up before hitting the water.

The Co-Pilot (Hetherington) saw four other chutes below him and just before the explosion another one was open quite low and close to the plane, therefore, the Co-Pilot was certain that six got out of the plane.

The Co-Pilot, Navigator (Fields) and Radio Operator (Anderson) bailed out through the front bomb bay. The Left Gunner bailed out through the rear escape hatch.

Swells were from 10-15 ft high. Other B-29s which saw the men parachuting out radioed in their position. The survivors had been in the water 10 minutes when they saw planes flying low over head.

A Navy PBY spotted the co-pilot and dropped sea marker dye and smoke bombs. The co-pilot was in his dinghy approximately two minutes after contact with the water. He paddled about ten feet, got his parachute and dropped it over his dinghy. It was very easily spotted from the air and worked well as a sea anchor. The Co-Pilot did not drift at all and stayed in the same position as the dye marker.

The Navigator had only his Mae West and had considerable trouble inflating it. His hands were severely burned, also his head and arms. It took him about about thirty minutes to inflate his Mae West. A PBY spotted him and dropped a five man dinghy near him, to which he swam and got into with quite a lot of touble due to his weak condition.

The Left Gunner had his dinghy. He was spotted by rescue planes and marker bombs and sea markers were dropped.

The Radio Operator did not have his dinghy as it was lost in the fire but he had his Mae West. He was not spotted by any rescue planes. Planes flew directly over him several times. No sea marker or smoke bombs were dropped by him.

A mine sweeper had been sent out immediately and a destroyer escort soom after. The mine sweeper arrived first on scene. It picked up the navigator first who was about five miles from the co-pilot. It then came cover and picked up the co-pilot. The radio operator was picked up about 15 minutes later by luck, someone saw something out quite a ways and it was he swimming. The destroyer escort was at the scene by this time and picked up the left gunner.

Although efforts were made unitl dark to pick up the other men, no one was found. There was considerable wreckage still floating where the plane went down. In the area near the wreckage a number of large sharks were seen.

The two ships stayed out until dark and then the survivors were transferred to the destroyer escort and taken into Iwo Jima so that the navigator could have better medical attention. The mine sweeper anchored in the vicinity of the wreckage and continued the search the next day, but no further survivors were found.

Don Hetherington, co-pilot on Crew 16 submitted the following for "History of the 39th Bomb Group":

The crew went down on their first bombing mission. Hetherington had the following to say. "On May 4 over Oita, we had some damage to the right wing, close to the fuselage; it was probably from a phosphorous shell. Fire started coming through the radio operator's compartment. Engineer Harry Clark, Bombardier James Engleholdt, and Navigator Al Fields were attempting to lower the nose wheel with a hand crank and said it had jammed. I hit the alarm bell, called on the intercom to bail out and called to our buddy plane that we were going out. I later assumed that our engineer had turned off the battery and generator switches, as I did not transmit. I said that I would go back and to see if I could get the bomb bay doors open. Radio Operator Clyde Anderson was working on the emergency handles and jumping on the doors. After four or five jumps, the doors opened and he fell out with his one-man life raft on fire. I called out to the crew up front that the doors were open. Al dove through the emergency hatch with his entire flying suit on fire. He would spend about 3 years having plastic surgery to rebuild his nose, ears and damage to his arms and legs.

As I stepped into the bomb bay, there was an explosion up front and I was blown out. It apparently popped my chute; I saw the D-ring falling beside me. Hugh O'Brien said when he got to the rear door someone had frozen. Hugh thought if he jumped the rest would follow.

The following would be Missing In Action: Smith Edwards, James Engelholdt, Odie Kelly, Harry Clark, Gerald Arundale, Ernest Nyholm and a tail gunner who's name I never knew. He replaced our regular tail gunner James Ogilvie, who had accidentally shot himself in the foot just before going to the gunner's briefing.

Our buddy airplane saw debris on the ocean and when we did not respond to radio calls, they called Guam and also Iwo and PBY was out to look for us. They spotted me and dropped smoke flares and marker dye. They found Al and dropped him a five-man life raft. He was too weak to get in but could get his arm over the edge. Just before dark, a minesweeper and a destroyer escort arrived. The minesweeper found me then Clyde Anderson in his Mae West. The destroyer escort found Al Fields and Hugh O'Brien. Clyde and I were transferred to the destroyer by Bosun Chair and taken to Iwo. We were evacuated to Guam in about 10 days. The hospital in Guam kept me to assist in caring for Al and keep his spirits up until he was sent back to the States. This was about six weeks.

We were going to name our plane after the "City of Cooperstown". Our crew was assigned to the 19th BG by mistake. We were loaded with bombs and ready for Tokyo when orders came down to transfer us back to the 39th. They would not let us fly the mission, as the 39th would get credit for it. Our plane did not come back from Japan so we were the lucky once. The second time we weren't. We were just not meant to fly. My form 5-Flight Record says: one take off, no landings.

I returned to the 60th and was assigned to the 314th Wing as an Air Sea Rescue Officer where I remained until I returned to the States in December 1946. I got promoted in August a day after General Power asked about my rank.

60th Squadron Crew Index
Source: "History of the 39th Bomb Group"; Air Sea Report - Narrative - MACR 14376; Joseph Paruti, P-11R