39th Bomb Group (VH)

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Replacement Crew 16
"Sweet Sixteen"
B-29 # Unknown

Photo Courtesy of Richard Kelso, Son in-law of Lt Col James H. Thompson

Standing L to R:
F/O Donald G. Smith Navigator*
2nd Lt Theodore P. Pearse Radar *
Capt John T. Horne Airplane Commander*
2nd Lt Francis W. Strahorn Pilot
2nd Lt  James H. Burrows, Jr. Bombardier*
Kneeling L to R:
T/Sgt Robert K. Emmons CFC Gunner
S/Sgt John J. Griffin Right Gunner
S/Sgt Sebastian M. Palomo Radio Operator
S/Sgt George M. Thomas, Jr. Left Gunner
Sgt Samuel R. Rager Tail Gunner
M/Sgt Raymond L. Donahue Flight Engineer

Identification of the crew comes from the "Account of F.W. Strahorn in WWII B-29 Pilot from Elkton, MD.

 Crew 16 
Honor Roll 
S/Sgt George M. Thomas, Jr.
Left Gunner
6 September 1954
S/Sgt Sebastian Palomo
Radio Operator
July 1979
2nd Lt James H. Burrows
02 June 1990 (SSDI)
M/Sgt Raymond L. Donahue
Flight Engineer
27 December 1996
F/O Donald G. Smith, Sr.
24 September 2016


10 May 2017:
Added F/O Donald Smith to the Crew Honor Roll and the Final Flight Honor Roll. Thank you to his son, Don, Jr. for notifying us of his father's passing.

Added S/Sgt George L. Thomas to Crew Honor Roll and Final Flight Honor Roll. Thank you to his son, Patrick Thomas for notifying us of his father's passing and providing his DOD.

6 December 2016:
M/Sgt Raymond L. Donahue entry found in The Hout Family for Two Thousand and Twenty-seven Years Ten Generations 1725 to 1952 stating serving in 39th BG, additional entry in found Raymond L. Donahue with same DOB as found in family histry; DOD listed in

12 July 2014:
Joe Landy has identified his Uncle John J. Griffin is 2nd from the left kneeling (front row).

16 October 2006:
John Palomo contacted our web site and verified that his father, Sabastian M. Palomo, Radio Operator this crew - did pass away in July 1979 as listed in the Social Security Death Index.

26 August 2005:
Operations Order # 115, Issued by ATC, Pacific Division, 1505th AAF BU, Mather Field, dated 2 May 1945 listed then Cpl George M. Thomas as Left Gunner and then Cpl John J. Griffin as Right Gunner - thus the above roster has been updated as such; previous "gunner" was entered as their positions. These same orders show that this crew flew B-29 # 44-69986 overseas. This aircraft was assigned to Crew 18, 60th BS

09 September 2004:
Donald G. Smith, Jr., son of Donald G. Smith, Navigator found our site and has made contact with us. Don, Jr. shared that according to his father the nickname of his father's B-29 was "Sweet Sixteen".

25 September 2002:
Contact has been made with Franics Strahorn, who provided the missing names of his crew; Previously names were found on orders which were believed to members of this crew but were unconfirmed until now.

*Originally the names of these were the 4 known members of this crew that came fron a list compiled by 1st Lt Robert Woodard, P-33.

Anyone with any other information regarding this crew's missions or current status please email

60th Squadron Crew Index
Sources: "History of the 39th Bomb Group"; Francis Strahorn, Pilot; John S. Palomo