39th Bomb Group (VH)
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S/Sgt Benjamin F. Hill
Right Gunner
Ben F. Hill
Ben Hill 1944
Changes were made during our tour of duty on Guam. I was only a Corporal because I failed to salute the Squadron commander and he restricted me to base and held up my advance in rank. I think I was the only enlisted man to fly in combat as a Corporal.

We were badly shot up during our third mission and crash landed on Iwo Jima. The plane was a total loss. 13 people were on board. 11 crew members, Flight Surgeon and a Group observer. I believe I was the only one who shed blood - from a bump on the head. 7 Purple hearts were awarded - all to officers. The AC received the Distinguished Flying Cross for attempting to assist our wing ship which was shot down and ditched in Tokyo Bay. Our ship was damaged. 1 engine out and another pulling only half power. Very low on fuel because we lost most when the right wing tank was hit. We managed to ward off enemy fighters who were attempting to strafe the downed plane and radio their position. Our efforts had to be abandoned when we had just enough fuel left to reach Iwo.

Ben F. Hill
Dorothy and Ben Hill
May 2001

Most every thing written about World War II revolves around service experiences (War stories) and, I guess, this is the way it should be. I my case, however, the outstanding personal experience was my exposure to the city of Salina, Kansas. I met Dorothy, my wife, there and became acquainted with many outstanding citizens of that city. This was a great experience for a kid from South Philadelphia, Pa. whose family thought civilization did not exist West of Pittsburgh. Dorothy was a school teacher. Her father was Cashier of the Planter's State Bank. He went on to become President and Chairman of the Board.

Dorothy and I were married in Salina after I returned from Guam and was discharged. We returned to my home in South Philadelphia together and began a life long outstanding relationship resulting in two fine and lovely Daughters. We recently celebrated our 55th wedding anniversary. Until just recent years we have made yearly trips to Salina. In fact, just last year we returned to celebrate Dorothy's 60th high school class reunion. I am sure we will return again.

This info is not the accepted war story, but it is my war story and is very clear in my mind. All of the rest is somewhat clouded in my memory.

It is with great sadness that we inform you that following quadruple by-pass surgery and complications Ben Hill passed away Friday, October 31, 2003. - The Hill Family

Source: Benjamin F. Hill