39th Bomb Group (VH)

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Award of Distinguished Flying Cross
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APO 234, c/o Postmaster
San Francisco California

5 September 1945
NO . . . . . . . . 54) -
   Section VII

         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: "Definitions 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 61st Bombardment Squadron, 39th Bombardment Group.

         For extraordinary achievement while participating in aerial flight over Kawasaki, Japan, on 15 April 1945. These individuals were members of the combat crew of a B-29 aircraft assigned to the highly-successful night incendiary strike against the Japanese industrial and transportation center of Kawasaki. In spite of an intense volume of continuously pointed enemy anti-aircraft fire in the target area, they released their bombs squarely in the target area. Immediately after bombs away, their B-29 plunged into a towering column of dense black smoke. The airplane was thrown violently upward, over on its back, and then downward. In spite of the efforts of the airplane commander and the pilot, the plane was again turned over and was then pulled downwards. They finally recovered at an altitude of 900 feet, and made their way clear of the target area. The cool courage, outstanding airmanship, and skill, displayed by these veterans of repeated assaults against the Japanese homeland, materially contributed to the success of this mission, aiding in the sucessful prosecution of the war. Their actions reflect great credit upon themselves and the Army Air Forces.

First Lieutenant GEORGE F. BUCHER, Air Corps, United States Army, as Bombardier.

First Lieutenant GARVIN R. KOWALKE, Air Corps, United States Army, as Pilot.

First Lieutenant RUBE F. SCHEIDER, Air Corps, United States Army, as Flight Engineer.

First Lieutenant ERNEST D. SMITH, JR. (then Second Lieutenant), Air Corps, United States Army, as Radar Observer.

Staff Sergeant MARVIN N. CONLEY, JR. (then Corporal), Air Corps, United States Army, as Radio Operator.

Source: GO 54 sec 5 dated 7 sep 1945, HQ 20th AF