39th Bomb Group (VH)

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28 April 1945

"City of New Bern" "Strato Wolf"
"City of New Bern" (aka "Strato Wolf") Crew 22's first B-29 parked on Iwo Jima
Photo Courtesy of Greg Laux, son of 1st Lt Leo J. Laux, Radar Observer

We were badly shot up during our third mission and crash landed on Iwo Jima. The plane (Strato Wolf I) 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 Hill, Right Gunner, P-22

61st Squadron Crew Index
Source: Ben Hill, P-22