39th Bomb Group (VH)

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Original Crew
B-29 # 44-69895

The above photo is courtesy of Terry Ratigan, nephew of F/O David P. Donahoo, the photo belonged to Teresa Donahoo, David's mother - note the inscription "To the Best Mother in the world" David". Click inscription on photo to enlarge area; Click over the men and see the full version of the photo.

Front Row (kneeling) L to R:
2nd Lt Jim A. Mc Candless, Radar Observer; 2nd Lt Aaron M. Kopit, Pilot; 1st Lt Alexander Orionchek, Airplane Commander; 2nd Lt Charles B. Coutt, Bombardier; F/O David P. Donahoo, Navigator
Back Row (standing) L to R:
Cpl John C. Sprosty, Tail Gunner; Cpl Marvin H. Long, Right Gunner;Cpl Albert P. Tomasetti, Left Gunner; T/Sgt Robert L. Addleman, Flight Engineer; Cpl Conrad E. Vogt, Radio Operator; Sgt William L. Wood, CFC Gunner.


29 Feb 2011: Received a copy of the above Crew Photo from Don Kolle, great nephew of Conrad Vogt with the names and positions of the men pictured - as such - Identifications above have been corrected and the three men that were not ID'd in the photo now have been.

28 March 2010
: Added photo of 2nd Lt Aaron M. Kopit to his dedication page.

06 April 2009
: Sprosty identified per Vic Durrance (P-21, TG).

20 March 2009
: Added photo of Donahoo to his dedication page.

19 March 2009
: Crew photo added. Thanks to (Rowland Ball, Nav, P-3) for identifying Orionchek and Vogt; McCandless and Kopit IDed from portrait photos previously obtained from family - process of elimination - remaining unidentified officer - should be 2nd Lt Charles B. Coutts The first cousin of Charles B. Coutts has verified that the 4th man from the left kneeling is identified correctly
- 24 Apr 2009; Long also matched by previous photo from family and verified.

15 March 2009: Added photo of 2nd Lt Aaron M. Kopit to his dedication page; Also updated data for dedication pages for Donahoo and Vogt.

On 28 April, one composite Squadron of the 39th of 12 aircraft, along with other groups of the 314th Wing, struck the Kushira Airfield. Eleven planes bombed the primary. The other, having arrived late at the assembly area joined the 19th Group and bombed Kanoya Airfield.

The weather was clear, and the bombing altitude was around 17,000 feet. So preoccupied with enemy aircraft, results at Kushira were reported as unobserved. Strike photographs indicated good to excellent, while results of the 19th were judged as only fair.

Enemy opposition was the heaviest encountered to date. Some 50 aircraft were present in the target area, and the enemy pressed 30 to 40 attacks on the formation. Gunners claimed nine destroyed, four probables, and four more damaged.

One plane ditched that day with 11 men and one passenger. This was Orionchek's Crew 26 with Clarence Beevers, engineer of P-31R on his orientation flight. P-26 had been rammed over the target. Pulley's crew would report the location of the ditching and all-12 men were in lifeboats. Bad weather prevented a rescue; the men disappeared about two days later.

"The reality of losing Beevers and the enlisted members of Orionchek's crew from our quonset was a shocker! The empty cots across the aisle was a reminder of the seriousness of the War. For Henry Snow, an observer on Pulley's crew, to see his own flight engineer lost was heartbreaking," stated David Smith, Tail Gunner, P-31.

Click here to view Missing Air Crew Report # 14333 (macr14333.pdf)

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Replacement Crew 26

61st Squadron Crew Index
Source: "History of the 39th Bomb Group"