39th Bomb Group (VH)

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"City Of Virginia Beach"
"Piece O' Meanness"
 B-29 # 42-65366

The above was found on ebay and purchased by the 39th BG Association

What looks to be "P-28" appears on the # 4 engine cowling [click on the engine shown above where to 2 dots appear to enlarge that area]. Another identifying marking is the front nose wheel cover. It's painted with a series of dots - they start out large and get progressively smaller moving left to right [click on the area of the nose wheel cover to enlarge that area]. Additionally the same nose wheel cover markings can be seen in the photo of Crew 28 below.

Charles B. Miller, Col USAF Res Retired (Airplane Commander of Crew 28) confirmed the nose wheel cover was painted yellow with large black dots.

Crew 28 - City of Virginia Beach
Photo Courtesy of David Felix

Thanks to Charles B. Miller for identifying the faces to names

Standing Left to Right:
F/O Edward Kammer Radar Observer
1st Lt Graham E. Elvgren Pilot
Major Charles B. Miller Airplane Commander
1st Lt Ernest T. Rogers Bombardier
1st Lt Jonas Rosenfeld* Replacement Navigator
Kneeling Left to Right:
Sgt Lynn J. Mc Clure, Jr. Tail Gunner
S/Sgt David Felix  Left Gunner
S/Sgt Emerson L. Sollom Radio Operator
T/Sgt Patrick L. Shea CFC Gunner
F/O Malcolm W. Farnum  Flight Engineer
S/Sgt John L. Millette Right Gunner

Crew 28 as many of the other crews of the 39th was formed in Salina, KS.

While the exact missions are not known at this time, Emerson Sollom, Radio Operator states they flew 29 missions – the 29th being the “Show of Force” over the “USS MISSOURI”.

The crew had flown 5 to 7 missions when LeMay had stated that the bombing missions were going to start bombing from an altitude of 5,000 instead of the 21,000 to 23,000 feet previously. On the next mission – Tokyo 17 square miles of the city were burned out recalls Sollom.

“I don’t remember each individual mission or target that was bombed.” However he does remember “twice having a live bomb stuck in the bomb bay hanger after dropping a load on a target. It required our flight engineer (Farnum) and myself to go out in the bombbay with the bombbay doors open and dislodge the bomb by sitting down on the catwalk and kicking the side of the bomb to loosen it from the hanger and watching the bomb drop.”

Of the many experiences Emerson had of WWII “the one I think about most freguently” was:

“I believe our crew had flown 7 missons when a new crew came in from states. The enlisted men came into our barracks. The radio operator of that crew bunked next to me so I got to know him. Of course that had a lot of questions and our answers were some what exaggerated. They practiced bombing some of the small islands and rocks not populated in the Guam area. After finishing their practice of a few days they were ready for their first real bomb-run.

The group took off from Guam including the new crew. It was common practice to fly pretty much solo until we reached the rendezvous point, usually a couple hundred miles off the coast of Japan. This point was an uninhabited island that we circled and then after all the planes got there, we got into formation and flew the bomb run.

As we were circling the new crew was right behind our plane, out of the sun cam this Jap Zero, aimed his guns directly at the plane behind us, hit them and the plane began to fall 20-some thousand feet into the ocean and disappear.

Next day supply came into the barracks and packed up their personnel belongings.

Crew 28 was among those that flew the group’s first mission on 12 April 1945. On this mission, members of this crew were awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross.

General Order 54 Section VI dated 5 September 1945 states:

“For extraordinary achievement while participating in aerial flight over the Japanese home island of Honshu on 12 April 1945. These individuals formed the combat crew of a B—29 aircraft assigned to the history—making daylight strike against a chemical plant at Koriyarna. This highly successful strike against an important industrjal center involved a flight of more, than 3,800 miles over water, and hostile territory, and was then longest bombing mission ever completed. Upon arrival at tbe assembly point, thoy found that the other planes in their formation had departed. Undaunted by the prospect of taking a single plane over a heavily-defended and already alerted target area, they unhesitatingly pressed on the objective. In spite of enemy fighter attacks and heavy caliber anti- aircraft fire, they released their projectiles from an altitude of 8,000 feet with such accuracy that one hundred percent of them struck in the target area.The conspicuous courage and skill displayed by those veterans of repeated assaults against the Japanese homeland, in spite of the unusual strain entailed by an eighteen-hour flight over water and enemy territoy, contributed materially to a mission which aided in the successful prosecution of the war, and reflect great credit on themselves and the Army Air rorces.”

1st Lieutenant Graham E. Elvgren, (then Second Lieutenant) as Pilot

Flight Officer Malcolm W. Farnum, (then Technical Sergeant) as Flight Engineer

Staff Sergeant Emerson W. Sollom, (then Corporal) as Radio Operator

Techincal Sergeant Patrick L. Shea, (then Corporal) as Gunner

Sergeant Dave Felix, (then Corporal) as Gunner

Staff Sergeant John L. Millette, (then Corporal) as Gunner

Staff Sergeant Lynn J. McClure, (then Corporal) as Gunner

Per General Order 57 dated 08 September 1945 - Award of The Distinguished Flying Cross - Oak Left Cluster - the following Officers of Crew 28 earned the Bronze Oak Leaf Cluster to their Distinguished Flying for the 12 April 1945 stated above in GO 54 Section VI dated 5 September 1945:

Major Charles B. Miller, (then Captain) Air Corps, United States Army as Airplane Commander

First Lieutenant Jonas Rsenfeld, Air Corps, United States Army as Navigator

First Lieutenant Ernest T. Rogers, Air Corps, United States Army as Bombardier

Flight Officer Edward Kammer, Air Corps, United States Army as Radar Observer

Anyone with additional information about this crew please email:

61st Squadron Crew Index
Source: GO-54; Emerson L. Sollom, Radio Operator; Charles B. Miller, AC
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