39th Bomb Group (VH)

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City of Atlanta
B-29 # 44-69788

29 December 1944 - Our crew bailed out near Smoky Hill because two engine fires and a runaway prop. We waited for about ten minutes to see if could be brought under control. No luck so out we went ! Our plane (B-29 # 42-24570) crashed seven miles north of Concordia, Kansas. A month earlier, Alan Miller, Crew 1, lost most of his crew in similar circumstances. Only 6 survived !

[Click here to read more about Crew 29's bailout in Kansas]

24 April 1945 - Our second mission was over Hachiaji (a few miles west of Tokyo). We were hit by flak and pulled out of the formation. As we headed toward Tokyo, about 20 Japanese fighters jumped us and we put the airplane in shallow dive to increase airspeed (250) and out ran them. We landed at Iwo for repairs. Our magnetic compass, radio antenna, radar and Loran equipment were destroyed. We flew to Iwo using the Astro Compass and celestial for direction. We counted over 150 flak and machine gun holes in our aircraft. Fortuniately, no one was hurt. Just "Pure Luck" !!

We were having trouble with our Crew Chief. In April we aborted six or seven times because of mechanical failures. Engine fires, bomb bay doors opening as well as other things too. It continued through April and in June, we were only able to get in two missions. In late June, we were assigned a new man, S/Sgt James F. Finlay from Cullen, Louisiana. We never aborted again. What a great guy !

Lester Fauver, TG states " We flew all 23 missions together as a crew with the following exceptions - Capt Ferrell did not fly #22 with us, he flew as pilot for Major Miller. 1st Lt Guinther was AC, I don't recall the name of the pilot filling in on # 22.

Sometime between our 10th - 15th mission 1st Lt Walter Fauerso left the crew because of health reasons. I cannot be sure but I think his replacement was a M/Sgt Evans.

Green mentions "We completed our duties and flew home October 31, 1945."

Per General Order 53 dated 4 September 1945 Section XX

For extraordinary achievment while participating in aerial flight over the Japanese home island of Honshu 23 May 1945. These individuals were combat crew members from a base in the Marianas against the South Tokyo urban area. They held unswervingly to their assigned heading to the target in spite of a volume of continously-pointed, heavy caliber anti-aircraft fire, reaching the proportions of a barrage over the target. After dropping their bombs on the flaming target area, they accomplished a withdrawal through a ring of radar-controlled searchlights and flak in the objective area. The cool courage, outstanding skills, and exceptional airmanship displayed by these veterans of repeated assualts against the Japanese homeland materially contributed on this mission to the successful prosecution of the war, reflecting great credit on themselves and the Army Air Forces.

Captain RAYMOND S FERRELL, (then First Lieutenant) Air Corps, United States Army, as Airplane Commander.

First Lieutenant JAMES G. GREEN, Air Corps, United States Army, as Navigator

First Lieutenant JOHN W. GUINTHER JR, Air Corps, United States Army, as Pilot.

First Lieutenant FREDERICK RICE, (then Second Lieutenant) Air Corps, United States Army, as Radar Observer.

Staff Sergeant PAUL E. FAUST, (then Sergeant) Air Corps, United States Army, as Right Blister Gunner.

Staff Sergeant LESTER P FAUVER JR, (then Sergeant) Air Corps, United States Army, as Tail Gunner.

Staff Sergeant DONALD J MORRIS, (then Sergeant) Air Corps, United States Army, as Radio Operator.

Source: James G. Green, Lester Fauver, "History of the 39th Bomb Group"; GO 53