1 June 1945 Crew 30 on their 14 th mission took part in
the Osaka strike. Just after landfall that day, Orr and
his crew had trouble with an engine, but they refused
to abandon the mission and went onto the target.
moments after bombs away, direct flak hit struck another
engine and put it out of commission. Then shortly after
land's end, the propeller broke from the engine that had
first given them trouble and struck the B-29's fuselage
with great force. A gaping hole was torn in the airplane,
placing it imminent danger of breaking up in the air.
from the right side of the plane, Orr and his pilot, Lt.
Monte Frosham, were able to bring the bomber under some
measure of control and maintain flight through some five
hundred miles of turbulent frontal weather on instruments
in a right-wing-low, nose down altitude. The B-29 was
in perilous condition with accumulated damage now mounting
to the loss of two engines, a flak hit in the third, damage
to the flight controls the whole plane would bend and
the crew thought it would surely fall apart in mid-air.
flying for several hours in this extremely dangerous state,
the plane finally came out of the overcast and sighted
a small-uninhabited island (Sofu Gan). It was then that
Orr ordered the crew to bail out.
one of the bravest acts of the 39th Group's history took
place. Edward Kanick, flight engineer couldn't swim, so
Monte Frodsham took him on his back and jumped from the
stricken plane. Monte hoped that he would be able to assist
Kanick when they got into the water. But the force of
the air tore Kanick from Monte's back and they fell separately.
Sergeant James Schwoegler, Radio Operator, had stayed
in the crippled plane until the last minute to assure
himself that the ground station had received his position
report of the bail out.
remained with his plane and was the last to leave. Although
he was barely managing to stay in flight with the one
engine he had left, he refused to bail out until he was
sure that all his men were out safely. He circled the
spot where they had jumped until he saw all of them in
the water, and then, despite the fact that the B-29 was
rapidly loosing altitude and might blow up and any moment,
he flew it away from the vicinity so that it could not
possibly hit any of the survivors in the water when it
Bill Orr jumped at a dangerously low altitude. He got
into the water safely and was later picked up with the
rest of the other men, by Navy rescue submarine.
Orr was personally presented with the Distinuished
Service Cross by General Spaatz.