Howard, whose hometown was Fredericksburg, VA, was initially
on Captain Paquette's ill-fated Crew
52, having flown seven combat missions with that crew.
took ill on the day of 25 May (1945) and had to remain
behind on a maximum effort night strike against Tokyo.
Capt. Paquette and his crew did not return that day. Lewis,
by fate, sat disconsolately on his cot waiting and praying
for his crew's safe return. But this did not happen and
after a couple of days, P-52 and all her crew were officially
listed as "Missing In Action"
as Lewis was now without a crew, and P-44 was short a
tail gunner, he was asked by A/C Payne to fill this slot.
Howard readily accepted.
flew the following twelve missions with Crew 44 accumulating
a total of nineteen by the war's end.
the raid on Mito, he joined other members of P-44 for
R and R leave on Hickam. The war ended during this time.
It is believed that Lewis returned to stateside by troop
ship, as did the other members of P-44, excepting Captain
Payne. The latter, was allowed to return to North Field
to retrieve as many of the crew's personal belongings
as he could. Payne managed to take "Slim II" on one last
flight - the massive "Show of Force" over Tokyo Bay at
the time the Japanese surrender occurred aboard the battleship
Howard ended his wartime service with the rank of Staff
Sergeant. It is believed that in addition to other decorations,
he received the Distinguished
Flying Cross and 3 Air
Medals, and Two Distinguished
returned to Fredericksburg, VA, and in 1947 married Margaret
whom he had first met in 1944. For many years he was employed
in civil service at the U.S. Army Engineer Research and
Development Laboratories at Fort Belvor, VA, serving as
a chief maintenance mechanic.
and Margaret have two children Peggy Lou and Danny Lee.
Both are married and have between them presented their
parents with five grandchildren. Margaret started her
own successful interior decorating business. Lewis became
involved in the transportation business. He saw the need
for better commuter service between Fredericksburg and
Fort Belvor and purchased some buses. The business grew
and he added more and, according to reports, the business
is still flourishing.
also disclosed that he had been in touch with one of the
blister gunners, a survivor of his original crew led by
Captain Paquette. With their plane in flames all had perished
with the exception of himself and the other side gunner.
The aforementioned crewmen informed Howard that the Japanese
had captured the other gunner but he was fortunate enough
to be taken by some friendly Japanese citizens who hid
him in their home. After while he felt he could not elude
capture indefinitely so he slipped away quietly with the
intention of making his way to the coast and conceivably
swimming out to an Air-Sea Rescue submarine. This bold
plan did not succeed, however, and he was captured and
imprisoned. Somehow, despite inhumane treatment, he managed
to survive and was freed after the Japanese surrender.
He felt that he had heard the voice of his crewmate in
a nearby cell but was never really certain.
and Margaret hosted a P-44 reunion in Fredericksburg in
1988. Though Lloyd and his wife were unable to attend
it was an exciting and enjoyable occasion. Tom Brennen
later reported that he and his wife and the Smiths had
the opportunity to tour the nearby Civil War battlefields
- a memorable experience for them all.