Sherwood W. Kiernan, left gunner on 62nd's Crew 52, missing in
action since 24 May (1945) is the second Group man to have been
found as a Jap PW. Too late for last week's "Blockbuster" which
carried a meager account of the deliverance of crewmate Sgt Lloyd
R. Hill from the Japs, Sgt Kiernan paid a visit to the Group,
on his way to the states, and recounted his experiences.
was a thinner Kiernan that spoke with his buddies of the 62nd
Bomb Squadron. In the 81 days that he was a prisoner of the Japs,
Kiernan said he lost 56 lbs.
told to 1st Lt Harry B. Eddy of the 62nd, Sgt Kiernan related
his a tale of danger, suspense and Japanese hostility.
FOUR ENGINE HIT
started on the May 23rd night raid on Tokyo with Crew 52 operating
as pathfinder. As their plane approached the target, all HELL
broke loose on the ground, filling the air with flak. Number four
engine was shot out with the resulting fire spread to the right
OUT OVER TOKYO
of Bail Out Area
appearing in "The Blockbuster"
22 September 1945, Vol. 1 No. 15
wounded plane fought its way out over Tokyo Bay and there Airplane
Commander Capt Richard E. Paquette gave the command, "Bail Out."
Sgt Kiernan declared that when the order was given all the men
in the rear of the plane were ready with Sgt Hill bailing out
the suspense of his jump over with Kiernan found himself only
three-quarters of a mile off the shore. The city was a mass of
flame and cast an ominous glow for miles around. He quickly inflated
his little life raft and navigated his way to a nearby breakwater
where he hid his chute under a pile of rocks. The Sgt then inched
his way cautiously to a small wooden bridge under which he buried
his life raft and kept out of sight until he could formulate a
plan of action.
ESCAPE IN JAPANESE FISHING BOAT
following two days were spent in hiding, but on the third night
Kiernan forth in search of a possible avenue of escape. He discovered
an unoccupied fishing boat pulled up on the beach and decided
that with it he might transport himself to less dangerous territory.
when escape seemed within his grasp he was discovered by a Jap
patrol. His weakened condition and lack of food made resistance
foolhardy, and he was taken in custody. Questioned at great length,
he was transferred to the Japanese Military Police Headquarters
WITH BAMBOO STICKS FOR INFORMATION
he was received with contempt and abuse, and in the process of
interrogation was systematically beaten with bamboo sticks till
his back was bruised and swollen. The Japanese who questioned
him used flawless English and asked him many questions concerning
was Kiernan's initiation to Kempeti, the MP prison in Tokyo. Food
consisted of water and a rice ball, which diminished daily for
the size from the size of a softball to a little bigger than a
golf ball. Conditions were appalling. The prisoners were abused,
several dying of burns and lack of medical care.
morning the guards came and took Kiernan and others to another
prison camp on little island in Tokyo Bay. Conditions here were
August, Navy LSI's rescued 137 Americans from the island and delivered
them to a hospital ship. There were screened and segregated for
further disposition depending on their individual physical and mental