the night of 19 June 1945, 123 Guam based B-29's Bombed
the City of Shizouka. More than 2000 Japanese were killed
and 60 percent of the city was destroyed.
of the aircraft did not return with the others. One was
Crew 42 of the 39th Bomb Group and one from the 29th Bomb
Group. They collided and crashed near the Abe River, about
150 miles south of Tokyo. A Japanese citizen Mr. Ito found
two surviving crewmen and tried to help them. These two
men died of their injuries so Mr. Ito buried the two flyers
at a Shinto Shrine at the base of Mt. Sengen and gave
them a Shinto burial. This act took great courage because
it was the violating the military law; all enemies, dead
or alive were to be turned over to the authorities. For
this act, Mr. Ito was labeled a traitor and forced to
live in disgrace until the war's end. Following the war,
Ito built a monument to the Japanese citizens killed in
that raid and wanted to erect one for the airmen who lost
their lives. He needed to inscribe their names, and according
to his religion, the matter had to be resolved within
thirty (30) years. The efforts to get the names began
a warm and strong relationship between the Japanese and
the Americans that still continues today.
Ito became a Buddhist monk and continued a ceremony at
the monument annually with the help of Dr. Sugano. When
Ito died, Dr. Sugano was entrusted with the "Blackened
Canteen" recovered from the crash site and used in the
ceremony for over twenty years. From this canteen whisky
was poured on the headstone of the monument.
January 1995, Harry Mitchell, President of the 29th Bomb
Group Association was contacted to by Dr. Sugano to aid
in locating family members of the two crews. John B. Colli,
brother of Kenneth Colli, Crew 42, and Mrs. Margaret Delago,
wife of John Pauciloski of the 29th Bomb Group were located
by Mr. Mitchell and his wife. These four were invited
to Japan as the guests of Dr. Sugano to attend the 1995
Joint Memorial Service in Shizuoki City 17 June. Col.
Michael G. King, Vice Commander 374 th Airlift Wing, Yokota
Air Base, Japan. Many other U.S. dignitaries attended.