39th Bomb Group (VH)

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First Aircraft: Slim - B-29 # 42-93979
Second Aircraft: "City of Attleboro " - B-29 # 44-87642 - (Slim II)
9 10

P-44 on Hardstand
Courtesy of 1st Lt Dan Clendening, Radar Observer, P-55

Bottom Row: L to R: 
Capt. Zitkowski, Gr Oper. Officer; S/Sgt Russell, Ground Crew; Sgt Bleiman, CFC Maintenance; T/Sgt William R. Hehe (Hayms), Ground Crew Chief; M/Sgt Kile, Line Crew Chief.
Middle Row: L to R:
T/Sgt Max L. Sampsel, CFC Gunner; Sgt Jerell L. Taylor, RG; Cpl Henry T. Matthaus, TG; M/Sgt Lloyd E.. Geringer, FE; Sgt Lloyd Volkmar, Radio Operator; S/Sgt Clarence Martin,LG.
Top Row: L to R:
1st Lt Charles A. Smith; Radar Observer; 1st Lt Edward Dengler, Pilot; 1st Lt Thomas Brennan, Jr.; Navigator;
Capt Carroll H. Payne, Airplane Commander; 1st Lt Julian Arnold, Bombardier

 Crew 44
Honor Roll 
Cpl Henry T. Matthaus
Tail Gunner
25 May 1945
1st Lt Edward Dengler
11 January 1984
Capt Carroll H. Payne
Airplane Commander
30 June 1984
S/Sgt Clarence Martin
Left Gunner
S/Sgt Jerell L. Taylor
Right Gunner
4 April 1990
M/Sgt Lloyd E. Geringer
Flight Engineer
5 October 1991
M/Sgt William R. (Hehe) Haymes
Crew Chief
06 November 1997
Sgt Lloyd Volkmar
Radio Operator
2 January 1995
T/Sgt Max L. Sampsel
CFC Gunner
16 December 2000
1st Lt Julian "Jupe" Arnold
15 July 2005
1st Lt Thomas H. Brennan, Jr.
21 January 2007
S/Sgt Lewis E. Howard
Replacement Tail Gunner
14 June 2007
1st Lt Charles A. Smith
Radar Observer
28 March 2024


04 June 2024 - Added Charles A. Smith to Crew and Final Flight Honor Roll. It should be noted that Smith was the last surving 39th Bomb Group Reunion regular attendees. Thank to Amy for notifying us of his Final Flight

15 December 2007
- Howard added to Crew Honor Row.

27 May 2007
- Brennan added to Crew Honor Row.

Mission 11 - 25-26 May 1945

The mission was a night incendiary raid on downtown Tokyo and nearby waterfront. The visual bomb run was made at 9,100 feet in clear weather. Searchlights picked up four minutes short of the target and remained on us for a total of nine minutes. One fighter made a pass at us over the target and several others were seen. About 50 flares were seen (many carried explosives). A "fireball" picked us up at the coast and followed us for 50 miles before falling off toward the sea. We were hit several times by flak - hole in the nose, three in the left wing, several in the bomb bay and center wing tank areas, two in the top blister and an undetermined number in the tail compartment and tail surfaces.

Tail Gunner Henry Matthaus was hit by flak and ammunition exploded and much of the equipment was destroyed or damaged. Matthaus failed respond on intercom. Charles Smith went back and broke open the tail compartment door. Lloyd Volkmar, Radio Operator (our first aid man), decided to move the severely injured Matthaus to the radar compartment, where he was able to render first aid. Iwo Jima was socked in and due to our damaged aircraft; we couldn't take a chance on landing there. On our return, we had to open the bomb bay by manual means to eject six bombs, which had hung up due to a release malfunction. The rear doors wouldn't close - we landed with them open. Despite the co-pilot's controls being completely inoperative and the elevator trim tabs and other control functions knocked out, we made an excellent land

We had also seen a B-29 go down in a flat spin with wing fire.

Time of mission: 15 hours, 20 minutes

The medics believed that Matthaus had died shortly after being hit.


Source: Charles A. Smith, Radar, P-44 for "History of the 39th Bomb Group"
Photo submitted by Lloyd Volkmar, P-44 Historian