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39th Bomb Group (VH)


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"City of Las Vegas"
"Round Trip Ticket"
B-29 # 42-65365
3 4 5

Crew 55 Stateside
Courtesy of Don Hartshorn

Standing L to R:
2nd Lt Daniel Clendening, Radar; 2nd Lt George Tucker, Bomb.; 2nd Lt Harvard Cox, Pilot; Capt Franics Smith, Nav; 1st Lt Robert Dudley, AC

Kneeling Row L to R:
Cpl John C. Donoghue, CFC; Cpl David Fisher, Radio; Cpl Roland J. Johnson, RG;
Sgt Richard Jacobsen, FE; Cpl Donald Hartshorn, LG; Cpl Robert Lawhorn*, TG


Crew 55
Taken Guam - 17 June 1945
after Mission 5 - Nagoshima, Japan
Courtesy of Don Hartshorn

Standing:
2nd Lt Daniel Clendening Radar Observer
Capt Francis E. Smith Navigator
Capt Robert H. Dudley Airplane Commander
2nd Lt George W. Tucker Bombardier
1st Lt Harvard B. Cox Pilot
Kneeling:
Sgt Thomas M. Mayfield (P-43) Temp Tail Gunner
F/O Richard W. Jacobsen Flight Engineer
S/Sgt David Fisher Radio Operator
T/Sgt John C. Donoghue CFC Gunner
S/Sgt Roland R. Johnson Right Gunner
S/Sgt Donald E. Hartshorn Left Gunner

Not pictured:
Sgt David L. Hirsch Replacement Tail Gunner


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 Crew 55
Honor Roll 
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Capt Robert H. Dudley
Airplane Commander
April 1969
2nd Lt George W. Tucker
Bombardier
March 1976
F/O Richard W. Jacobsen
Flight Engineer
01 December 1992
S/Sgt John A. Charbonneau
Crew Chief
4 January 1999
1st Lt Harvard B. Cox
Pilot
29 October 1999
S/Sgt Donald E. Hartshorn
Left Gunner
20 February 2007
Capt Francis E. Smith
Navigator
25 March 2007
S/Sgt Roland R. Johnson
Right Gunner
22 December 2008

Update:

Feb 2008:
Added: Roland R. Johnson to Crew 55 Honor Roll. Thanks to David Fisher for notifying me.

Apr 2007:
Added: Francis E. Smith to Crew 55 Honor Roll. Thanks once again to David Fisher for notifying me of Capt Smith's Final Flight.

21 Feb 2007:
Added: Don Hartshorn to Crew 55 Honor Roll. Thanks to David Fisher, Radio Op for calling to notify of Don's passing; Also received notification and a copy of Don's obit from a Thomas Townsend, he reviews local obits and when a military unit is listed he tries to make contact to let the unit they lost a member. Thanks for the assistance Mr. Townsend.

20 July 2006:
Added: Partial DFC Citation for 6 members of the crew.

16 August 2002:
From scanning in on a section of the ground crew photo, it has been determined that the serial number of Crew 55's B-29 City of Las Vegas" ("Round Trip Ticket") was 42-65365. This number was originally listed as Crew 41's plane.

19 July 2002:
Don Hartshorn provided the missing names of this crew. *Lawhorn transferred to be a "ground pounder". Thomas Mayfield, from Crew 43 flew as Tail Gunner while they awaited a permanent replacement tail gunner. Sgt David L. Hirsch is the same David Hirsch who was a member of Crew 50; one of three members of the crew to survive. Crew 50 went down on their first mission 27 April 1945.

If anyone has any updates for this crew, please email: updates@39th.org

The original information listing the 4 Officers of this crew, the Airplane Commander, Navigator, Bombardier and Radar Observer came from a list compiled by Lt. Robert Woodard, P-33.


Crew 55 like many other crews was put together at Lincoln, Nebraska. They traveled from there by train to Clovis Army Air Field, Clovis, New Mexico where they got their flight training as a replacement crew. They arrived there in November 1944 and their first flight as a crew was in a B-17 on November 27. Their last training mission at Clovis was on 9 March 1945.

They traveled by train to Kearney, Nebraska, which was their staging area for overseas. They were issued gear and a brand new B-29. On 26 March 1945, they flew 4-hours in that plane as a "check out" flight.

They departed Kearney on 29 March and arrived at Mather Field, California, 9 hours later. The next day, they took off for Hawaii, but the flight only lasted 35 minutes because of an over-heating problem in an engine. They returned to Mather Field, where they stayed for a little over a week while waiting on a replacement engine.

David Fisher, Radio Operator of the crew stated - " I have always said I felt that was a very meaningful time for our crew. We had no duties during that time, and all of us, officers and enlisted men alike, went to Sacramento together, and socialized, eating together, going to the movies, joking around while waiting on bus back to the base."

The check-out flight was short on 10 April, and on 13 April, they departed for Hawaii. This was the day after President Roosevelt's death. We did go into Honolulu - but things were pretty subdued.

The next day, they flew to Kwajalein, with a short stop at Johnson Island, to have cowling flaps inspected. After an over-night stay at Kwajalein, we flew to Saipan the next day, where they gave our plane to another crew. After another week or so in a transient barracks, we were assigned to the 39th Bomb Group, 62nd Bomb Squadron and became Crew No. 55.

We flew a few practice missions before being scheduled for our first combat mission over Otake, Honshu on May 10. However, a cracked cylinder forced us t abort the mission and land at Iwo Jima. Our first completed combat mission was May 14 over Nagoya.

David Hirsch, Left Gunner from Crew 50 (one of only 3 crew members of crew P-50 to survive their 27 April mission) flew with Crew 55 on about 10-12 missions which would put the time he joined Crew 55 about the third week in June, replacing S/Sgt Robert Lawhorn as Tail Gunner. Lawhorn was transferred to a ground section position and reduced in rank to Private.




Sources: "History of the 39th Bomb Group"; Don Hartshorn; David Fisher