39th Bomb Group (VH)

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"City of Monroe"
"Doc Jones"
B-29 # 44-70018
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 44-70018 Reg Plate and Column Cap
Image provided by Ron Greer, son of Radio Op
S/Sgt Herbert Greer
(Click on image to enlarge)

Major Luther A. Jones, Jr., a 62nd Squadron aircraft commander, survived a chilling ordeal on May 29 while taking part in a devastating daylight incendiary attack against the City of Yokahama. From the I.P. until long after bombs away, they were subjected to both a shattering concentration of continuous anti-aircraft fire which scored several hits on their airplane, and vicious attacks by ten enemy fighters. Despite the fierce opposition, the crew maintained the plane on its briefed heading to the target without resorting to evasive tactics. They dropped their bombs directly on the aiming point with disasterous effect. Immediately following the bomb drop, they were still under intense fire. Yet they dropped out of the comparitive safety of the formation to escort a severely damaged Superfortress which was unable to stay in position. Thereafter, until the coast of Japan retreated behind them, these crewmen repeatedly fought off attempts by enemy interceptors to bring down the damaged B-29. After leaving land's end, and still over enemy waters, the crippled bomber was successfully ditched. The protective crew remained there to circle the survivors until a rescue vessel appeared on the scene.

For the above action per SO-54 Section IX dated 5 September 1945:
Major Luther A. Jones, 1st Lt Charles J. Holt, Jr., 2nd Lt Robert Landregan, M/Sgt Marshall A. Goldston, S/Staff Alvin Kassel and Sgt Robert J. De Angelis were awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross.

To view the actual orders - click the order number above.

Orders supplied by T/Sgt John J. Essig, CFC, P-10

Click Image to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Sheldon Elliott, Crew 51's navigator informs us that this was the 2nd replacement crew for the 39th Group. He had trained with Crew 59 at Alamogordo and was friendly with them. Their bombardier was Tim Holt, the movie star. Holt had, at that time, already appeared in several movies and after the war, did more. One of his better known was "Treasure of the Sierra Madre." Given to grandstanding, and in the incident above, Holt noticed that some crew members of the ditched B-29 were having trouble in the water and he volunteered to parachute down to help them. Holt was stopped, of course, by order of Major Jones. The incident was 'the center of conversation' of Crew 51 on a number of future occasions. Tim Holt died of cancer in 1973* in the Harrah, OK*. There were many questions about Tim Holt after the war. It seems he disappeared from Guam and reappeared back in the States, How he managed that has never been discovered.
Source: Exerpt from "Maximum Effort"by Robert Laird( P-5); Sheldon E, Elliott, 62nd Sqn.
* Social Security Death Index Database (

Chester Taylor, P-28 Navigator, dropped this bomb in our lap in 1996 about Tim Holt, Crew 59. Seems Tim was involved in a different type of project in 1942-3 as a bombardier in the Air Force. In a 1992 book by Jack Couffer named "Bat Bomb", Tim was a bombardier attached to a secret project which was to create a bomb using bats to carry incendiary bombs on Japan. The atomic projects success put a stop to "Project X-Ray." Tim Holt's words when he brought the news of the project's cancellation was' "You know, the crazy thing is, I think it would have worked." I have read the book and it was quite interesting. It doesn't tell us what Tim was doing from 1942-3 until Guam in 1945 nor does it tell us how he disappeared after the war ended. It does tell us he was privy to some important people. Maybe that's how he was able to leave so soon. Couffer said Tim died of a heart attack in 1973. 

Source: David Smith, March 1996

Source: "History of the 39th Bomb Group"