60 trained at Clovis, New Mexico and received and checked
out their plane at Smoky Hill, Salina, Kansas. On arrival
at North Field, they also lost their new B-29 to another
crew. They were supposedly the second replacement crew to
the 39th Bomb Group.
members of "Burnin' Desire" or "City of Virginia" flew varying
numbers of missions. Individually they flew with various
crews until they got their own plane. It was then that they
became a real flying crew. Weaver mentioned he had only
14 combat missions having been injured on the highly successful
Yokohama raid of May 29. Sgt Ivan Weaver was hit and wounded
by a shell coming through his blister window, the Plexiglas
shattered and hit his left hand. There was no other damage
to Weaver except a slit in the flak helmet above his ear.
Sgt George Erhardt, tail gunner, was also wounded in the
feet and hands on this flight. Immediately after the bombs
were released, eight enemy fighter planes made repeated
vicious attacks on their B-29. In spite of the fierce opposition,
Erhardt remained at his position and assisted the other
crewmembers in shooting down two of the interceptors. Erhardt
and Weaver both received the Purple Heart. Weaver would
miss several missions -because of his injuries but Erhardt
was able to keep flying. The crew flew prisoner of war supply
missions, two air-search missions as they looked for the
General Andrews and the Show of Force mission. Other crewmembers
had about 22 missions.
60 put a claim into the "Blockbuster" September 15 for being
the youngest crew in the Group. The average age was 21 years
and 4 months. Gerald Matts, airplane commander was 22 years
and 4 months. The oldest man was 23 years and 10 months and
the youngest was 19 years and 8 months. The claim was never
verified but who cared when you were going home.