39th Bomb Group (VH)

[Search Tip: Use " " for better search results ex. "John Q. Doe"; "City of ..."]


Kushner Crew

Courtesy of Chuck Steen, son of Sgt William D. Steen, Radio Op

L to R Standing
Sgt James Connelly CFC Gunner
Cpl Thomas D. Fogarty, Jr. Tail Gunner
Sgt Bert O. Johnson Left Gunner
Sgt William D. Steen Radio Operator
Sgt William B. Byler Right Gunner
L to R Kneeling:
1st Lt Sheldon E. Kushner Airplane Commander
F/O Lyle A. Derry Pilot
1st Lt John P. Haskell Navigator
F/O William Crummie Bombardier
2nd Lt Paul E. Van Voorhis Radar Observer
2nd Lt James T. Flinnigan Flight Engineer

Kushner Crew
Honor Roll 
F/O William Crummie
March 1976
Sgt James Connelly
CFC Gunner
5 May 1994
Sgt William D. Steen
Radio Operator
07 August 1996
2nd Lt James T. Finnigan
Flight Engineer
20 January 1997
1st Lt John P. Haskell
22 August 2000

We were a late 62nd Squadron replacement crew, arriving perhaps two or three weeks before the end of the war and we were not involved in any heroic (or non-heroic) missions of any kind whatsoever.

The full extent of our "combat" was a couple of practice missions over some nearby Japanese occupied islands. We dropped some hundred pound bombs from about 20,000 feet and we were reliably advised that there was nothing on the islands but small arms fire incapable of reaching our altitude.

I also vividly remember participating in the "show of strength" mission, which flew over the battleship Missouri during the surrender ceremonies. As I recall there were something like 300 B-29's on that flight.

After the armistice our crew was stuck on the island for quite a long time (we had no points to speak of and our flight duties were quite routine. We were given the title of "test crew" which may sound exciting but which only involved "slow-flying" planes, which had two or more engine changes or structural repairs. We also participated in some weather flights, two trips from Saipan to Honolulu ferrying phased out personnel, and a not so commendable flight to Okinawa with food and supplies for our released prisoners of war, which ended in a taxi accident. As I recall we not only got our own wing tip but also took out a chunk of the cockpit of another parked B-29.

Anyone with information or contacts for this crew please email:

62nd Sqduadron Index
Source: Sheldon Kushner, AC; Chuck Steen