The 6th Bomb Group

Crew #3914. Cpt Herbert A. Frank
                     1/Lt William G. Catts


Credits

Thanks to 2/Lt Robert H. "Bob" Crowther (Radarman) and S/Sgt James L. "Les" Morgan (Left Gunner).

The Air Crew

The members of crew #3914 included:

Cpt Herbert A. Frank (A/C)
1/Lt Hugh E. Roberts (Pilot)
1/Lt Harry Jarvis (Navigator)
1/Lt Donald W. "Don" Grimme (Bombardier)
M/Sgt Clement A. "Clem" Bess (Engineer)
Sgt Joseph F. "Joe" Cameron (Radio)
S/Sgt Raymond L. "Ray" Merritt (Radarman)
T/Sgt Ralph B. Kennerly, Jr. (CFC)
S/Sgt James L. "Les" Morgan (Left Gunner)
S/Sgt Charles P. "Chuck" Magnuson (Right Gunner)
S/Sgt Woody J. "Chris" Christopher (Tail Gunner)

Prior to June 5, Cpt Herbert A. Frank transferred to Crew #3913.  1/Lt William G. Catts, from Crew #3910, took his place.  S/Sgt John C. Ward (CFC) [WIA] joined the crew prior to June 5.


Photo courtesy of S/Sgt James L. "Jim" Morgan, Jr (Gunner), all rights reserved.

Standing - Left to Right: 1/Lt Donald W. "Don" Grimme (Bombardier), 1/Lt Harry Jarvis (Navigator), Cpt Herbert A. Frank (A/C), 1/Lt Hugh E. Roberts (Pilot), M/Sgt Clement A. "Clem" Bess (Engineer)
Kneeling - Left to Right: T/Sgt Ralph B. Kennerly, Jr. (CFC), S/Sgt Woody J. "Chris" Christopher (Tail Gunner), S/Sgt James L. "Les" Morgan (Left Gunner) [WIA], Sgt Joseph F. "Joe" Cameron (Radio), S/Sgt Raymond L. "Ray" Merritt (Radarman) [KIA], S/Sgt Charles P. "Chuck" Magnuson (Right Gunner) [KIA].

The June 5 Mission to Osaka

On the June 5 mission to Osaka, "Forever Amber" was badly damaged when a flak burst made a direct hit on the right side of the aft gunners compartment.  The blast tore a large hole in the fuselage and injured all three gunners (CFC, left and right).  The aircraft had just dropped the bombs and the radar operator was at the forward hatch, checking to see that the bombs had released, when he was killed instantly.  The events of that mission are described in more detail:

"Forever Amber" was shot up badly during the fire bombing mission to Osaka on the night of June 5, 1945. During the bomb run, the B-29 was caught in a web of radar guided searchlights, and flak tore through the bomb bay. The direct hit killed the radar operator (Sgt Raymond L. Merritt) wounded two of the gunners (S/Sgt John C. Ward and S/Sgt James L. Morgan) and [seriously injured] another (S/Sgt Charles P. Magnuson) - although the radio operator tried to save him with a direct blood transfusion from Aircraft Commander Lt Catt's arm, he died later. The aircraft struggled back to Iwo, but would never fly again.
[Source: "B-29 Superfortress in Action", Squadron Signal Publications, Aircraft No. 31, p. 40.]

The aircraft landed at Saipan so that the men could receive immediate medical attention.  S/Sgt James L. Morgan recovered from his injuries and returned to duty.  S/Sgt John C. Ward returned home.

Replacement of Airplane and Air Crew

Following that mission, the crew was assigned to "Myas' Dragon".  Lt Robert H. "Bob" Crowther (Radarman) replaced Sgt Raymond L. Merritt and Sgt John R. "Ray" Pritchard, Jr. (CFC), replaced S/Sgt John C. Ward.  Sgt Howard J. Goodyear (Radio) replaced Sgt Joseph F. Cameron.  Pfc Francis A. "Frank" Mirigliono (Right Gunner) replaced S/Sgt Charles P. Magnuson.

The members of the new crew #3914 included:

1/Lt William G. Catts (A/C)
1/Lt Hugh E. Evan Roberts (Pilot)
1/Lt Harry Jarvis (Navigator)
1/Lt Donald W. Grimme (Bombardier)
M/Sgt Clement A. "Clem" Bess (Engineer)
Sgt Howard J. Goodyear (Radio)
2/Lt Robert H. "Bob" Crowther (Radarman)
Sgt John R. "Ray" Pritchard, Jr. (CFC)
S/Sgt James L. "Les" Morgan (Left Gunner)
Pfc Francis A. "Frank" Mirigliono (Right Gunner)
S/Sgt Woody J. "Chris" Christopher (Tail Gunner)

The flight log of 2/Lt Robert H. "Bob" Crowther (Radarman) indicates the missions they flew after June 5.


Crew #3914 in front of " Myas' Dragon"
Photo courtesy of Bob Crowther

Standing - Left to Right: S/Sgt Howard J. Goodyear Radio?), Pfc Francis A. "Frank" Mirigliano (Gunner), M/Sgt Clement A. "Clem" Bess (Flight Engineer), S/Sgt Woody J. Christopher, S/Sgt James L. "Jim" Morgan, Jr* (Gunner), Sgt John R. "Ray" Pritchard, Jr.* (Central Fire Control)
Kneeling - Left to Right: 1st Lt Donald W. Grimme (Bombardier), 1st Lt Hugh E. Roberts (Pilot), Capt William G. Catts (Aircraft Commander), 1st Lt Harry Jarvis (Navigator), 2d Lt Robert H. "Bob" Crowther* (Radarman).

The Airplanes

This crew originally flew "Forever Amber", until that airplane was badly damaged on the June 5 mission to Kobe.   The crew was later assigned to "Myas' Dragon".