The 6th Bomb Group

In Memoriam

This is dedicated to the true heroes of the 6th Bomb Group - those who did not make it back and to those who returned with serious injuries.

Special Thanks to:

Marc Martyn, cousin of Sgt Robert J. Beller [04]
Anita Preston Schaezler, daughter of Cpt Clark A. Preston [20]
Dan Carlock, Jr. [43]
David Gaines, nephew of Joe Atchley [44]
Milton Garin and Greg Hadley [66]

The Cemetery at Tinian
Photo provided by Joe Whitney, Radarman, 24th Squadron, all rights reserved.

A Salute to the Marines

Before paying tribute to the men of the 6th Bomb Group, we want to pay tribute to the more than 5,000 marines and others who were killed or seriously injured in the battles for Saipan, Tinian and Iwo Jima. Many of these men were buried in the cemetery at Tinian. Without Saipan and Tinian, there would have been no air campaign. Without Iwo Jima, many more air crews would have died and the long range missions would have been impossible.

[04.] February 12, 1945: Radar Search for Enemy Shipping

Airplane #??. [Serial #42-24842], [1st Lt Bernard J. Casaurang] 39th Squadron

Lt Bernard A. Casaurang and crew of the 39th Squadron crashed into the ocean about forty-five minutes after takeoff on the 12 February mission. Crew members of other ships in the formation observed the plane lose No. 4 engine and fire break out on the starboard side. They also saw the ship explode as it struck the water. Dumbo search planes found only small bits of wreckage near the scene. This was the Sixth's first combat loss. ["Pirate's Log", p. 29]

Crew #3906
Photo provided by 6BG, all rights reserved.

Killed in Action:
1st Lt Bernard A. Casaurang [A/C]
2d Lt Edward A. Josephson [Pilot]
F/O Louis T. Kestner, Jr. [Navigator]
2d Lt Richard J. Scarisbrick [Bombardier]
T/Sgt Fred B. Robbins [Engineer]
Sgt Robert J. Beller [Radio]
Cpl Ralph R. Cima [Radarman]
Cpl Richard V. Leland [CFC]
Cpl Flavio M. Duca [R Gunner]
Cpl Harold V. Brown [L Gunner]
Cpl Joseph Kuebler [T Gunner]
Cpl Charles N. Gentry

[Source: "Pirate's Log", Appendix]

This crew is memorialized at the National Cemetery of the Pacific in Honolulu.

Individual Crew Pictures

Sgt Robert J. Beller (Radio)
Photo provided by Marc Martyn, cousin of
Robert Beller, all rights reserved

Cpl Joseph J. Kuebler (T Gunner)
Photo provided by James Kuebler, nephew of
Cpl Joseph J. Kuebler, all rights reserved.

[16.] March 27, 1945: Night Mining, Shimonoseki Straits

Thirty aircraft flew to the Straits, the western entrance to Japan's Inland Sea, and dropped mines at night by radar. Two crews were lost on this mission. . . . . Both crews were from the 40th Squadron. The airplane and crews of Lt William C. Grounds and Lt Paul A. Steel were lost over the target. ["Pirate's Log", pp. 34-35]

The entire crew of Lt William C. Grounds successfully bailed out of the stricken plane.  They were captured and imprisoned at the Omori POW camp.  All survived the war.

Airplane #??. [Serial #42-69675], [Lt. Paul A. Steel], "The Bad Penny", 40th Squadron

Five minutes after "Bombs Away" Lt Steel's crew sent a distress message telling of "one engine out", but this was the last report received. Twelve search sorties were flown by the Sixth with only negative results. ["Pirate's Log", p. 35]

The crew was never found.

Sgt Angel M. Ocasio (Tail Gunner)
Photo provided by Christin Marie Ocasio, all rights reserved

Missing in Action:
1st Lt Paul A. Steel [A/C]
1st Lt Gayle W. Newman [Pilot]
Capt Forrest R. Johns [Group Navigator]
Capt Robert S. Miller [Group Bombardier]
2d Lt Ambrose F. Van Dyke [Engineer]
Sgt Peter J. Thomas [Radio]
Sgt Frank K. Ostberg [Radarman]
Sgt Charles S. Lyczko [CFC]
Sgt Charles R. Albert [L Gunner]
Sgt Daniel J. Lucarini [R Gunner]
Sgt Angel M. Ocasio [T Gunner]

[Source: "Pirate's Log", Appendix]

This crew is memorialized at the National Cemetery of the Pacific in Honolulu.

[20.] April 7, 1945: Night Precision- Nagoya, Mitsubishi Aircraft Co

Airplane #N/A [Serial #42-65347], [Cpt Clark A. Preston], "Fortunes Follies", 24th Squadron

Shortly after takeoff, Victor 5347 of the 24th Squadron, crashed and exploded in the ocean about two miles east of the island. Sgt W. P. Ford, CFC gunner, Sgt. E. E. Birsner, radar operator, Sgt T. F. Wipperman, right gunner and Sgt J. A. Douglas, left gunner, were only slightly injured and were recovered by rescue boats along with the body of Lt Lloyd E. Rinne, navigator. Listed officially as killed in action in the crash are Capt Clark A. Preston, airplane commander, and five other members of the crew in addition to Lt Rinne. ["Pirate's Log", p. 35]

Capt Clark A. Preston
Photo courtesy of Anita Preston Schaezler

Anita Preston Schaezler provided this additional information about the incident, which she obtained from Jack Douglas, one of the survivors:

The plane that my father and his crew were in when they crashed on April 7, 1945, was not the "Snooky". The "Snooky" was not ready to fly on this mission so they were assigned a new plane that had just arrived from the U.S. All were not happy about this new plane since it was not fully inspected by his maintenance people. This was plane number Victor 5347. Upon take off, just before lift off, one of the engines began to lose power. My dad told the crew to get ready we were going in. This did occur about 2 miles from the end of the runway when Jack and three others who were in the radio room were thrown free from the aircraft. Those members of the crew who were in the middle of the plane, survived because as the plane hit the water, it broke in the middle allowing for some survivors. My father and 6 others did not make it.

The crew of Snooky
Photo provided by Anita Preston Schaezler. all rights reserved.

Killed in Action:
Capt Clark A. Preston [A/C]
2d Lt Donald T. Goodwin [Pilot]
2d Lt Lloyd E. Rinne [Navigator]
T/Sgt Eugene M. Arms [Engineer]
Sgt Donald J. Parker [Radio]
Sgt Marcos S. Duran [T Gunner]

[Source: "Pirate's Log", Appendix]

The loss of Captain Preston and his crew was particularly poignant because theirs was the first B-29 to land on Tinian:

"On the 18th of January the first airplanes of the Sixth landed at Tinian. Three in number, the first to land was Capt Clark A. Preston of the 24th Squadron in Airplane No. 4825." ["Pirate's Log", p. 27]

The men were memorialized at the National Cemetery of the Pacific in Honolulu, except for Lt. Rinne, who was returned home for burial.

[43.] May 23, 1945: Night Incendiary- Tokyo, Japan

Two 24th Squadron planes failed to return. Lt J. B. Boynton and Lt J. M. Snyder* were the airplane commanders. ["Pirate's Log", p. 43]

* According to the Appendix and to the Missing Aircraft Report, Lt Snyder's middle initial was "H", not "M".

Airplane #15. [Serial #42-24759] [Lt John B. Boynton], "Blind Date/Lady's Delight", 24th Squadron

Of Lt Boynton's crew all but Sgt Stephen Spega, Jr., were found in PW camps and repatriated. Sgt Spega is still missing as well as all of Lt Snyder's crew. ["Pirate's Log", p. 43]

Missing in Action:
Sgt Stephen Spega, Jr.**
["Pirate's Log", Appendix]

* At the time of this mission, "Blind Date" on the left side and had a second name added later, "Lady's Delight" on the right side." [Dave Farquhar, CFC Gunner]

** Sgt Stephen Spega, Jr. survived the POW camps and returned home safely.

Crew #2404
Photo provided by 6BG, all rights reserved.

Airplane #17. [Serial #42-24870], [Lt Joseph H. Snyder] 24th Squadron

Missing in Action:*
2d Lt Joseph H. Snyder [A/C]
2d Lt James A. Williams [Pilot]
1st Lt Richard C. Willis [Navigator]
1st Lt Russell Snyder [Bombardier]
T/Sgt William O. Kent [Engineer]
Cpl Wyman L. McKee [Radio]
2d Lt Earle W. Karlson [Radarman]
Sgt Richard W. St. Martin [CFC]
Cpl Ernest W. Holman, Jr. [R Gunner]
Sgt Floyd D. Carlock, Jr. [L Gunner]
Sgt Richard G. Hamilton [T Gunner]

[Source: "Pirate's Log", Appendix]

* According to a later update to the Missing Aircraft Report, their status was later changed to KIA.

The crew was memorialized at the National Cemetery of the Pacific in Honolulu.

Airplane #01. [Serial #42-93906], "Uncle Sam's Milk Wagon", 24th Squadron

On the same raid Lt Joseph Novak Jr., 24th Squadron, co-pilot on crew No. 3906, was wounded by 20 mm cannon fire from a Jap fighter and later died in a hospital on Tinian. ["Pirate's Log", p. 43]

For a detailed account of this flight written by Sam Parks, the aircraft commander, see "Co-Incidences- I Can't Believe It!"

Killed in Action:
2nd Lt Joseph Novak, Jr. [Pilot]
["Pirate's Log", Appendix]

The body of Lt Novak was returned home for burial.

[44.] May 25, 1945: Night Incendiary- Tokyo, Japan

Airplane #26. [Serial #42-63558] [1/Lt Donald M. Fox], "Tokyo Trolley", 39th Squadron

Fourteen of the Group's planes were damaged, which was over one half of the attacking force, and one was lost over the target. This was the airplane manned by Lt Donald M. Fox's crew of the 39th Squadron. Today only Sgt Harry D. Magnuson of this crew has been found as a prisoner of war. The others are listed as missing-in-action. ["Pirate's Log", p. 44]

Crew #3917 in front of Tokyo Trolley - possibly taken on the day of their last mission.
Photo courtesy of David Gaines, all rights reserved.

Standing - Left to Right: S/Sgt Charles W. Snell (T Gunner), S/Sgt. Harry D. Magnuson (L Gunner), S/Sgt Robert E. Warren (R Gunner), S/Sgt Donald R. Arntsen (CFC), S/Sgt Charles E. Barron (Engineer), T/Sgt Joe A. Atchley (Radio).
Kneeling - Left to Right: 2/Lt Walter L. Wentz, Jr. (Radar), 2/Lt John W. France (Navigator), 1/Lt Donald M. Fox (A/C), 2/Lt Leland L. Sanderson (Pilot), 1/Lt Herman W. Thomas (Bombardier).

Missing in Action:
1st Lt Donald M. Fox [A/C]
2d Lt Leland L. Sanderson [Pilot]
2d Lt John W. France [Navigator]
1st Lt Herman W. Thomas [Bombardier]
Sgt Charles E. Barron [Engineer]
T/Sgt Joe A. Atchley [Radio]
2d Lt Walter L. Wentz, Jr. [Radar]
Sgt Donald R. Arntsen [CFC]
Sgt Robert E. Warren [R Gunner]
Sgt Charles W. Snell [T Gunner]

[Source: "Pirate's Log", Appendix]

The bodies of the missing crewmembers were recovered after the war.  Lt Wentz and Sgt Warren are buried in the National Cemetery of the Pacific in Honolulu.  Lt Fox, Lt Thomas, Sanderson, Sgt Atchley, Sgt Barron and Sgt Arntsen are buried together in a common grave in Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery, St. Louis, Missouri.  The body of Sgt Snell was returned home for burial.

[45.] June 5, 1945: Daylight Incendiary- Kobe, Japan

Airplane #41. [Serial #44-69839], [Cpt William G. Catts], "Forever Amber", 39th Squadron:

"Forever Amber" on final approach to Runway D at Tinian.
Photo provided by David Wilhelm, son of Sgt Daniel L. Wilhelm (58th BW, 468th BG, 794th and 795th BS), all rights reserved.

The next mission on 5 June was also a daylight incendiary. This time the target was the urban area of Kobe. . . . . All of the Group's losses for June were suffered this day. ["Pirate's Log", p. 46]

Sgt Raymond L. Merritt, 39th Squadron, was killed instantly by a flak burst and S/Sgt Charles P. Magnuson, also of the 39th Squadron, died in the hospital at Iwo Jima from wounds. Both were members of Lt Catt's crew which had two other men wounded on the raid. ["Pirate's Log", p. 46]

Killed in Action:
S/Sgt Charles P. Magnuson
S/Sgt Raymond L. Merritt- 39th Squadron

["Pirate's Log", Appendix]

Sgt Magnuson is buried at the National Cemetery of the Pacific in Honolulu.  The body of Sgt Merritt was returned home for burial.

[61.] July 9, 1945: Night Mining- Shimonoseki Straits

Airplane #??. [Serial #42-93939], [Cpt Robert R. Schmid], "Little Giant", 40th Squadron

Capt Robert K. Schmid's airplane with the 40th Squadron Commander, Lt Col Elmer A. Dixon, went down on the 9 July mining mission . . . . Flak was heavy and one plane was shot down. The crew and aircraft lost was commanded by Capt Schmid and carried as a combat observer, Lt Col Dixon. Reports from members of other crews on the mission reveal that one B-29 in the formation was caught in a number of searchlights, sustained several direct flak hits and was seen to spiral down and crash in flames. Since the Sixth was the only group operating in the area, it is a reasonable assumption that this was Capt Schmid's plane. ["Pirate's Log", p. 49]

Missing in Action:
Lt Col Elmer A. Dixon, squadron commander
Capt Robert R. Schmid [A/C]
2d Lt Robert R. Ryan [Pilot]
2d Lt Arthur L. Wright [Navigator]
Capt James K. Chatfield [Bombardier]
S/Sgt Donald O. Winkler [Engineer]
Sgt Juan D. Donato [Radio]
2d Lt Oliver L. Fix, Jr. [Radarman]
Sgt Jack J. Roy [CFC]
Sgt Andre W. Jacques [R Gunner]
Cpl Robert W. Strickland [L Gunner]
Sgt Joseph Beneski, Jr. [T Gunner]

[Source: "Pirate's Log", Appendix]

Another website contains a picture of the air crew in front of "Take It Off", a B-29 used in training.

This crew had just arrived on Tinian and had not flown the regular number of training missions.  The squadron commander was on board, in part, so they could call this a "training flight".

The crew was memorialized at the National Cemetery of the Pacific in Honolulu, except for Sgt Jacques and Cpl Strickland who are buried there.

[66.] July 19, 1945: Night Mining- Niigata, Honshu

Airplane #03. [Serial #44-70116], [Cap Gordon P. Jordan], "Sharon Linn", 24th Squadron

On the night of 19 July Capt Gordon P. Jordan and crew, 24th Squadron, failed to return from a mission to mine field "Zebra". The only information available is reports of other crew members who stated that they saw a burning plane over Niigata. As of 1 Jan 1946, five crew members had been found and repatriated. They were: Capt Jordan, Lt P. A. Trump, M/Sgt G. E. McGraw, S/Sgt W. W. Wiernik and S/Sgt W. W. Dickerson. The six other crew members are still missing-in-action. This proved to be the last of the war for the Sixth. ["Pirate's Log", p. 50]

Original members of Crew #2406.
Photo provided by Milton Garin and Greg Hadley, all rights reserved.

Standing - Left to Right: S/Sgt Florio D. Spero (T Gunner), M/Sgt George E. McGraw (Engineer) [POW], S/Sgt Norman S. Kruvant (CFC) [not on last flight], Sgt Robert A. Grant (L Gunner) [POW], S/Sgt Max A. Adams (Radarman), S/Sgt Robert J. Burkle (R Gunner), S/Sgt Walter W. Wiernik (Radio) [POW].
Kneeling - Left to Right: Cpt Gordon P. Jordan (A/C) [POW], 1/Lt Wails Hawkins (Pilot), Lt Milton Garin (Navigator) [not on last flight], 1/Lt Clinton L. Wride (Bombardier).
Crewmembers on last flight who are not shown here: 2/Lt Paul A. Trump (Navigator) [POW], S/Sgt Walter W. Dickerson (Right Gunner) [POW].

Missing in Action:
1st Lt Wails Hawkins [Pilot]
1st Lt Clinton L. Wride [Bombardier]
S/Sgt Max A. Adams [Radarman]
S/Sgt Robert J. Burkle [R Gunner]

Sgt Robert A. Grant [L Gunner]
S/Sgt Florio D. Spero [T Gunner]
[Source: "Pirate's Log", Appendix]

The bodies of the men were eventually recovered. Lt Hawkins and Lt Wride are buried together at Ft Snelling National Cemetery in Minnesota. Sgt Adams is buried in Arlington National Cemetery, Virginia. Sgt Burkle is buried in Riverside National Cemetery, California. Sgt Spero is buried in Rock Island National Cemetery, Illinois.

Sgt Grant was a POW and returned home after the War.

Training Accidents

Many good men did not have the chance to see combat.  They died during the process of learning to fly aircraft.  These men tend to be forgotten because they were not assigned to a combat unit.

Here are some of the casualties from a single flight training class.
Photo provided by Terry Tucker Rhodes, daughter of 1/Lt Percy Tucker, all rights reserved

Those They Left Behind

Those who did not return were not forgotten.  They lived on in the memories of their crewmembers, wives and girlfriends, friends and family.

In this 1995 article, Ada Beller remembers her son Robert Beller.
Article provided by Marc Martyn, cousin of Robert Beller.

A Final Farewell

Photo provided by John Potenza, all rights reserved.