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.
Very little information is available concerning the loss of Lt Grounds' plane, however, since V-J day the entire crew has been
found in a prisoner of war camp and liberated. Five minutes after "Bombs Away" Lt Steelís 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, pp. 34-35]
For extraordinary achievement while participating in
aerial flight 27 March 1945. These individuals, were combat crew members of
a B-29 aircraft based in the Marianas Islands on a mine-laying mission to
the Shimonoseki Straights between the main islands of Kyushu and Honshu,
Japan. The purpose of this mission was to tighten the blockade of Japan by
closing the Shimonoseki Straights to shipping. The flight involved crossing
the main islands of Japan on the way to the target and on the return, in
each case exposing themselves to attacks by fighters and flak from the
ground, as well as anti-aircraft defenses of enemy naval units in the inland
sea. Despite engine failure at the approach to the mine field, this crew
continued toward the target through searchlight-directed flak, but a
malfunction prevented the mines from being released. The trouble was
remedied, and they made a second run over the mine field. The mines were
dropped in the exact location specified, and this crew, by skillful evasive
action, flew their bomber from the area without damage. During the entire
mission each of these veterans of repeated combat missions against the
homeland of Japan displayed professional skill, teamwork and devotion to
duty, thereby contributing materially to the successful blockade of the
Japanese homeland. Their actions reflect great credit on themselves and the
Army Air Forces.
First Lieutenant LEROY L. ARANT JR, as Pilot
First Lieutenant NORMAN S. CANNON as Navigator
Master Sergeant WENDELL G. MCFARLIN as Flight Engineer
Technical Sergeant GEORGE R. FONDRIE (then Staff Sergeant) as Central Fire
Staff Sergeant JOHN J. COLEMAN (then Sergeant) as Right Gunner
Staff Sergeant WILLIAM W. HAGUE, JR as Radio Operator
Staff Sergeant MAYNOR C. SAFFORD (then Sergeant) as Tail Gunner
Staff Sergeant JACK SALE (then Sergeant) as Left Gunner
Staff Sergeant EDWARD J. STECKER (then Sergeant) as Radar Gunner
[Transcribed by David Wilson, son of Sgt Bernard E. Wilson (Gunner, "Anonymous IV")]
A separate DFC Citation was prepared for Captain CECIL E.
PATTERSON, Aircraft Commander of Crew #4012 on this mission.