39th Bomb Group (VH)

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"City Of Athens"
"Ole Forty and Eight" B-29 # 44-69794 (1st B-29)
"Ole Forty and Eight II" B-29 # 42-94044 (2nd B-29)

Crew 48 - Guam
Courtesy of Bud Foster, TG

Kneeling L to R:
Sgt Robert R. Malinoski Radio Operator
Sgt Edward G. Fox Left Gunner
Sgt Marion D. Foster Tail Gunner
Standing L to R:
2nd Lt Kendall B. Smith Bombardier
2nd Lt George W. Burnell, Jr. Flight Engineer
Sgt Hugh L. Fowler Right Gunner
Sgt William J. Wallace CFC Gunner
1st Lt Charles A. Ferguson Navigator
2nd Lt Henry R. Donnelly Pilot
2nd Lt John A. Wands Radar Observer
Major Patrick J. Martin Airplane Commander

"We formed at Smokey Hill as did nearly all of the crews, and remained intact and unchanged through the end of the war. Our aircraft was named after the city of Athens, Georgia, which was and is, the hometown of our right gunner, Hugh Fowler. The nickname, "Ole Forty and Eight II", came from our crew number and the old WWI box cars in France which were suitable for forty men or eight horses. The 'II' was because our original B-29 got so shot up on our first mission that it was moved to Harmon Field, decommissioned, and cannibalized.

That first mission was on Friday 13, over Tokyo at just over 7000 feet. Seemed like everywhere there wasn't a crewmember, there was a 20MM hole! About 120 enemy fighters were observed but three successfully took care of us. We got one! Probably more because of the experience of our aircraft commander, Capt. Pat Martin, than for any other reasonr we were designated a lead and pathfinder crew. And perhaps the most satisfying of our missions was 'pathfinding' over Tokyo on 23 and 25 May. Our crew was awarded a Certificate of Commendation from the 314th Wing Commander for the 25 May mission," reported Kendall Smith in a recent letter.

On 22 June, this crew received the Distinguished Flying Cross as lead crew that led the entire squadron against the Mitsubishi aircraft plant at Tamashima, Japan. From the IP to the target, they were subjected to continuous heavy flak and various and vicious attacks by fighter plane, some of which dropped phosphorous bombs. Despite these difficulties, the crew, with cool courage and skill, maintained their plane exactly on the briefed heading to the target. At the target, where defenses were most highly concentrated, they dropped their bombs with such accuracy that one hundred percent fell squarely on the target. The remaining aircraft also dropped all of their bombs on the objective. Recon photographs later revealed that eighty-five percent of this new and vital aircraft plant were destroyed.

Another nice distinction was that Crew 48 was the lead crew of the lead squadron of eight that bombed the Tokyo Arsenal Complex on 10, August, the last daylight mission of the War. Totally, they had 25 missions against the Japanese Empire.

From Kendall Smith, Bombardier [Top of Page]

"Of the eleven of us, five are known deceased, and two others are believed gone. I am probably the only remaining officer crew member, and Bob Malinoski, Hugh Fowler, and Bud Foster are still enjoy good health in June of 1995. As an aside, I was recalled to active duty for Korea and flew a full tour of combat missions with Ed Arvin as my aircraft commander. Captain Arvin was also the commander of Crew 43 in the 39th Bomb Group during WWII. Unfortunately Arvin and Pat Martin died within a month of each other about a year ago. I have tried to be factual and omit the dramatics. Nine of the eleven of us were 19 to 21 years old in 1945; real 'green beans' who matured and became experienced veterans. We were fortunate to have a very good aircraft commander, good luck, and the grace of God, not necessarily in that order..."

Source: "History of the 39th Bomb Group" by Robert Laird (crew 5) and David Smiith (crew 31)