Uncle's B-25 and the Royce Mission
2nd Lieutenant Gustave
My uncle was 2nd Lieutenant
Gustave M. Heiss flew B-25C
41-12442 on the Royce
Mission. The group of planes was led by General Ralph Royce; hence the
name Royce Mission. 7 B-25Cs and 3 B-17s flew from Australia in mid April of 1942 to Del Monte on Mindanao.
For three days, the aircraft flew bombing strikes against the
Japanese occupied Manila, Cebu, and Davao. All of the aircraft returned
to Australia without the loss of one flyer, and they brought
out a number of important military and diplomatic personnel
gathered at DelMonte to await evacuation. Afterwards, he received the Silver Star and was promoted to Captain immediately afterwards.
I've talked to others who
participated in the three-day raid on the Philippines, and they
all said that their mission would have been famous were it not
for the fact that it occurred at exactly the same time as Jimmy
Doolittle's raid on Tokyo. Doolittle, of course, deserved a great
deal of press coverage, but it overshadowed the Royce Mission.
Still, the Royce raid did make the front page of the "New York
Times" in mid-April.