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  B-29-40-MO "Big Stink / Dave's Dream" Serial Number 44-27354  
USAF
4677th Radar Evaluation Flight
Former Assignments
USAF
106th Radar Calibration Squadron
7th Radar Calibration Squadron

USAAF
20th AF
509th CG
393rd BS

Aircraft History
Built by Boeing as a B-29-35-MO Superfortress at the Glenn L. Martin Aircraft Plant at Bellevue, Nebraska. One of fifteen B-29s modified as a silverplate. On April 20, 1945 delivered to the U. S. Army Air Force (USAAF) as B-29-40-MO Superfortress serial number 44-27354. During May 1945, flown to Wendover Army Air Field, Utah, by its assigned crew A-5 under Lieutenant Colonel Thomas J. Classen, aircraft commander and group deputy commander. On June 29, 1945 took off from Wendover Field on a ferry flight to North Field on Tinian Island arriving on June 24, 1945.

Wartime History
Assigned to the 20th Air Force (20th AF), 509th Composite Group (509th CG), 393rd Bombardment Squadron (393rd BS) whose mission was to drop the first atomic bombs used in combat against Japan. Assigned victor number 10. Nicknamed "Big Stink".

On July 23, 1945 took off piloted by Colonel Paul Tibbets on a mission to drop a dummy atomic bomb assembly off Tinian to test the radar altimeter detonators. This B-29 flew twelve training missions plus two combat missions flown by Classen and crew A-5 releasing pumpkin bombs against industrial targets at Nagaoka and Hitachi. This B-29 was flown by nine of the fifteen crews assigned to the 393rd Bombardment Squadron (393rd BS).

On August 1, 1945 assigned circle R tail markings of the 6th Bombardment Group (6th BG) as a security measure with victor number 90.

On August 6, 1945 took off from North Field on Tinian piloted by 1st Lieutenant Charles McKnight and crew B-8 as a back bomber for the first atomic bomb mission. When all the bombers continued to the target without issue, this B-29 landed on Iwo Jima.

On August 9, 1945 this B-29 served as camera ship for the atomic bomb mission against Nagasaki. For the mission, this B-29 was flown by aircraft commander Major James I. Hopkins, Jr. with crew C-14, normally assigned to B-29 "Necessary Evil" plus British observers. Before take off, Dr. Robert Serber was ordered off the plane because he forgot his parachute and did not make the flight.

Aircraft Commander  Major James I. Hopkins, Jr.
Co-Pilot  2nd Lt. John E. Cantlon
Navigator  2nd Lt. Stanley G. Steinke
Bombardier  2nd Lt. Myron Faryna
Engineer  M/Sgt. George L. Brabenec 
Radio  Sgt. Francis X. Dolan
Radar  Cpl. Richard F. Cannon
Assistant Engineer  Sgt. Thomas A. Bunting
Radar  Cpl. Sidney J. Bellamy
Tail Gunner  Sgt. Martin G. Murray
Observer  Group Captain Leonard Cheshire VC, (former C. O. 617 Squadron, official rep. Prime Minister)
Observer  Professor William Penney (Project Alberta)

When this B-29 took off late from North Field Airstrip on Tinian Island it failed to reach the rendezvous point on time and although the other two waiting for thirty minutes B-29 "Bockscar" 44-27297 and B-29 "The Great Artiste" 44-27353 proceeded together. Proceeding alone, this B-29 reached Nagasaki in time to photograph the mushroom cloud from 39,000'. Afterwards, all three B-29s landed at Yontan Airfield on Okinawa, refueled and then took off again and return to North Field.

Afterwards, assigned to aircraft commander Captain Captain Herman S. Zahn and crew C-12. Nicknamed "Big Stink".

Postwar
This B-29 returned to the United States and was based with the 509th Composite Group at Roswell Army Air Field, New Mexico.

During April 1946 assigned to "Operation Crossroads" to conduct an air drop atomic bomb test at Bikini Atoll. Renamed "Dave's Dream" by its crew in honor of Captain David Semple, a bombardier killed in the crash of a B-29 on March 7, 1946.

On July 1, 1946, this B-29 dropped an atomic bomb code named "Gilda" during atomic bomb test "Able" at Bikini Atoll. The aim point was USS Nevada BB-36, but the missed, exploding 710 yards to the west.

This B-29 was transfered to the United States Air Force (USAF) when it formed. In June 1949 transferred to the 97th Bombardment Group at Biggs AFB. In April 1950 converted to a TB-29 by the Oklahoma City Material Area at Tinker AFB.

In October 1952, assigned to the 106th Radar Calibration Squadron, Sioux City AFB, Iowa. In September 1953 assigned to the 7th Radar Calibration Squadron, Sioux City Air Force Base. In March 1954 assigned to the 4677th Radar Evaluation Flight at Hill AFB. In June 1959 it was moved into storage at Davis-Monthan AFB and dropped from USAF inventory.

Fate
During February 1960 scrapped.

References
USAF Serial Number Search Results - B-29-40-MO Superfortress 44-27354
"27354 to the Martin Modification Center, Omaha, NB, for Code Silverplate conversion for the carriage of atomic weapons. Converted to Silverplate Victor number 90. Assigned to 393rd Bomb Squadron, 509th Composite Group. Named "Big Stink". Was backup A-bomb ship Aug 6 1945, was camera ship Aug 9, 1945. Reported late 1946/early 1947 at Roswell Army Air Force Base, NM, as operational Renamed *Dave's Dream* for Operation Crossroads. Dropped A-bomb at Bikini Atoll Jul 1, 1946, missing target ship Nevada by 1600 feet. Scrapped 1960"
FindAGrave - Capt David Semple (grave photo)

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Last Updated
July 29, 2020

 

Tech Info
B-29
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