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  RB-29A Superfortress Serial Number 44-61810  

Senior Pilot  Major Samuel Nathan Busch, AO733811 (MIA / KIA) Philadelphia, PA
Crew  Captain James A. Sculley, AO693414 (MIA / KIA) Philadelphia, PA
Crew  Captain Samuel D. Service, AO752509 (MIA / KIA) Salt Lake City, UT
Crew  MSgt William Robert Homer, AF07025704 (MIA / KIA) Jeannette, PA
Crew  MSgt David L. Moore, AF15229915 (MIA / KIA) Ashland, KY
Crew  SSgt William A. Blizzard, AF19244175 (MIA / KIA) Norfolk, VA
Crew  SSgt Miguel W. Monserrat, AF13164064 (MIA / KIA) Philadelphia, PA
Crew  SSgt Leon F. Bonura, AF18359162 (MIA / KIA) Beaumont, TX
Crew  SSgt Roscoe G. Becker, AF19391813 (MIA / KIA) Tillamook, OR
Crew  SSgt Eddie Ray Berg, AF17281746 (MIA / KIA) Lancaster, MN
Crew  A1C Danny H. Pillsbury, AF18245964 (MIA / KIA) Conway Springs, KS

MIA  June 13, 1952

Aircraft History
Built by Boeing. Manufacture Number 11287. Delivered to the U.S. Army Air Force (USAAF) as B-29A-50-BN Superfortress Serial Number 44-61810.

Assigned to the U.S. Air Force (USAF) as a RB-29A Superfortress photographic reconnaissance version. Assigned to the 91st Strategic Reconnaissance Squadron (91st SRS) at Yokato AFB. No known nickname or nose art.

Mission History
On June 13, 1952 took off from Yokato AFB piloted by Major Samuel N. Busch on a an electronic surveillance mission over the Sea of Japan. When this aircraft failed to return the entire crew as officially declared Missing In Action (MIA).

In fact, this bomber was intercepted by two Russian MiG-15s and shot down over the Sea of Japan south of south of Valentin Bay off Mys Ostrovnoy and east of Vladivostok, 120 miles off the Russian coastline.

Between June 14-17, 1952 American aircraft searched for this bomber unsuccessfully. On June 14, 1952 one search aircraft sighed and photographed an empty life raft but were unable to retrieve the raft due to prevailing conditions. An unconfirmed report indicated a second raft four miles to the south but was never verified. The search continued until June 17, 1942. No trace of the crew were found.

The entire crew were officially declared dead on November 15, 1955. The entire crew remains listed as Cold War Missing In Action (MIA).

Each crew member earned the Distinguished Flying Cross (DFC), Purple Heart, posthumously, the Korean Service Medal, the United Nations Service Medal, the National Defense Service Medal and the Korean War Service Medal.

Previously, Busch severed in World War II in the U.S. Army Air Force (USAAF) and continued in the U.S. Air Force (USAF).

Previously, Homer served in World War II in the U.S. Army Air Force (USAAF) in the 13th Air Force as a B-24D Liberator 42-72794 crew member and survived the ditching of B-24D 42-72794 on October 1, 1943. Homer was officially declared dead on November 15, 1955. He is memorial marker at Arlington National Cemetery at memorial section I.

Bonura also has a memorial marker at Magnolia Cemetery in Beaumont, TX at section 19.

NARA World War II Army Enlistment Records - Samuel Nathan Busch
NARA World War II Army Enlistment Records - Clinton S. Wicker
USAF Serial Number Search Results - B-29 Superfortress 44-61810
FindAGrave - Maj Samuel Nathan Busch (photo)
U.S.–Russia Joint Commission on POW/MIAs "U.S. Air Force RB-29 - - 13 June 1952 - - Sea of Japan" pages 1-24
Concatenated JPSR Reports, 1992 "Article by K. Belyaninov: 'May I Not See th Statue of Liberty for as Long as I Live"
Ministry of Government Security (MGB) 25 June 1952
"Concerning the note from the American Embassy dated 18 June 1952 #689, we reported that on 13 June 1952 at 17:35 hrs a US B-29 plane was shot down a Soviet Air Force MIG-15 over our territorial Sea of Japan waters south of Valentin Bay.
The location of the unidentified US plane debris mentioned in the American Embassy note (41° 39 long, 133°  55 lat) is 80 miles south of Valentin Bay, 105 miles east of the city of Vladivostock.
Coast Guard and border patrol ships did not locate any plane fragments or equipment from the downed plane, or any members of the crew. - Deputy Minister of Government Security, USSR"
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - Samuel Nathan Busch
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - James A. Sculley
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - Samuel D. Service
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - William Robert Homer
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - David L. Moore
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - William A. Blizzard
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - Miguel W. Monserrat
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - Leon F. Bonura
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - Roscoe G. Becker
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - Eddie Ray Berg
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - Danny H. Pillsbury
FindAGrave - Maj Samuel Nathan Busch (photo)
FindAGrave - William R. Homer (photo, memorial marker Arlington)
FindAGrave - Sgt William Robert Homer (photos)
FindAGrave - Leon Frank Bonura (photo, memorial marker photo)
FindAGrave - Sgt Eddie Ray Berg (photo)
FindAGrave - Danny H Pillsbury (photo)
By Any Means Necessary by William E. Burrows mentions this loss sources indicating that at least some of the crew were captured, then interrogated, then killed by the Russians
The Little Toy Dog  Hardcover mentions this loss
DPAA Coldwar Report - Sorted on Name [PDF]
Thanks to John Zimmerlee / Korean & Cold War POW/MIA Network and Alex Cohen for additional information

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Last Updated
February 18, 2020


Tech Info

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