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  B-29-55-BW Superfortress Serial Number 44-69666 Tail Z Square 11
USAAF
20th AF
500th BG
881st BS

Aircraft Commander  1st Lt. Edward G. Law, O-738190 (KIA April 2, 1945, BNR) Clare, IA
Co-Pilot  2nd Lt. Gerould L. Giddings, O-767523 (POW, died May 26, 1945, BR) Great Barrington, MA
Navigator  2nd Lt. Donald J. Van Dever, O-2058586 (POW, died May 26, 1945, BNR) Witchita Falls, TX
Bombardier  2nd Lt. David R. Gerhardt, O-717886 (POW, died May 26, 1945, BNR) Springfield, OH
Engineer TSgt Raymond C. Richmond, 35376077 (POW, died May 26, 1945, BNR) Proctor, WV
Central Fire Control  Sgt Ray F. Hopper, 19201587 (POW, survived) Marion, OR
Radio  Sgt Robert H. Nead, 17112447 (POW, died May 26, 1945, BNR) Perry, IA
Left Waist Gunner  Sgt Maurice Myers, 13200699 (POW, died May 26, 1945, BNR) Souderton, PA
Rad. Gunner  Sgt Thaddeus J. Pasternak, 31417202 (POW, died May 26, 1945, BNR) Chicopee, MA
Ring Gunner  
Sgt Harry E. McMillen, 33715004 (POW, died May 26, 1945, BNR) Aliquppa, PA
Tail Gunner  Sgt Leonard J. McNeill, 34796533 (POW, died May 26, 1945, BNR) Orlando, FL
MIA  April 2, 1945
MACR  14230

Aircraft History
Built by Boeing at Wichita, Kansas. Delivered to the U. S. Army Air Force (USAAF) B-29-55-BW Superfortress serial number 44-69666. Flown overseas to the central Pacific.

Wartime History
Assigned to the 20th Air Force, 500th Bombardment Group, 881st  Bombardment Squadron. No known nickname or nose art. Tail code Z Square 11. When lost engines R-3350-23-A serial numbers DW 03702, DW 203613, DW 201477 and DW 203916. Aboard were .50 caliber machine guns serial numbers are noted in Missing Air Crew Report 14230 (MACR 14230).

Mission History
Mission 37. On April 1, 1945 took off from Saipan piloted by 1st Lt. Edward G. Law on an experimental night precision bombing mission against Musashino Aircraft Factory (Nakajima aircraft factory, target Number 357) in the Tokyo area of Japan. The formation included thirty-five B-29s with one aborting the mission.

Inbound to the target, the weather was clear with visibility good with a slight haze. On April 2, 1945 over the target between 5,000' to 6,000' this B-29 was shot down with pilot pilot Law ordering the crew to bail out. When it failed to return this bomber was listed as Missing In Action (MIA) for unknown reasons.

Wreckage
This B-29 crashed near Youngi Temple roughly 5 kilometers northwest of Haramachida-machi, Minami tama-gun, Minami in Tokyo. After the crash, the Japanese visited the crash site and recovered the remains of Law.

Fates of the Crew
Pilot Law never exited the bomber before it blew up, according to the surviving crew members.

The surviving crew parachuted from the bomber and were captured by the Japanese and became Prisoners Of War (POW). According to Japanese military law they were considered captured enemy airmen, not formal POWs.

The crew were detained by the Japanese Army Kenpeitai at Shibuya  Military Prison. On April 16, 1945 the crew were detained at Tokyo Military Prison. During the night of May 25-26, 1945 the crew (with the exception of Hooper) died during a firebombing raid.

Hooper survived captivity and was liberated from Omori Headquarters Camp (Ofuna) Tokyo at the end of the Pacific War and retuned to the United States.

Postwar, five Japanese charged with war crimes related to the fate of the crew and put on trail during the Yokohama War Crimes Trial and all found guilty including: Hatsuaki Kambe (life sentance), Keiji Kamimoto (death penalty), Masao Koshikawa (30 year prison sentance), Mataishi Okubo (life sentence) and Toshio Tashiro (death penalty).

Recovery of Remains
After the crash, the remains of Law were recovered from the crash site. He was identified by his name tag on his flight jacket that was recovered to Youngi Temple. Postwar, the recovered remains of the crew were transported to Hawaii and the United States for permanent burial.

Memorials
Law has a memorial marker at Fort Dodge Memorial Park in Fort Dodge, IA. Grave 3. lot 164, Hillcrest 2.

Giddings was officially declared dead on May 26, 1945. Postwar he was buried at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific (Punchbowl) at plot Q, grave 617.

Five of the crew remain listed as Missing In Action (MIA) and were officially declared dead on May 26, 1945. All five are memorialized on the tablets of the mission National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific (Punchbowl). Van Dever on court 5. Gerhardt on court 7. Nead on court 7. McMillen on court 7. McNeill on court 7.

Myers is buried at Arlington National Cemetery at section 34, site 2240.
Hooper passed away on February 10, 1975. He is buried at at Pine Ridge Cemetery in Pine Ridge, AR.
Pasternak has a memorial marker at Saint Stanislaus Cemetery in Chicopee, MA.

Relatives
Mike Krehl (grandson of McNeill)
"I have just recently been informed that my grandfather Leonard J. McNeill, was a tail gunner on the Z square 11."

References
USAF Serial Number Search Results - B-29-55-BW Superfortress 44-69666

"69666 (500th BG, 881st BS) lost from unknown cause in Pacific Apr 1, 1945 while on mission to Nakajima aircraft factory in Tokyo. MACR 14230. All 11 crew killed."
Missing Air Crew Report 14230 (MACR 14230) created April 2, 1945
NARA "881st Bombardment Squadron Scrapbook"
"44-69666 - Replacement Aircraft - Reported Missing April 1, 1945 after a misison to Tokyo. Commander on this flight was 1/Lt. Edward G. Law."
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - Donald J. Van Dever

American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - David R. Gerhardt
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - Robert H. Nead
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - Harry E. McMillen
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - Leonard J. McNeill

NARA Records of World War II Prisoners of War - Ray F Hopper
FindAGrave - Edward G Law (photo, memorial marker photo)
FindAGrave - 2LT Gerould L Giddings (photos, grave photo)
FindAGrave - 2Lt Donald J Van Dever (tablets of the missing photo)
FindAGrave - 2Lt David R Gerhardt (tablets of the missing photo)
FindAGrave - TSgt Raymond Carl Richmond (tablets of the missing photo)
FindAGrave - Ray F. Hooper (tablets of the missing photo)
FindAGrave - Sgt Robert H Nead (tablets of the missing photo)
FindAGrave - SGT Maurice Myers (grave marker photo)
FindAGrave - Sgt Thaddeus J Pasternak (memorial marker)
FindAGrave - Sgt Harry E McMillen (tablets of the missing photo)
FindAGrave - Sgt Leonard James McNeill (photo, news, tablets of the missing photo)
Thank you to Mike Krehl and Katherine Rasdorf for additional information.

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Last Updated
July 9, 2018

 

Tech Info
B-29

POW / MIA
POW / MIA
9 Prisoners
5 Missing
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