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  B-29-80-BW "Sharon Linn" Serial Number 44-70116 Tail ®
USAAF
20th AF
6th BG
24th BS

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6th BG c1945

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6th BG c1945

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IJA July 20, 1945
Pilot  Captain Gordon P. Jordan, O-412692 (POW, survived) Monroe, LA
Co-Pilot  1st Lt Wails Hawkins, O-825628 (captured, hanged July 20 1945, BR) Bessemer, AL
Bombardier  1st Lt. Clinton L. Wride, O-666112 (captured, hanged July 20 1945, BR) Portland, OR
Navigator  2nd Lt. Paul A. Trump, O-2058584 (POW, survived) Kimberton, PA
Flight Engineer  MSgt. George E. McGrew, 17014199 (POW, survived) Gillett, AR
Radio  SSgt Walter W. Wiernik, 32380736 (POW, survived) Buffalo, NY
Radio  SSgt Max A. Adams,14098594 (captured, hanged July 20 1945, BR) Grove Hill, AL
Gunner  SSgt Walter W. Dickerson, 6983802 (POW, survived) Aurora, IL
Right Blister Gunner  SSgt Robert J. Burkle, 35760718 (POW, survived) Wheeling, WV
Left Blister Gunner  Sgt Robert A. Grant, 16161649 (POW, survived) Jamesville, WI
Tail Gunner  SSgt Florio D. Spero, 36785815 (captured, hanged July 20 1945, BR) Chicago, IL
Crashed  July 20, 1945 at 2:00am
MACR  14786

Aircraft History
Built by Boeing. Delivered to the U. S. Army Air Force (USAAF) as B-29-80-BW Superfortress 44-70116. Ferried overseas to North Field on Tinian Island.

Wartime History
Assigned to the 20th Air Force (20th AF), 6th Bombardment Group (6th BG), 24th Bombardment Squadron (24th BS). Nicknamed "Sharon Linn". Tail code ® (circle R) in black. Fuselage number 3. When lost, engines DW 209876, 210639, D, D 210501 and 4283677. Armed with .50 caliber machine guns serial numbers noted in Missing Air Crew Report 14786 (MACR 14786).

Mission History
On July 19, 1945 took off from North Field on Tinian Island piloted by Captain Gordon P. Jordan on an aerial mining mission to release aerial mines over Niigata Harbor. The weather was good with the bombers flying to the target area individually.

On July 20, 1945 at 2:00am arrived over the target area at an altitude of 7,000' and was hit by anti-aircraft fire near Niitsu. Other bombers in the formation observed a "a huge flame believed to be a plane burned for approximately four minutes." When this aircraft failed to return, it was officially listed Missing In Action (MIA).

In fact, the entire crew bailed out roughly 5-10 miles southeast of Niigata. Their B-29 crashed at the bend of the Agano River in an area known as Yakeyama.

Fates of the Crew
Landing in the darkness, all were captured by the Japanese civilians and military personnel. After being captured, four of the crew: Hawkins, Wride, Adams and Sparo were hanged by angry civilians.

The other seven crew: Jordan, Trump, McGrew, Wiernik, Dickerson, Burkle and Grant all became became Prisoners Of War (POWs) and survived captivity until the end of the Pacific War.

Jordon, Dickerson and Grant were liberated from Omori POW Camp near Tokyo. Burkle was liberated from Tokyo POW Camp (Shinjuku).

Search
Afterwards, no search mission was flown for this crew.

Recovery of Remains
Postwar, the remains of the four hanged crew members were recovered and transported to the United States for permanent burial.

Memorials
Wride and Hawkins are buried in a group burial at Fort Snelling National Cemetery at section C-22 site 12781.

Adams is buried at Arlington National Cemetery at section 12, site 7185.

Spero is buried at Rock Island National Cemetery at section E, site 367.

Burkle earned the Distinguish Flying Cross (DFC) and Air Medal with four Oak Leaf Clusters. He passed away on May 3, 1965 at age 43. He is buried at Mount Calvary Cemetery in Wheeling, WV.

Dickerson passed away on June 28, 1998 at age 77. He is buried at Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery in section ZZ site 1335.

Trump passed away on November 22, 2008 at age 84. He is buried at Saint Michael's Union Cemetery in Tilden Township, PA.

References
NARA World War II Army Enlistment Records - Gordon P. Jordan
NARA World War II Army Enlistment Records - Wails Hawkins
NARA World War II Army Enlistment Records - Clinton L. Wride
NARA World War II Army Enlistment Records - George E. Mc Grew
NARA World War II Army Enlistment Records - Walter W. Wiernik
NARA World War II Army Enlistment Records - Max A. Adams
NARA World War II Army Enlistment Records - Robert J. Burkle
USAF Serial Number Search Results - B-29-80-BW Superfortress 44-70116
"70116 (6th BG, 24th BS) shot down by AAA and crashed at Yokogoshi Niigata, Japan Jul 20, 1945 while on mission to mine Niigata Harbor. All 11 crew bailed out and became POW. 4 were lynched by Japanese civilians"
Missing Air Crew Report 14786 (MACR 14786) created July 23, 1945
NARA World War II Prisoner of War Data File - Gordon Jordan
NARA World War II Prisoner of War Data File - Walter W. Dickerson
NARA World War II Prisoner of War Data File - Robert J. Burkle
NARA World War II Prisoner of War Data File - Robert A. Grant
NARA World War II Prisoner of War Data File does not list Paul A. Trump, George E. McGrew, Walter W. Wiernik
FindAGrave - Gordon 'Porky' Jordan (grave photo)
FindAGrave - 1LT Wails Hawkins (crew photo, group burial photo)
FindAGrave - 1LT Clinton Wride (crew photo, group burial photo)
FindAGrave - Rev Paul A Trump (obituary, grave photo)
FindAGrave - Max A. Adams (crew photo, grave photo)
FindAGrave - Walter W Dickerson (grave photo)
FindAGrave - Robert J. Burkle (crew photo, grave photos)
FindAGrave - SSGT Florio D Spero (photos, grave photo)
The 6th Bomb Group - #3 Sharon Linn
The 6th Bomb Group - Crew #2406 Cpt. Gordon P. Jordan
The 13th Mission (1998) by Robert Martindale
13th Mission (1998) mentions members of this crew
Accused American War Criminal (2005) includes accounts by Trump and Dickerson, with Dickerson reporting that Adams, Hawkins, Sparo, and Wride were hung by Japanese civilians
Field of Spears (2007) by Gregory Hadley details this aircraft and the crew

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Last Updated
July 18, 2020

 

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