- "Feather Merchant" - 45th Bomb Squadron - Delivered to the USAAF on
1/19/44 - Model B-29-10-BW - Departed Pratt
for India on 4/2/44 and arrived at Chakulia, India on 4/12/44.
42-6308 retuning from the August 20, 1944, Yawata mission with heavy flak and
fighter damage crashed after crew bailed out over China.
42-6308 enroute to the target was hit by flak off the China coast and the CFC was wounded.
42-6308 continued to the target and had ascertained that the lower front turret
was inoperative due to mechanical malfunction. As 42-6308 approached the target
some 25 to 30 enemy fighters could be seen in the area and the flak appeared
very heavy. A good bomb run was made unmolested by fighters but through heavy
and accurate flak. As 42-6308 was making a turn away from the target flak hit
#1 engine in two places and knocked out all fuel and oil quantity gauges, cowl
flaps and oil cooler position indicators. At the same time flak hit the
horizontal tail surface and the crew reported seeing several pieces fly off. AC
Grubaugh stated that he immediately tried the controls and they appeared
normal. Number 1 engine continued to put out power and did not appear to be
At about the same time 42-6308 was hit by flak it was also attacked by several
single engine fighters. With both lower turrets inoperative 42-6308 was unable
to repel the attacks and the enemy fighter riddled her with bullets from below.
Hits were scored in the mid section which knocked out the fuel transfer system
and radar. The bullets shattered the rear pressure door into the bomb bay,
knocked out the CFC sighting station. The crew immediately went on oxygen.
42-6308 ran into weather over China, terrific thunderstorms and started
losing altitude at 500 feet per minute. AC Grubaugh gave the orders for the
crew to bail out. Two crewmembers were KIA, the CFC who died of his wounds
before bail out and it is believed that the Tail Gunner never bailed out.
With the help of the Chinese the surviving crewmembers reached Lachokow, advance
base of the Fourteenth Air Force.
Capt. Boyd Grubaugh - AC
1st Lt. Charles Thornsberry - CP
1st Lt. Walter Kusian - N
2nd Lt. Jacob Fairman - B
2nd Lt. George Williamson - FE
S/Sgt. Lawton Patterson - RO
Sgt. Elwood Renshaw - R
S/Sgt. John Hause - CFC - KIA
Sgt. Richard Lunt - LG
Sgt. Ike Barnes - RG
T/Sgt. Roy Hontz - TG - KIA