Topics - B-29 Black Tuesday (Namsi, Korea)

 
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Introduction

The Korean War Educator was contacted by Mary Foulks in March of 2015.  Her father-in-law was Capt. James Arch Foulks Jr., a B-29 pilot assigned to the 372nd Bomber Squadron, 307th Bomber Wing, in 1951.   In September of 1951, U.S. aerial reconnaissance discovered a build-up of several new North Korean jet-capable airfields in the Saamcham area.  The US decided to destroy the airfields before they became operational.  On the morning of October 23, 1951, nine B-29 Superfortresses took off from Kadena Air Base in Okinawa to strike the airfield at Namsi.* Russian MiG15's attacked the B-29s, and the result was that six of the nine American aircraft were lost.  It was the highest percentage of U.S. bombers ever lost in a single mission, hence the name "Black Tuesday".

More information about these six B-29's and their crew members is being sought by the Korean War Educator.  To add to this new page contact: Lynnita Brown, 111 E. Houghton St., Tuscola, Illinois 61953; ph. 217-253-4620 (home) or 253-5171 (work); or e-mail Lynnita@thekwe.org.  See also: "B-29s in the Korean War" on this page of the Korean War Educator.

[*KWE Note:  According to Earl McGill, author of Black Tuesday Over Namsi, "Official records show eight aircraft, but official records are in error. There were nine, a fact that took me the better part of my research to uncover. I have theories as to why ninth was left out but no documentation. Lead navigator’s log also shows nine. (There were ten, including spare and one aborted.)"]

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Serial Number 44-61940

When the plane engine of B-29 (44-61940) caught fire, the B-29 headed for safety, but before it could get back to base the crew had to bail out in the Yellow Sea.  Of the crew of 13, one was picked up after landing in the Yellow Sea by an Australian destroyer, one man's body was found the next day washed ashore.  Five of the men were taken prisoners of war and returned in 1953.  The remaining men were not heard from again. 

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Crew Members

  • Black, Cpt. Wayne Forrest - MIA (radio operator)
  • Botter, TSgt William Joseph - MIA/POW (flight engineer)
  • Cogswell, Maj. Robert Whitney - MIA/POW
  • Foulks, Cpt. James Arch Jr - MIA/KIA  (commander-pilot)
  • Coffey, Cpl. Arthur G. - KIA (tail gunner)(Body recovered)
  • Beissner, 1st Lt. Fred Jr. - (rescued at sea) co-pilot
  • Fuehrer, SSgt Alios Anton  - MIA/POW
  • Jones, Sgt James H. - POW returned '53 (left gunner)
  • Kisser, TSgt Kenneth E.  - POW returned '53 (gunner)
  • MacClean, Cpl Gerald Charles - POW returned '53 (right gunner)
  • Mooradian, 1st Lt.  Ara - POW/MIA (bombardier)
  • Strine, TSgt John T. - POW returned '53 (radio operator)
  • Wentworth, 1st Lt. Lloyd G. - POW returned '53 (navigator)

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In Memoriam - Crew Members

The public is welcome to add photos and information about the following crew members of this B-29 Superfortress.

1st Lt. Fred Beissner, Jr.
Capt. Wayne Forrest Black

Possibly transferred to POW camps in Russia and/or China.   He was born May 29, 1927.  There are memorial markers for him in three places, including a stone in Milton Cemetery, Milton, Tennessee.  He was married.

TSgt. William Joseph Botter


TSgt. William Joseph Botter
(Click picture for a larger view)

Born on August 27, 1924, in Johnstown, Pennsylvania, TSgt. Botter was the son of William Thomas Botter (1898-1965) and Martha L. Botter (1904-1992).  He enlisted at New Cambria, Pennsylvania, serving in World War II from 30 January 1943 until 10 August 1945.  His home of record when he died as a POW was Dawson, Tulsa, Oklahoma.  He graduated from Johnstown Central Catholic High School in 1943.  He was married to Wilma Jean Dugger, and their son, Thomas John Botter, was born during 1950 in Topeka, Kansas.

He was awarded the Air Medal with 2 Oak Leaf Clusters, the Purple Heart, the Prisoner of War Medal, the Korean Service Medal, the United Nations Service Medal and the National Defense Service Medal.

Cpl. Arthur G. Coffey

Born May 24, 1933 in Lowell, Massachusetts.  Sergeant Coffey was awarded the Purple Heart, the Korean Service Medal, the United Nations Service Medal, the National Defense Service Medal, the Korean Presidential Unit Citation and the Republic of Korea War Service Medal.

Maj. Robert Whitney Cogswell


Maj. Robert Whitney Cogswell

Born August 18, 1917, he was from Bridgeport, Connecticut.  Major Cogswell was listed as Missing in Action and was presumed dead on February 28, 1954. His name is inscribed on the Courts of the Missing at the Honolulu Memorial.  He was married.

For his leadership and valor, Major Cogswell was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross with Oak Leaf Cluster, the Air Medal with 4 Oak Leaf Clusters, the Purple Heart, the Korean Service Medal, the United Nations Service Medal, the National Defense Service Medal, the Korean Presidential Unit Citation and the Republic of Korea War Service Medal.

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Newspaper article - "Missing Korean War Soldiers' Families Still Suffer" (excerpt)
Greenwich Time Digital Edition, authored by Anne Amato, published Tuesday, May 29, 2012

BRIDGEPORT HERO

Robert Whitney Cogswell, a major in the U.S. Air Force who was from Bridgeport, was a crew member of a B-29A superfortress bomber that was attacked by enemy MIGs near the Namsi Airfield on Oct. 23, 1951. The plane headed toward the Sea of Japan and crashed. His body was lost at sea. He was listed as missing in action and presumed dead on Feb. 28, 1954.

Cogswell had also served in World War II and was a hero. He had been medically grounded after aborting a mission to Nantes, France, in October 1943. According to published reports, Cogswell was the pilot of a B17 that suffered a runaway prop and fire in one of the engines that caused the crew to bail out. Cogswell stayed with the plane and made sure it didn't crash in a populated area. The plane, called the Lady Luck, crashed near the Medstead Airdrome near Winchester, England. The bombs on board didn't explode, but Cogswell, then a lieutenant, tore ligaments in his back.

In a letter to his family following the incident, he was almost nonchalant about what happened, saying losing an engine wasn't unusual. He said he couldn't jettison the bombs because he was over England. He said no one was killed or injured and no property was damaged "except a few cabbages." In 2003, the town of New Alresford, England, where he ditched the plane, honored Cogswell with a permanent marker to his memory. But whatever family he had never got to bury his body from Korea.

Capt. James Arch Foulks Jr.

Captain Foulks had a wife and four year old son, James "Jay" Arch Foulks III.  The Captain's wife was pregnant with a daughter, but lost her while carrying her after she got the Missing in Action wire.


Capt. James Foulks Jr.
(Click picture for a larger view)

Capt. James Foulks Jr. in Okinawa, 1951
(Click picture for a larger view)
SSgt. Alios Anton Fuehrer

Sergeant Fuehrer was born November 08, 1927 in Rosemont, Pennsylvania.  He was a POW who was possibly transferred to POW camps in Russia and/or China.  Staff Sergeant Fuehrer was awarded the Air Medal, the Purple Heart, the Korean Service Medal, the United Nations Service Medal, the National Defense Service Medal, the Korean Presidential Unit Citation and the Republic of Korea War Service Medal.  He was married.

Sgt. James H. Jones

From Charlotte, North Carolina.

TSgt. Kenneth Eugene Kisser

Born November 3, 1919, he died February  04, 1999 and is buried in Florida National Cemetery, Bushnell, Florida.  He was married to Leonila Aligada Pelayo (1941-2011).  TSgt. Kisser was a World War II, Korea, and Vietnam War veteran of the US Air Force.

Cpl. Gerald Charles MacClean

At one point he and his wife Norma Jean were living in Melbourne, Florida.

1st Lt. Ara Mooradian

Born November 11, 1924 in Fresno, California, he was taken POW and was possibly transferred to POW camps in Russia and/or China.  Captain Mooradian was awarded the Air Medal with four Oak Leaf Clusters, the Purple Heart, the Korean Service Medal, the United Nations Service Medal, the National Defense Service Medal, the Korean Presidential Unit Citation and the Republic of Korea War Service Medal.

TSgt. John T. Strine
1st Lt. Lloyd Goodwin Wentworth


1st Lt. Lloyd Goodwin Wentworth
(Click picture for a larger view)

Col. Lloyd G. Wentworth, Jr., Ringgold, Georgia, died Wednesday, June 15, 2005, at Palmyra Medical Center.  Entombment was at Crown Hill Mausoleum with full military honors. Chaplin Andy Goode and Rev. Roy Cook officiated.

Colonel Wentworth was born September 17, 1928.  He retired from the U S Air Force serving in World War II, the Korean War, and Vietnam. He was a former POW who received a Purple Heart.  He flew over 200 combat missions in Korea.

Colonel Wentworth was a member of the American Legion Post 40, the VFW, Past Master at Masonic Lodge #708. He was a Worthy Patron twice with the Order Eastern Star #450, Hasan Temple and the Scottish Rite. He was a member of the Southwest Georgia Sportsmen Club, Georgia Defense Force, Air Force Sergeants Association and the Golden Eagles with the NRA.

He was preceded in death by his wife Carlene E. Wentworth and a son Lloyd G. Wentworth, III.  Survivors include his daughter, Dawn E. Smith, Chattanooga, Tennessee; sons, Raymond Wentworth and his wife Lynn, Jasper, Georgia, Mahlon Wentworth and his wife Teresa, Albany, Georgia; and seven grandchildren.


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Serial Number 44-87760
"Nip-pon-ese"

This B-29 was damaged during Black Tuesday, but was repaired and reassigned to the 98th Bomb Group.  The list of crew members was supplied by Robert Bergstrom of Minnesota in January 2016.

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Crew Members :

  • Bata, T/Sgt. Frank B. "Pappy" - right gunner

  • Bergstrom, 1Lt. Robert L. - VO

  • Bruegeman, S/Sgt. Donald A. - left gunner

  • Carpenter, Sgt. Charles C. - RO

  • Fairchild, T/Sgt. Malcolm L. - central fire controller

  • Lewis, Capt. James R. - aircraft commander

  • Myles, 2Lt. Robert D. - pilot

  • Pennington, 1Lt. Jerry L. - navigator

  • Puett, T/Sgt. Joseph E. - FE

  • Thevenet, 1Lt. Charles J. Jr. - bombardier

  • Webb, S/Sgt. Jerry M. - tail gunner

In Memoriam - Crew Members

T/Sgt. Frank B. "Pappy" Bata

FRANK BATA
Memories of World War II

Taken from the Eastern Arizona Courier, Safford, Arizona
July 29, 1998
Staff Writer D. R. Hall

In World War II, it was unlikely that any man would live through more than five missions while serving a tour of duty with the United States Air Force. Frank Bata, however, successfully flew 54 missions during World War II and 43 more during the Korean conflict. Flying those missions earned him the right to be buried in Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia in June.

Over the course of his career, Bata was stationed in England and took part in several historical events including the first three daylight raids to occur over Berlin. He lost several friends and had many close encounters with death while fighting for the government he believed in. After one mission over Korea, when his scanner blister was shot through by enemy jet fighters, he said, "If it hadn't been for the hand of God holding me back, I would've been blown out without a parachute."

His fearlessness and dedication to the United States during his 26 years of service earned him several medals, including the Distinguished Flying Cross and the AF Commendation Medal.

Bata's mother and father came to he Untied States from the Czech Republic in 1905. His family share his dedication to this country and at one point during World War II, five Bata boys were serving in the military. Bata's wife, Doris, said, "Because his parents came over to this country, he felt he owed it to the country (to serve in the military). This was his way of paying it back."

Bata met Doris in California and the two were married in 1961. After he retired in 1967, they moved to Arizona to take care of Doris' mother. He began working for the State of Arizona in 1969 at the Franklin Port of Entry. The couple settled between Duncan and Three-Way where they lived until 1990. They moved to Thatcher that year so Frank could be close to medical services the hospital offered.

While living in the Gila Valley, Bata was a member of the American Legion and the Veterans of Foreign Wars. He spent much of his free time talking to area youth about the benefits of having a military career and convinced many to enlist. He flew a United States flag in his front yard every day that weather permitted and was very humble about his military achievements, Doris said. "The kids in the neighborhood knew how much flying the flag meant to him," she said, "and after he died, the little girl across the street, who is probably about seven, brought over a little flag that her teacher had given her on Memorial Day and asked that it be put with Frank." Doris granted the girl's wish and the flag rests in the same niche at Arlington that Frank does. "The people at Arlington acted like it (the little flag) was ten-feet long," she added. "Everyone there was so nice. I will be buried there with him also."

Frank Bata escaped death many times while serving as an armored gunner for the United States Air Force. He is pictured here after surviving a mission in Korea in 1951. During that flight, an estimated 150 MIG-15s attacked the formation he was in. He lost his radio headset and got a bump on the head after MIG shells pierced his scanner blister.

NOTE: Recently I received a call from the owner of this newspaper. He said that he had heard of the incident regarding the MISUNDERSTANDING about an obituary for Frank and asked if he could send a reporter to get the information regarding the Arlington burial. I agreed. Corrections: Frank was buried July 7, 1998 with full Military Honors. He served 20+ years. We came to AZ and bought my mother's house when she returned to the East."

PS. Frank flew on B29s during the Korean War doing over 40 missions before his blister was shot out. Then on B66s doing recon out of Japan. His last service was with SAC on B52s out of Travis AFB, California."

T/Sgt. Donald A. Bruegeman

Donald Arthur Bruegeman was born August 12, 1925 in Sacramento, California, son of Donald D. and Barbara K. Bruegeman.  He was living in North Highlands, California at the time of his death on April 23, 1979.

Bruegeman was the top turret gunner and engineer during the following incident that occurred in World War II:

"Mission 355 for the 429th Bomb Squadron was scheduled for 14 February 1945 from Amendola.  The day was cloudy as the B-17’s took off for a bombing run to the Schechat oil refinery near Vienna, Austria.  1st Lt. Robert E. Davis was piloting the crew of “Hell’s Angel”, a B-17G with aircraft serial number 44-6659.  The Davis crew was flying their 13th mission.  They had completed bombs away over the target when at about 1245 hours the aircraft was hit by flak.  The plane began to lose altitude and stray from the formation.  All crew members were able to bail out and deploy their parachutes.  The aircraft crash landed in the Boesing Modra area near Pezinok, Slovenia.  The entire crew were captured and taken to a collection point.  Missing Air Crew Report 12107, which was filed after the aircraft failed to return home, includes captured German records relating to the interrogation of the crew by intelligence officers."

1Lt. Jerry L. Pennington

Lieutenant Pennington was born September 20, 1924 and died March 14, 1989.  He is buried in Memorial Park Cemetery, Tulsa, Oklahoma.

1Lt. Charles J. Thevenet Jr.

Lieutenant Thevenet was credited with flying 33 combat missions during World War II.  He served as a bombardier/navigator with the 547th Bombardment Squadron (Heavy).  His last known address was St. Petersburg, Florida.


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Serial Number 42-94045

This B-29 was shot down by Lt. Col. Aleksandr P. Smorchkov near Namsi airfield.  Last seen in a tight spiral. Loss.

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Crew Members:

  • Gallant, James Alvin - MIA

  • Hays, Melvin Blaine - MIA

  • Horner, John Joseph - MIA

  • Hudson, Laurence Harold - MIA

  • Johnson, Gerald Emmett - POW

  • Johnson, Johnny Menlo - POW

  • Krumm, Capt. Robert Mitchell (pilot) - MIA

  • Marshall, Israel Jr. - KIA

  • McAdoo, Ernest Robert - MIA

  • Newswanger, Quentin L. - KIA

  • Nutting, John Mainard - KIA

  • Osborne, Jess Alex - POW

  • Poynor, 1Lt. Con Foley - MIA

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In Memoriam - Crew Members

Gallant, A/1c James Alvin -

Born October 10, 1931, he was from Williamstown, Ohio.

Hays, A/2c Melvin Blaine -

Born August 18, 1920, he was from Seattle, Washington.

Horner, 1Lt. John Joseph -

Born March 29, 1924, he was from Swedesboro, New Jersey.

Hudson, 1Lt. Laurence Harold -

Born November 20, 1921, he was from Brooklyn, New York.

Johnson, A/2c Gerald Emmett -

Born March 17, 1933, he was from Arcadia, Pennsylvania.

Johnson, M/Sgt. Johnny Menlo -

Born December 18, 1918, he was from San Angelo, Texas.  He was in Soviet custody as a POW.

Krumm, Capt. Robert Mitchell -

Born March 30, 1918 in Atkins, Iowa, Capt. Robert Mitchell Krumm was the son of Jacob N. Krumm (1891-1966) and Grace E. Krumm (1896-1965).  His home address was Cedar Rapids, Iowa.  He was married.  He had a sister Eileen.

In Loving Memory of Captain Robert Mitchell Krumm

Captain Robert Mitchell Krumm was killed in action Tuesday, October 23, 1951 over the South China Sea.  He was 33 years old.  Captain Krumm was a member of the 307th Bomber Squadron based in Kadena, Okinawa.

He was born in Van Home on March 30, 1918, to Jacob and Grace Mitchell Krumm.  He was survived by his wife Sally, his parents, brothers Edmond (Roberta) and Keith (Corrine), sisters Ilene (Frank) Novak, and Dorothy (Robert) Gaines.  He was preceded in death by his brother Donald.

Bob was a fun-loving adventurer.  He enjoyed motorcycles, sports, and was a member of the Van Home baseball and basketball teams in high school.  He was a member of the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC). 

His true love was flying and prior to World War II, he operated a crop dusting service where he honed his flying skills.  He enlisted in the Army Air Corps on February 10, 1941.  After graduating from flight school, he was stationed in England with the 8th Bomber Group.  He completed 25 missions over Germany, including the D-Day invasion of Normandy.  His plane, the Flak Dodger, was shot down and he crash landed in Sweden where he and his crew were interned as guests of the Swedish government.  He was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross, the Air Medal, the Purple Heart, and seven Oak Leaf Clusters.

After the war, he returned home and resumed his crop dusting business.  He remained on active reserve in the newly formed United States Air Force and was recalled to active duty when the Korean War began.  Captain Krumm was flying a bombing missions which would later be known as "Black Tuesday Over Namsi."  It was the first time Russian MiGs were used to attack the American bombers.  The faster MiGs decimated the squadron.  Of the nine B-29s that took off that day, only three returned.  Bob's plane crash landed on the beach.  Six of the crew members' bodies were recovered, but five (including Captain Krumm's) were never found.

None of us ever got the chance to meet Uncle Bob.  We've heard many wonderful stories about this amazing man from our parents, families and friends.  His parents were still feeling the pain of losing their other son Donald (killed in a flight training mission in March of 1943) when Bob was declared deceased.  They declined the full military service for Robert, being too painful to relive.  Although it's 60 years later, we feel he still deserves this honor.  Our family invites all to honor this man who so gallantly laid his life on the alter of freedom.  Full military rites will be held at Cedar Memorial on August 6, 2016 at 10 a.m.

Marshall, Pfc. Israel Jr. -

Born August 19, 1932, he was from Jacksonville, Florida.

McAdoo, SSgt. Ernest Robert -

Born July 27 1932, he was from Josephine, Pennsylvania.

Newswanger, TSgt. Quentin L. -

Born March 24, 1924, he was from Quarryville, Pennsylvania.

Nutting, Capt. John Mainard -

Born January 23, 1916, he was from North Leeds, Maine.

Osborne, A/2c Jess Alex -

Born September 27, 1931, he was from Lebanon, Virginia.

Poynor, 1Lt. Con Foley "C.F." -

Born on July 17, 1918 in Gorman, Texas, he was the son of Pearl Zella Poynor.  His wife's name was Helen.  Home or record was Ranger, Texas.


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Serial Number 44-27347

This B-29 crashed at Kimpo Airfield in South Korea.  Loss of aircraft, but no fatalities.

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Crew Members:

  • Cartwright, 1Lt. Oma B.

  • Cummings, T/Sgt. Archibald M. - flight engineer

  • Dickerson, Cpl. Paul S. - right gunner

  • Galloway, Cpl. Jack - left gunner [KWE Note: Not listed on KORWALD as a crew member.]

  • Griner, Maj. William R. - pilot*

  • Iantorno, Cpl. Charles S. - radio operator

  • Laird, 1Lt. Deane F.

  • Markel, Maj. Carroll B.

  • O'Deneal, 1Lt. Pinkney B.

  • Slagowski, S/Sgt. Clyde L. - central fire controller

  • Stainbrook, Cpl. Paul - left gunner (traded places with Sgt. Carl Webb)

  • Thornton, 1Lt. Glenn S.

  • Turner, Cpl. Dewell E. - left gunner

  • Whitaker, Sgt. Bill N. - tail gunner

*Fate put Major Griner in the pilot's seat that day because the regular pilot, Captain Brisey, had sprained his wrist.


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Serial Number 44-61816
"Sit 'N Git"

Lead bomber on the Black Tuesday mission, this B-29 landed safely, but had over 500 bullet holes in it.  There were no fatalities.

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Crew Members:

  • Blumenthal, TSgt. Bernard - radio

  • Brubaker, Capt. Robert

  • Chapman, 1Lt. James - radar

  • Dees, MSgt. Ralph - FE

  • DeJung, Capt. Clifton

  • Denson, Capt. Joe D.

  • Fields, Airman Francis - tail gunner

  • Fogler, Capt. Clarence - pilot

  • Kourafas, 1Lt. Nick  - lead bombardier

  • Ledbetter, Col. Henry - observer

  • Meier, Lt. Fred C. - navigator

  • Miller, Cpl. Rolland - right gunner

  • Pyfrom, Lt. Stan - co-pilot

  • Spivey, Sgt. Fred R. - left gunner


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Serial Number 44-61824

This B-29 was shot up near Namsi, but the plane was not a loss.  According to crew member John Wagenhalls, "The bomb doors on the right side of the aircraft were shattered from cannon fire, while those on the opposite side suffered only minor damage. I was able to wire the pieces of the bomb bay doors in the up position sufficiently to allowed us to fly the aircraft back to Kadena."  There were no fatalities.

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Crew Members (incomplete)

  • Peter Dempsey (pilot)

  • John Wagenhalls (bombardier)

 


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Serial Number 44-70151
"D'Yachenko"

This B-29 (the lead bomber in this bombing mission) was damaged by MiG #141 near Namsi Airfield and the crew bailed out in the Chinnampo/Inchon area (Yellow Sea).  Loss.  Thirteen occupants, nine fatalities.  Curtis Bedsole, maintenance crew chief on this aircraft in 1951, made the following entry on the Korean War Project (www.koreanwar.org):

"These details of the aircraft's last flight were told to me by the CFC gunner after we both returned to MacDill AFB, Florida in 1952: 151 was targeted by MIG fighters because it was the lead bomber of its group. A large hole was blown in the wing and the plane began descending to the sea. Two enlisted members of the crew refused to bail out (one waist gunner and the flight engineer MSGT Hamblin). The waist gunner froze in his seat and the others in the rear could not get him to jump. They then jumped from the open hatch at the rear bomb bay doors. Sgt Hamblin had often told me and others that he would never be able to bail out of an aircraft. The pilot and co-pilot decided to attempt to ditch the aircraft in the ocean in order to possibly save the two enlisted men's lives. I found one entry that stated that Captain Shields was awarded the Silver Star, but have often wondered if their sacrifice was ever documented properly."

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Crew Members:

  • Dougherty, S/Sgt. Joseph Steven - MIA

  • Goldbeck, Capt. Emil - bombardier - rescued

  • Gross, Capt. William A. - gunner - rescued

  • Hamblin, M/Sgt. Robert Warren - flight engineer - POW/MIA - held in Russia

  • O'Neal, Lt. Col. Julius - observer - MIA/POW held after the war.

  • Penninger, Capt. Roger William - co-pilot - MIA/POW held after the war

  • Shields, Capt. Thomas Lester - pilot - MIA

  • Smith, Capt. Ted - navigator - rescued

  • Stainbrook, A/2c Paul E. - gunner - WIA/rescued

  • Vretis, Lt. James George - KIA

  • Wahlgren, Capt. Edward Charles - MIA/POW

  • Webb, A/1c Edward Arvil - MIA/POW

  • West, Cpl. Carl Emmons - MIA/POW held in Russia

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In Memoriam - Crew Members:

S/Sgt. Joseph Steven Dougherty

Born January 12, 1922 in Pennsylvania, M/Sergeant Dougherty was survived by a wife and four children ages 5, 4, 3, and 2.  One of them was named Sharon Dougherty Buzzard.  Dougherty was the Distinguished Flying Cross, Air Medal with 5 Oak Leaf Clusters, Purple Heart, Korean Service Medal, the United Nations Service Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Korean Presidential Unit Citation and the Republic of Korea War Service Medal.

M/Sgt. Robert Warren Hamblin

Born March 23, 1931 in New York, M/Sergeant Hamblin was awarded the Air Medal with Oak Leaf Cluster, Purple Heart, Korean Service Medal, United Nations Service Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Korean Presidential Unit Citation, Republic of Korea War Service Medal and the World War II Victory Medal. 

Ltc. Julius O'Neal

O'Neal was the C.O. of the 371st Bomb Squadron.

Capt. Roger William Penninger

Born July 20, 1924, he was from Elsinore, California.

Capt. Thomas Lester Shields -


Capt. Thomas Lester Shields

Born February 11, 1925, Captain Shields was from Valley Stream, New York.  He was married.  He received a Silver Star as the result of his heroic actions on Black Tuesday.  He was missing in action.

General Orders: Headquarters, Far East Air Forces, General Orders No. 569 (December 4, 1951)

The President of the United States of America, authorized by Act of Congress, July 9, 1918, takes pleasure in presenting the Silver Star to Captain Thomas L. Shields, United States Air Force, for gallantry in action against an enemy on 23 October 1951 as Aircraft Commander of a B-29, 370th Bombardment Squadron, 307th Bombardment Wing (Medium), FIFTH Air Force. Captain Shields was leading the third flight of aircraft over the important enemy airfield at Namsi. Twenty miles from the target, after encountering anti-aircraft fire, the formation of B-29s escorted by 50 friendly fighters was attacked by approximately 150 enemy fighters. The ensuing battle was one of the most savage on record during the entire Korean Campaign. Captain Shields' plane was raked by enemy fighter fire. Whole sections of the wings covering the gas tanks were blown away. The number three engine was in flames. The aircraft rolled violently to the right, but through great effort Captain Shields recovered. Refusing the opportunity of an immediate bailout, he flew the aircraft to the coast so as to make the rescue of his crew more probable. Captain Shields was last seen at the controls as his crew bailed out. The superlative skill, exceptional courage, and devotion to duty displayed by Captain Shields were in keeping with the highest traditions of the service, and reflected great credit upon himself, the Far East Air Forces, and the United States Air Force.

Capt. Ted Smith
A/2c Paul Stainbrook
Lt. James George Vretis

Born November 26, 1925, Lieutenant Vretis was from Rock Island, Illinois.  He was married.  He was awarded the Purple Heart, Air Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Korean Service Medal, Republic of Korea Presidential Unit Citation, United Nations Service Medal, and Republic of Korea War Service Medal.

Capt. Edward Charles Wahlgren

Born July 27, 1920, he was from Valley Stream, New York.

A/1c Edward Arvil Webb

Born September 15, 1932, he was from Oktana, Oklahoma.

Cpl. Carl Emmons West

 Carl Emmons West was born November 16, 1932, in Huntington, West Virginia, son of Doy and Gladys West. Carl had a twin sister, Mary Lou. Other siblings included Eleanor and Ray. Carl grew up In Jackson County where his father was a salesman in a hardware store and his mother taught in a one-room schoolhouse.

Carl graduated from Ravenswood High School where he played the snare drum in the band; it was said he loved to wear the uniform so much that he would attend out-of-town performances without informing his family. In 1949, Carl played in the National Future Farmers of America band in Kansas City.

Soon after graduation in 1950, Carl enlisted in the Air Force. He became a tailgunner on B-29s in North Korea. On October 23, 1951, the day of his death, Carl, a replacement on an 11-man crew, was taking part in one of those missions. His assignment that day was waist gunner, which meant manning a .50-caliber machine gun located on the side of the fuselage in the middle of the airplane.

The B-29 was hit by a MiG-15, resulting in damage to one of the right wing engines. Seven crew members bailed out, four of whom survived. Carl West was not one of them. Emil Goldbeck, the airplane’s bombardier, speculated that perhaps Carl chose to take his chances with the airplane.

Carl’s body was never recovered, but on December 31, 1953, he was declared dead. His twin sister had a plaque made and placed at the foot of her parents’ graves in Ravenswood Cemetery.


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Serial Number 44-86295
"Police Action"

This B-29 was shot up at Namsi and crash landed at Kimpo Airfield, South Korea.  The navigator was the only crew member killed in action. Loss of aircraft.

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Crew Members:

  • Bisson, Sgt. N.T. - Wounded in action
  • Carroll, Col. John W. - observer
  • Charnall, Capt. John F.
  • Edwards, Capt. Morton G. - navigator  - the only fatality
  • Gretchen, Sgt. J.E.
  • McQuade, Capt. James R.
  • Reeter, Lt. William E. "Bill" Reeter - pilot
  • Richards, Cpl. D.D.
  • Turpin, Cpl. Randy
  • Walters, Sgt. H.L. - Wounded in action
  • Williamson, Capt. Monte C.
  • Wilson, Sgt. E.L.
  • Victor, Sgt. Russell B.

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In Memoriam - Crew Member

Capt. Morton G. Edwards

Morton G. Edwards
Wichita, Kansas
Born November 4, 1924
Captain, U.S. Air Force
Service Number AO716392
Killed in Action
Died October 25, 1951 in Korea
Buried in Arlington National Cemetery

Captain Edwards was a crew member of a B-29A Superfortress with the 372th Bomber Squadron, 307th Bomber Wing based at Kadena Air Base, Okinawa.

On October 25, 1951, while on a combat mission, his aircraft was attacked by enemy MiGs and he was killed on board. Captain Edwards was awarded the Purple Heart, the Korean Service Medal, the United Nations Service Medal, the National Defense Service Medal, the Korean Presidential Unit Citation and the Republic of Korea War Service Medal.


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Serial Number 44-86395

This B-29 was the "spare" aircraft on the mission, used when the regularly scheduled B-29 was aborted due to engine trouble.

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Crew Members (incomplete):

  • Maj. Don Field (pilot)

  • Sgt. Edward Moore (radio operator)

  • Kroboth

 


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Black Tuesday over Namsi

A book written by Lt. Col. Earl J. McGill (USAF Ret.) provides insight into Black Tuesday.  His book is entitled: Black Tuesday Over Namsi: B-29s vs MiGs - The Forgotten Air Battle of the Korean War, 23 October 1951.  Order information for the book can be found at the end of this sketch.

An hour and a half before sunup, nine B-29s of the 307th Bombardment Wing lifted off from Kadena Air Force Base, Okinawa on a bombing mission against Namsi, a North Korean airfield under construction in the heart of MiG Alley. Five and a half hours later, they would engage in an air battle that would forever change the conduct of strategic aerial bombardment. Six of the nine would not return; the highest percentage of United States bombers ever lost on a major mission.

Astonishingly, virtually nothing has been published about this event. Official Air Force historical records mention it only in passing and literature of the period too often emphasizes the gung ho aspect than the grim reality of war.

Black Tuesday Over Namsi chronicles the calamitous B-29 daylight-bombing mission flown by the 307th Bombardment Wing on 23 October 1951 against Namsi Airfield. What many experts consider the epic air battle of the Korean War and perhaps the greatest jet engagement in the history of aerial warfare has largely become another forgotten battle in a forgotten war. Here, Lt. Col McGill presents the facts and circumstances of the mission from first briefing to final landing.

This book also records, from verifiable historical documents, the broader events and conditions that led up to the confrontation, plus the first-hand accounts of aircrew members and ground personnel who were there. Allied and Soviet perspectives are examined; statements made by the MiG pilots describe the attack; and eyewitnesses to the event have supplied photographs of the mission and its aftermath, including the aerial photo of the Namsi Airfield that was used to plan the mission. This thoroughly researched narrative history is enhanced by numerous photographs, a bibliography, and an index to full names, places and subjects.

This is the story of the Americans and Russians who clashed in the skies above Namsi, the events leading up to it, Black Tuesday's historical impact on aerial warfare, and, for the first time, fresh conclusions based on a careful analysis of the specific factors that went into the execution of this and other bombing missions.

Order Information - Amazon.com

  • Kindle $11,49
  • hard cover $98.43
  • paperback $20.52
  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Helion & Company; Reprint edition (September 1, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1909384380
  • ISBN-13: 978-1909384385
  • Product Dimensions: 0.5 x 6.2 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces
 
 
 
 

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