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The Air Crew

The members of crew #2408 were:

Cpt Robert P. Fortune (A/C)
1/Lt Ramon L. Holtzclaw (Pilot)
1/Lt Robert H. Johnston (Navigator)
1/Lt Edwin F. Floyd Keeney (Bombardier)
T/Sgt George E. Benyo (Engineer)
S/Sgt Charles M. Allen (Radio)
S/Sgt Lloyd S. Hovland (Radar)
S/Sgt Stanley Balon (CFC)
S/Sgt Daniel V. Manfredi (R Gunner)
Sgt Richard J. Brown (L Gunner)
Sgt Robert Y. Marchbanks (T Gunner)

DFC Citation – Mission 43. Tokyo Urban Area (May 23-24)

For extraordinary achievement while participating in aerial flight on 23 May 1945 from a base in the Marianas Islands. These individuals were combat crew members of a B-29 in a low-level night incendiary raid against important industrial facilities in Tokyo, Japan. In the target area, their plane was caught in the concentrated beam of almost one hundred searchlights; attacked by six aggressive fighter planes and badly damaged by heavy, accurate anti-aircraft fire. The left waist gunner shot down one Japanese fighter. The right gunner was wounded and the starboard flight cables, all radio and identification equipment and the number four engine was shot out. Despite this great damage, these veterans of many missions against the home islands of Japan continued on to the target, effectively dropping their bombs, damaging the objective severely. The radio operator and bombardier administered first aid to the wounded man while the pilot successfully piloted the plane to an emergency landing at Iwo Jima, bringing the B-29 down safely without radio equipment although the ceiling was only fifty feet. The work of this crew contributed materially to the destruction of more than twenty-two square miles of the built up area of Tokyo. Their professional skill, teamwork, determination and success in carrying out the attack reflect great credit on themselves and the Army Air Forces.

First Lieutenant RAMON L. HOLTZCLAW as Pilot
First Lieutenant ROBERT H. JOHNSTON (then Second Lieutenant) as Navigator
First Lieutenant EDWIN F. KEENEY, JR. (then Second Lieutenant) as Bombardier
Technical Sergeant GEORGE E. BENYO as Flight Engineer
Staff Sergeant CHARLES M. ALLEN as Radio Operator
Staff Sergeant STANLEY BALON as Central Flight Control Gunner
Staff Sergeant FLOYD S. HOVLAND as Right Gunner
Sergeant RICHARD J. BROWN as Left Blister Gunner
Sergeant ROBERT Y. MARCHBANKS as Tail Gunner

[Transcribed by David Wilson, son of Sgt Bernard E. Wilson (Gunner, “Anonymous IV”)]

A separate DFC Citation was prepared for Captain ROBERT P. FORTUNE, Aircraft Commander.

The Airplanes

This crew sometimes flew “Shasta“.