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The Air Crew

The members of crew #3902 were:

Cpt Arthur M. Clay (A/C)
1/Lt Harry H. George (Pilot)
1/Lt Loren E. Earnest (Navigator)
1/Lt Lester A. Moeller (Bombardier)
M/Sgt George L. Hipson (Engineer)
S/Sgt Russell W. Pollack (Radio)
Cpl Charles J. Grow (Radarman)
T/Sgt Dennis _ McAuliffe (CFC)
Sgt Donald C. Gillham (R Gunner)
S/Sgt Richard M. Neel (L Gunner)
S/Sgt John W. Cotty (T Gunner)

Photo provided by 6BG, all rights reserved.

DFC Citation – Mission 28. Kanoya East Airfield, Kyushu (Apr 21)

For extraordinary achievement while participating in aerial flight on 21 April 1945 from a base in the Marianas Islands. These individuals were combat crew members on a B-29 aircraft on an important bombing mission against Kanoya East Airfield. on the island of Kyushu, Japan. This mission involving a 3500 mile over-water flight, was accomplished at a time when the US Navy was undergoing serious air attacks by the enemy who were attempting to defeat the Okinawa invasion forces. These air attacks were staged from this airfield and others and this bombing was intended to disrupt the enemy staging operations, and relieve pressure on the Okinawa area. During the course of the actual attack, members of this crew helped to repel two enemy fighter attacks, damaging one fighter and maintained a close formation in the face of heavy and accurate anti-aircraft fire. As a result, exceptionally bombing was achieved, 92 percent of the bombs falling within 2000 feet of the briefed aiming point. Due to the urgency of this attack these individuals flew their mission with little or no sleep the preceding day. In spite of this added factor of fatigue and long arduous flight requiring exceptional skill, these veterans on many bombing attacks against Japan, achieved great precision and teamwork in the performance of their assigned duties and responsibilities and by virtue of their individual excellence, devotion to duty and superior degree of efficiency, contributed materially to the success of the mission and thereby reflected great credit on themselves and the Army Air Forces.

First Lieutenant HARRY H. GEORGE as Pilot
First Lieutenant LOREN E. EARNEST as Navigator
First Lieutenant LESTER A. MOELLER as Bombardier
Technical Sergeant DENNIS MCAULIFFE as Central Fire Control Gunner
Staff Sergeant CHARLES J. GROW as Radar Operator
Staff Sergeant RUSSELL W. POLLOCK as Radio Operator
Staff Sergeant MORTON S. OLIVER (then Sergeant) as Tail Gunner
Sergeant DONALD C. GILLHAM as Right Blister Gunner
Sergeant JOHN W. COTTY as Left Blister Gunner

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

A separate DFC Citation was prepared for Captain ARTHUR M. CLAY, JR, the Aircraft Commander.

In Memoriam

Lester A. Moeller died Sept 1, 2002, at a retirement center in Strawberry Point, Iowa.  He served as a bombardier with the 39th Squadron on Crew 3902.  He survived a bailout over Iwo Jima on May 26, 1945, and later completed 35 missions.  “Lester sat in front of me from Grand Island to overseas and through 29 missions,” aid former pilot Lt. Col. Harry George USAF (Ret).  Fellow Quonset hut airman Major Barney R. Olive said he taught Moeller how to play cards “because I needed a bridge partner.  I will always remember his big heart.”  His wife, Helen, survives him.   [6BG Newsletter, Jan 2003, p. 7]

The Airplanes

This crew generally flew “Anne Garry III”.


Last updated 02/08/2022