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The Air Crew

The members of crew #3903 were:

Cpt William F. Lemme (A/C)
1/Lt Warren R. Higgins (Pilot)
1/Lt William F. Sullivan (Navigator)
1/Lt George T. Kemp (Bombardier)
M/Sgt George Bayha (Engineer)
S/Sgt Nicholas P. Matro (Radio)
Cpl Louis W. Vollman (Radarman)
T/Sgt Charles E. Fitch (CFC)
S/Sgt Sidney G. Younger (R Gunner)
S/Sgt William G. Moritz (L Gunner)
S/Sgt David Mayo (T Gunner)

Cpt Robert Rodenhouse may have been the original A/C on this crew.  After 11 missions, Warren Higgins transferred to Crew #3909 where he flew the rest of his missions.  He was replaced by 1/Lt Richard S. Baumgartner.  Late in the war, Cpt William F. Lemme (A/C) was assigned to Crew #3918.

DFC Citation – Mission 47. Kobe Urban Area (June 5)

For extraordinary achievement while participating in aerial flight 5 June 1945. In a daylight incendiary attack against important industrial and shipping facilities in the city of Kobe, Japan, these combat crew members of a B-29 aircraft flew a precise and successful mission from a base in the Marianas Islands, 1500 miles to the south. Flying their plane exactly as briefed, despite the hazards of the long trip over water, through heavy, intense and accurate anti-aircraft fire, and fighting off fourteen attacks on their formation by enemy fighter planes, each of these men performed his appointed duties with exceptional skill, coolness and courage and teamwork. An unusually high degree of bombing accuracy was attained, aiding in the destruction of more than four square miles of the city. By their devotion to duty and their determination to press home their attack on the target in the face of heavy odds, members of this crew who have completed more than twenty-one combat missions, distinguished themselves and reflected great credit on the Army Air Forces.

Captain WILLIAM P. LEMME, A/C
First Lieutenant WILLIAM F. SULLIVAN, Navigator
First Lieutenant GEORGE T. KEMP, Bombardier
Master Sergeant GEORGE BAYHA, Flight Engineer
Technical Sergeant CHARLES E. FITCH, CFC Gunner
Staff Sergeant LOUIS W. VOLLMAN, Radar Operator
Staff Sergeant NICHOLAS P. MATRO, Radio Operator
Staff Sergeant SIDNEY G. YOUNGER, Right Blister Gunner
Staff Sergeant WILLIAM G. MORITZ, Left Blister Gunner
Staff Sergeant DAVID MAYO, Tail Gunner

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

A separate DFC Citation was prepared for First Lieutenant RICHARD S. BAUMGARTNER, Pilot of Crew #3903 on this mission.

Anecdote

Nicholas P. Matro, “We Got Used to the Night.” (Twentieth Air Force, 6th Bomb Group, 313th Wing, 39th Squadron Boeing B29 Lucky Strike) “We lived in tents for a long time and each crew had their own tent. Our tent was at the end of a line of tents. Prior to our getting there, the Army or Marines, I don’t know which, had hung, from a tree near the tent, about twenty Japanese skulls painted different colors like Christmas tree ornaments. They swung back and forth in the breeze. We saw them everyday, and never thought a thing about it.” [http://www.stvincent.edu/napp17]

In Memoriam

Kemp, George Thomas, age 78, of Austin, TX passed away on January 27, 2003 after a courageous fight with Parkinson’s Disease.  He served as a 2nd Lt. Bombardier on “Lucky Stripe.”  Their 35th and final mission was flown on August 6.  He made life-long friends with his flight crew, who enjoyed reunions throughout the next 50 years.  [6BG Newsletter, October 2003, p. 2]

The Airplanes

This crew generally flew “Lucky Strike“.

 

Last updated 11/25/2008