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The Air Crew

The members of crew #3905 were:

Cpt John D. Ralph (A/C)
1/Lt Robert R. Joslin (Pilot)
1/Lt John J. Ullman (Navigator)
1/Lt Wendell Sellers (Navigator)
1/Lt Lester Schwartz (Bombardier)
1/Lt Victor Steinmetz (Engineer)
S/Sgt William T. Hamer (Radio)
S/Sgt Raymond J. Radomski (Radarman)
T/Sgt Paul E. Savage (CFC)
Sgt Jerry S. Benesh (R Gunner)
Sgt William S. Santavicca (L Gunner)
S/Sgt Richard M. Sidders (T Gunner)

1/Lt Wendell Sellers (Navigator) also flew with this crew.  1/Lt Robert R. Joslin became A/C of Crew #39?? and their A/C Lt Hubert Smith, Jr. probably was assigned to this crew.

DFC Citation – Mission 30. Hitachi Aircraft Company (Apr 24)

For extraordinary achievement while participating in aerial flight 24 April 1945. These individuals were combat crew members of a B-29 based in the Marianas Islands attacking an enemy installation, the Hitachi aircraft company, located near Tachikawa, Japan. Taking off in darkness, this crew flew on the briefed course and effected assembly at the designated time and place off the coast of Japan. Upon making landfall at Numazu, heavy, intense and accurate flak opposition was encountered. The lead aircraft was severely damaged, necessitating its withdrawal from the formation. The plane flown by this crew was likewise damaged, as were all other aircraft in the formation. In addition, they underwent twenty-seven aggressive attacks by fighters. Despite this determined opposition and a cover of haze over the target, they pressed home their attack, making a well-controlled bomb run and dropping their projectiles accurately on the target. They played a large part in the destruction of this aircraft factory, as proved by photographs which show fifty-four percent of the total roof area destroyed. By their coolness and courage in the face of great danger, their determination to accomplish their mission successfully despite all opposition, and their high degree of individual skill, these veterans of repeated assaults against the Japanese homeland reflect great credit on themselves and the Army Air Forces.

First Lieutenant JOHN D. RALPH as Airplane Commander
Second Lieutenant JOHN J. ULLMAN as Navigator
First Lieutenant LESTER SCHWARTZ as Bombardier
First Lieutenant VICTOR A. STEINMETZ as Flight Engineer
Technical Sergeant PAUL F. SAVAGE (then Staff Sergeant) as Central Fire Control Gunner
Staff Sergeant RAYMOND J. RADOMSKI as Radar Operator
Staff Sergeant WILLIAM T. HAMER as Radio Operator
Staff Sergeant JERRY S. BENESH (then Sergeant) as Right Blister Gunner
Staff Sergeant WILLIAM S. SANTAVICCA (then Sergeant) as Left Blister Gunner
Staff Sergeant RICHARD M. SIDDERS (then Sergeant) as Tail Gunner

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


For more on the plane and crew, read “Look Homeward Angel“.

The Airplanes

This crew generally flew “Look Homeward Angel“.


Last updated 08/29/2010