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Crew Photos

the 24th, 39th and 40th Squadons

Each air crewman was typically assigned to a particular crew and plane and flew with that crew and plane for the duration.

There were exceptions, of course. Some air crew might be asked to fill in a vacancy with another crew. If their aircraft was not available, an air crew might be assigned to fly a different aircraft for a mission. The first 16 air crews were the original crews and generally flew together for the duration. Many were able to complete 35 missions before the end of the war. When replacement crews arrived, the policy was for them to fly with an experienced Aircraft Commander for 5 missions, while their Aircraft Commander served as Pilot with the experienced crew. After the first 5 missions, the air crews resumed flying together with their original Aircraft Commander. However, especially later in the war, replacement crews were split up to serve as individual replacements on more experienced crews.

The air crew of a B-29 generally included eleven people. Each occupation had a different MOS (“military operating specialty”), and required special training. The Airplane Commander, Pilot, Navigator and Bombardier were generally officers. The Flight Engineer, Radio Operator, and the Gunners were generally enlisted men.  The Radarman was initially an enlisted man but was later an officer.  The following is a list of the crew members, with the MOS indicated in square brackets.

Airplane Commander [1093]
Pilot (or Co-Pilot) [1092]
Navigator [1034]
Bombardier [1035]
Flight Engineer [737]
Radioman (or Radio Operator) [2756]
Radarman (or Radar Observer) [0142]
Central Fire Control (or CFC Gunner) [580]
Right Gunner [611]
Left Gunner [611]
Tail Gunner [611]


Edgar L. “Ed” Vincent was the aircraft commander (AC) pilot on the 40th Bomb Squadrons SuperFortress “Flak Alley Sally,” a B-29-55-BW, serial #42-24878. He flew 32 missions to places like Tokyo, Nagoya, Osaka and Yawata. “Flak Alley Sally” absorbed hits from the enemy and accumulated 141 holes in her skin. None were in a critical system, and she continued flying and completing missions. Vincent and his crew flew on what is described as the longest non-stop bombing mission of WWII, a night mine laying mission from Tinian to Rashin, on the northeast coast of Korea, and back again, some 4,400 miles. They completed the mission from Tinian in 19 hours and 40 minutes, returning to Tinian without stopping at Iwo Jima on the return for fuel. Between Vincent’s piloting, the skills of the flight engineer and navigator, “Flak Alley Sally” was the only plane sent to Rashin able to complete the mission without stopping at Iwo Jima.

GO WATCH – The Longest Non-Stop Bombing Mission of WWII

6th Bomb Group

Crew Uniforms

The photo shows standard uniforms for a typical B-29 crew in the Pacific. This is how many crew members dressed when flying missions (without the medals, of course). Crew did not typically wear flight jackets or fleece-lined boots that the bomber crews in Europe wore. In some cases, the men wore flight suits. While on a mission, they also generally wore yellow life preservers.