This was a night incendiary mission involving 24 planes from the 6th Bomb Group:
The arsenal area of Tokyo was hit on 13 April and the urban area of Kawasaki (suburb south of Tokyo proper) felt the result of Sixth bombs on the night of 15 April. Both of these raids were incendiary attacks. * * * twenty-four [ships] reached the target at Kawasaki. On the Kawasaki raid four enemy aircraft were claimed to be destroyed. Gunners credited with fighter kills were Sgt Jones, 24th Squadron, and Sgt McCrea, Cpl Podolny, and Cpl Fields, all of the 40th Squadron. Intense anti-aircraft fire included automatic weapons and rockets but all aircraft returned with only slight damage.
[Pirate’s Log, p. 38]
According to the DFC Citation for Crew #2405 “Big Joe”:
For extraordinary achievement while participating in aerial flight 15 April 1945. These individuals were combat crew members of a B-29 based in the Marianas Islands attacking important industrial facilities in the city of Kawasaki, Japan, on a low-level, night incendiary raid. Despite formidable searchlight defenses, an aggressive attack by an enemy fighter, ground to air rockets, and heavy accurate flak, this crew successfully made it’s individual bomb run over the target as briefed. They aided in heavily damaging the designated area. Indicative of the opposition encountered is the fact that more than eight of the planes on this mission, including their own, sustained considerable battle damage. In spite of this, these crew members who have completed more than twenty four combat missions, displayed a high degree of skill in performance of individual duties. They demonstrated excellent teamwork and, by determination to perform the task at hand despite all obstacles, reflected great credit on themselves and the Army Air Forces.
According to the DFC Citation for Crew #40??:
For extraordinary achievement while participating in aerial flight 15 April 1945. These individuals were combat crew members of a B-29 aircraft flying from a base in the Marianas on a night incendiary raid against important industrial installations in the city of Kawasaki, Japan. Despite the fact that this was their first bombing mission against the home island of Japan, each member of this crew performed his assigned duties with such exceptional skill and courage that the entire mission was outstandingly successful. The long 3,000-mile over-water flight was negotiated skillfully in the face of adverse weather conditions and darkness, which made navigation and flying extremely difficult. The actual attack against the target through extremely heavy anti-aircraft fire, searchlights and fighter defenses, but the bombs were released exactly on the designated target. The outstanding teamwork and determination to accomplish their mission, notwithstanding the heaviest opposition, displayed by each of these individuals contributed materially to the over all success of the entire raid, which devastated approximately three square miles of the city. Their exceptionally high standard of performance on this occasion reflects great credit on themselves and the Army Air Forces.
- First Lieutenant ROBERT K. RULAND as Airplane Commander
- First Lieutenant JOHN E. COUNSELL as Bombardier
- Second Lieutenant DONALD J. DUMMER as Radar Observer
- Second Lieutenant MARSHALL PERLIN as Navigator
- Flight Officer OWEN F. MCGOLDRICK as Pilot
- Master Sergeant ROBERT O. WELLONS as Flight Engineer
- Staff Sergeant CHARLES L. BOYD as Radio operator
- Staff Sergeant LAWRENCE J. MATTHEWS as Central Fire Control Gunner
- Staff Sergeant MEZONIA P. WATSON as Left Gunner
- Staff Sergeant CLYDE D. SANDERS as Tail Gunner
- Sergeant ERNEST L. TYLER as Right Gunner
[Transcribed by David Wilson, son of Sgt Bernard E. Wilson (Gunner, “Anonymous IV”)]
20th AF Mission 68