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THE PIRATES LOG PART IV – Commendations & Citations

6th Bomb Group Commendations“Congratulations for an outstanding job on your first strike against the Japanese Mainland. This accomplishment is proof that every member of your team has done his part in a superior manner. Well done.”
26 Feb 1945, Tom Brig Gen John H. Davies, Commanding General, 313th Bomb Wing.

“I want to commend you and your command on the superb operations you have conducted during the last month. I have followed closely the progress of the XXI Bomber Command and I want you and your people to understand fully my admiration for your fine work. Your recent incendiary missions were brilliantly planned and executed, but I appreciate behind these successful missions there are thousands of men who do not participate actively as expression of my admiration and appreciation.”
21 Mar 1945, from Gen Henry H. Arnold, Commanding General, Army Air Forces to XXI Bomber Command and all units therein.

“I wish to compliment the Sixth Bombardment Group for the excellent bombing results that were obtained on the attacks made against Kanoya Airfield and Ibusuki Airfield on 8 May 1945. Photographic evidence reveals that all the bombs were dropped within 1000 feet of the Main Point of Impact on Kanoya Airfield. Photographs from the squadron attacking the Ibusuki Airfield indicate that approximately 97 per cent of the bombs fell within 1000 feet of the assigned MPI. The leadership displayed and the will
to accomplish assigned tasks exemplifies the determination and aggressive spirit of a fighting organization. I wish you would personally convey this message to the combat crews concerned.”
10 May 1945, from Brig Gen John H. Davies, Commanding General, 313th Bomb Wing.

Tokyo Mission-25 May 1945

On 24 May 1945 the Sixth Bomb Group was alerted for a maximum effort incendiary attack for take off thirty-six hours after return of its Super-fortresses from a mission on which a large number of aircraft were damaged. Tireless and efficient work by the maintenance crews readied twenty-seven B-29’s by take-off time. The target was Tokyo’s last strategically important industrial section. The Sixth’s ships went in first, leading the raiders, on a low-level run through heavy anti-aircraft fire and effective searchlights. Forty-one fighters and fifty suicide planes attacked the formation while over the Empire. The Group lost three aircraft and had fourteen heavily damaged by night fighters and anti-aircraft fire while shooting down eight enemy planes and destroying the target area. Indomitable courage, skill and devotion to duty shown by the combat crews and the determination and technical mastery of the ground personnel earned the Distinguished Unit Citation.

Distinguished Unit Citations – Awards Made for Gallant Action in Combat

Mining Shimonoseki Straits – 9/19 July 1945

Charged with the strategic blockading of Japanese home waters, the Group along with the other groups in the Wing, laid mines with telling effect to help materially in the final destruction of the enemy’s ship-borne lines of communication. The location of all mines had to be pin-pointed with extreme accuracy to obtain immediate results on Japanese shipping and for the eventual mine-sweeping operations by our own naval forces. Missions were flown every other night at levels of about 7500 feet over heavily defended enemy territory; the mines dropped by radar. Thirty-one aircraft laid mines in the Shimonoseki Straits with the loss of only one plane on 9 July. Two nights later one of the longest missions of the war was flown to mine Korea’s harbors of Rashin and Fusan. The combined efforts of all personnel of the Sixth were vital factors contributing to the ultimate success of the aerial mining of the Japanese home waters.

COLONEL KENNETH H. GIBSON | Commanding Officer Sixth Bombardment Group

Colonel Kenneth H. Gibson

Colonel Kenneth H. Gibson, Commanding Officer, Sixth Bombardment Group

Colonel Kenneth H. Gibson, the Sixth’s Commanding Officer for fourteen months of training and combat, was awarded the Legion of Merit when he left the Group in August 1945. The award was for “exceptionally meritorious conduct in the performance of outstanding service”. This was the highest award received by any Sixth man and was a fitting tribute to the Colonel’s combat leadership. After completing college in Salt Lake City, his home town, in 1931, Colonel Gibson enlisted in the Army and was assigned to the Air Corps at March Field, Calif. In February 1935, after fourteen months as an enlisted man airplane mechanic, he was appointed to the aviation cadets and received his wings and commission at Kelly Field a year later. As a second lieutenant at Langley Field, Va., the Colonel co-piloted one of the first flying fortresses.

In 1937, he was assigned to the 19th Bomb Group, stationed in California. When the unit moved overseas to Hawaii in 1941, he was sent to England to train Royal Air Force pilots to fly B-17’s. At the end of his tour of duty there Colonel Gibson was transferred from England to Alaska where he was a unit commander with the 11th Air Force. From here, the Colonel was ordered to China and trained 14th Air Force pilots to use the B-25 as a low-level bomber. Then, he went to Army Air Force Headquarters at the Pentagon Building in Washington, D. C. He was assigned to the B-29 program in June 1944 and came to the Sixth at Grand Island as Group Commander. On 28 August 1945, the Colonel was again ordered to Washington. This time his assignment was chief of bombardment at AAF, Headquarters.

Colonel Kenneth H. Gibson | He served in a variety of demanding high level positions in the Pentagon, 8th Air Division commander (RC121), Commander, Alaskan Air command, Chicago NORAD Sector Commander, Chief, Air force Section of the Joint Military Assistance Command to turkey and Air Force Representative to the Arms Control and Disarmament Agency in Washington D.C.

LT COL THEODORE W. TUCKER | Deputy Commander



Lt Col Tucker was assigned to the Sixth in July 1944, assuming command of the 40th Squadron. On 4 Mar 1945 he became Group Operations Officer and on 25 May he was appointed Deputy Group Commander. He became Group Commander on 31 August and is serving in that capacity today. After two years at Ohio State he entered the Air Corps cadets and was commissioned a 2d Lt in the reserve 1 Feb 1939.

A year later he was appointed to the Regular Army. From 1940 to 1943 he served at various airfields in the U.S. and was director of training at Albuquerque AAB in August 1943 where he was promoted to his present rank. He is a graduate of the Command and General Staff school at Ft. Leavenworth and the AAF staff school in Washington. He is a rated B-29 pilot and aerial observer.

LT COL ELMER A. DIXON | 40th Squadron Commander

LT COL ELMER A. DIXON 40th Squadron Commander

40th Squadron Commander

Lt Col Dixon, the only ranking officer of the Sixth lost in action, was missing after the 9 July mining mission. He was commissioned in the Regular Army after entering the cadets in 1937. He had served in the Caribbean Area before joining the Sixth as 40th Squadron Operations Officer. He became Squadron Commander on 4 March; was promoted to Lt Col 14 May 1945.

LT COL JOHN W. OSBORN | 39th Squadron Commander

"LT COL JOHN W. OSBORN 39th Squadron Commander

LT COL JOHN W. OSBORN, 39th Squadron Commander

Lt Col Osborn assumed command of the 39th Squadron in May 1944 and served in that capacity until after V-J Day. He joined the Air Corps cadets in 1937 and was commissioned a year later. From 1941 to 1943 he was a B-17 pilot in West Coast anti-sub patrol. Following that he was assigned to the B-17 training program.

LT COL LOUIS M. SOWERS | 24th Squadron Commander

LT COL LOUIS M. SOWERS 24th Squadron Commander

LT COL LOUIS M. SOWERS-24th Squadron Commander

Lt Col Sowers was the 24th Squadron Commander from March to June 1945 when he became Group Operations Officer. Receiving his wings and commission in May 1941, he joined the 11th Bomb Group and served with
this group in Hawaii and the Southwest Pacific where he flew forty-six combat missions. He returned to the U.S. in Feb 1943,  joined the Sixth in April 1944.

LT COL H. D. KENZIE | Deputy Commander

LT COL H. D. KENZIE Deputy Commander

Deputy Commander

Lt Col Kenzie was graduated from West Point in 1938 and won his wings at Kelly Field a year later. For over a year he was director of training at Lubbock AAB. Lt Col Kenzie became 313th Wing Intelligence
Officer 25 May 1945 after serving as deputy commander of the Sixth for thirteen months.

LT COL R. K. ORT | Group Operations

LT COL R. K. ORT Group Operations

LT COL R. K. ORT Group Operations

Lt Col Ort, Group Operations Officer from July 1944 to March 1945, entered the Air Corps cadets in June 1938 and was commissioned a year later, serving as a pursuit pilot. Before entering the Army he attended Hardin-Simmons University in Texas, his home state. He had been a squadron commander and an engineering officer prior to his joining the Sixth.

LT COL C. L. CONE | Group Executive

LT COL C. L. CONE Group Executive

LT COL C. L. CONE. Group Executive

Lt Col Cone joined the Sixth as Group Executive Officer while the Group was at Dalhart and served in that capacity until March 1945. He enlisted in the Army in 1935 and was commissioned in the reserve corps in 1939. He had a record of four years as an administrative officer prior to joining the Group.

MAJOR R. P. TATUM | Group. Adjutant

MAJOR R. P. TATUM Group Adjutant

MAJOR R. P. TATUM Group Adjutant

Major Tatum joined the Sixth at Dalhart in April 1944 as 40th Squadron Executive Officer and was appointed Group Adjutant in July. In civilian life Major Tatum was a lawyer and held a commission in the officers reserve corps. He became Group Executive Officer 12 March 1945. Since his return to the U.S. he has been promoted to Lt Col.

MAJOR F. W. SPEERS, Group Intelligence

MAJOR F. W. SPEERS Group Intelligence

MAJOR F. W. SPEERS Group Intelligence

Major Speers served as Group Intelligence Officer from April 1944 to September 1945. The Major was a newspaper editor at North Platte, Nebraska, in civilian life, and entered the Army in 1942. For his work during the war he was awarded the Bronze Star Medal. He was Group Executive Officer in October and November 1945, returning to the U.S. in December 1945.

CAPT F. M. DETERDING | Group Maintenance Control

CAPT F. M. DETERDING Group Maintenance Control

Group Maintenance Control

Capt Deterding was assigned to the 40th Squadron as an aircraft engineering officer at Grand Island in September 1944. In May 1945 he was appointed Group Maintenance Control Officer and held that position until the end of the war. His services in coordinating B-29 maintenance earned him the Bronze Star Medal, awarded in September 1945.


Lord of our fathers, hear our prayer. For those Who paid the price; Our stalwart youth, so brave and fair, Who made the sacrifice.


Capt Clark A. Preston
2d Lt Donald T. Goodwin
2d Lt Albert N. Hett
2d Lt Lloyd E. Rinne
T /Sgt Eugene M. Arms
Sgt Marcos S. Duran
Sgt Donald J. Parker
1st Lt Bernard J. Casaurang
2d Lt Richard J. Scarisbrick
2d Lt Edward A. Josephson
F / 0 Louis T. Kestner, Jr.
T / Sgt Fred B. Robbins
Sgt Robert J. Beller
Cpl Ralph R. Cima
Cpl Richard V. Leland
Cpl Harold V. Brown
Cpl Flavio M. Duca
Cpl Joseph Kuebler
Cpl Charles N. Gentry
2d Lt Joseph Novak, Jr.
S/ Sgt Charles P. Magnuson
S/ Sgt Raymond L. Merritt

PRISONERS OF WAR – Liberated V-J Day

1st Lt William C. Grounds
2d Lt Jack Hobbie
2d Lt William J. C. Leslie
2d Lt Ollin W. Williams, Jr.
M/ Sgt Neal R. Cooper
Sgt Arvid A. McPherson
Sgt Maynor B. Hanks
Sgt Harold P. Peterson
Sgt Clarence L. Pressgrove
Sgt Julian W. Steele
Sgt Warren R. Thompson
1st Lt John B. Boynton
1st Lt Rollin E. Heidlebaugh
1st Lt Albert S. Somoser
2d Lt Franklyn S. Green
M/ Sgt Roger L. Townsend
S/ Sgt Frank C. Massey
S/ Sgt David G. Farquhar, Jr.
S/ Sgt Kenneth E. Creech
Sgt Milan E. Danany
Sgt Robert A. Franz
Capt Gordon P. Jordan
2d Lt Paul A. Trump
M/ Sgt George E. McGraw
S/ Sgt Walter W. Wiernik
S/ Sgt Walter W . . Dickerson
S/ Sgt Robert J. Burkle
Sgt Robert A. Grant
2d Lt Harold J. Anderson, Jr.
F / 0 William A. Mitchell
Sgt Michael Boyko
Cpl Albert P. Lounsbury
Cpl Joseph E. Costello
Cpl Ralph G. Sasser
Sgt Harry D. Magnuson
Sgt Stephen Spega, Jr.


1st Lt Paul A. Steel
Capt Forest R. Johns
Capt Robert S. Miller
1st Lt Gayle W. Newman
2d Lt Ambrose F. Van Dyke
Sgt Charles R. Albert
Sgt Daniel J. Lucarini
Sgt Charles S. Lyczko
Sgt Angel M. Ocasio
Sgt Frank K. Ostberg
Sgt Peter J. Thomas
2d Lt Joseph H. Snyder
2d Lt James A. Williams
1st Lt Richard C. Willis
1st Lt Russell Snyder
2d Lt Earle W. Karlson
T / Sgt William 0. Kent
Sgt Richard G. Hamilton
Sgt Floyd D. Carlock, Jr.
Sgt Richard W. St. Martin
Cpl Wyman L. McKee
Cpl Ernest W. Holman, Jr.
1st Lt Donald M. Fox
1st Lt Herman W. Thomas
2d Lt John W. France
2d Lt Leland L. Sanderson


2d Lt Walter L. Wentz, Jr.
T/ Sgt Joe A. Atchley
Sgt Charles E. Barron
Sgt Donald R. Arntsen
Sgt Charles W. Snell
Sgt Robert E. Warren
Lt Col Ebner A. Dixon
Capt Robert R. Schmid
Capt James K. Chatfield
2d Lt Oliver L. Fix, Jr.
2d Lt Robert J. Ryan
2d Lt Arthur L. Wright
S/ Sgt Donald 0. Winkler
Sgt Joseph Beneski, Jr.
Sgt Juan D. Donato
Sgt Andre W. Jacques
Sgt Jack J. Roy
Cpl Robert D. Strickland
1st Lt Wails Hawkins
1st Lt Clinton L. Wride
S/ Sgt Max A. Adams
S/ Sgt Florio D. Spero

INDIVIDUAL AWARDS – Sixth Men Decorated for Gallant Action

The people of the Sixth Bomb Group earned many awards for their combat operations. Their achievements were outstanding, and they received medals and commendations appropriate to their heroic deeds. Over 2250 combat awards were made to Sixth men individually in addition to the Group’s four campaign stars to its Asiatic-Pacific Theater ribbon and its two Distinguished Unit Citations.

Legion of Merit to Col Kenneth H. Gibson, Commanding Officer

Legion of Merit to Col Kenneth H. Gibson, Commanding Officer

The Legion of Merit, the highest individual award received by any Sixth man, was presented to Col Kenneth H. Gibson, the Group Commanding Officer, in August. The award was for his outstanding services in leading the Sixth for fourteen months of training and combat. While a member of the Sixth, the Colonel was also awarded an Oak Leaf Cluster to the Distinguished Flying Cross for his achievements in leading the Group on the first of the March Blitz missions over Tokyo.

Nine members of the Group were awarded the Silver Star medal for gallantry in action. Four of these awards were to airplane commanders, Capt Arthur M. Clay, Jr., Lt Jay K. Anderson and Lt Jack A. Henshaw of the 17 39th Squadron, and Lt Sam A. Parks, 24th Squadron. Lt Anderson and Lt Parks were decorated for their actions in bringing battle-damaged planes back to home fields on the Tokyo mission of 23 May.  Capt Clay’s award was for gallantry after the 25 May mission in bringing his ship to Iwo Jima where all crew members bailed out. Lt Henshaw’s gallant action was on the Yawata mission of 7 August. His skill in flying his damaged aircraft to Okinawa for an emergency landing saved the lives of the entire crew.

Sgt Richard Neel, a member of Capt Clay’s crew, received the Silver Star for staying at his post while wounded to assist in bringing the aircraft to lwo Jima. There, he was bailed out within one hundred yards of a hospital. Sgt Fannon and Sgt Slatter, both of the 24th Squadron, were awarded the Silver Star for their actions in manning their guns although wounded on the 7 April mission to Nagoya. Their fire staved off Japanese fighters and saved the plane. Lt Milton Garfinkle and S/Sgt Herman L. Anderson, bombardier and left gunner respectively on Capt Ramsey’s crew of the 24th Squadron, were awarded Silver Stars for their gallantry in manning their positions after being wounded over Tokyo.

Twenty-three Sixth officers and men were awarded the Soldier’s Medal for heroism in saving the lives of comrades. Sgt Albert and Sgt Lyczko of Lt Steel’s crew of the 40th Squadron, were awarded the medal for their actions on 13 March in searching a burning airplane for a trapped comrade. Capt Dean J. Mutch, 24th Squadron airplane commander, received the award for saving the lives of his co-pilot arid bombardier on the night of 22 April. On one mission his plane was forced to crash land at West Field, and after escaping from the burning plane, he returned to rescue two of his crew members. Unfortunately, no information is available concerning the award of the other twenty-one Soldier’s Medals.

Fifty-three members of the Sixth Group were wounded in action and awarded the Purple Heart. First of these was awarded to Sgt Joe Duggan for wounds in action on the 19 February Tokyo raid. Several of the Purple Heart awards were made posthumously to Sixth men killed-in-action. Oak Leaf Clusters to the Distinguished Flying Cross were presented to forty-one Sixth combat men, and 486 men received the Distinguished Flying Cross. Eight hundred ninety-six officers and men were awarded the Air Medal and 1680 combat crew members received Oak Leaf Clusters to the Air Medal. Awards were made in this manner: five combat missions, the Air Medal; thirteen missions, one Oak Leaf Cluster to the Air Medal; twenty-one missions, a second Oak Leaf Cluster; twenty-nine missions, the third Oak Leaf Cluster. Twenty-one missions, if any of them were outstandingly successful, earned the Distinguished Flying Cross.

6th BG Awards for Heroism

6th BG Awards for Heroism

Bronze Star Medal awards were made to sixty-five officers and men. Four of these were awarded to engineering personnel after the March Blitz. Recipients were Major Baum, Capt Deterding, Capt Mudroch, and M/Sgt Beach. Capt Johnston was awarded this medal in August for directing ordnance activities all during the war. Major Speers and Major Tatum of Group Headquarters received the award in September. Crew chiefs were awarded this medal if their planes flew eighteen missions without an abort. No other information is available as to the award of Bronze Star Medals.

Campaign battle stars awarded Sixth personnel as a Group were the Aerial Offensive Against Japan, Western Pacific Campaign Star, Eastern Mandates Campaign Star and the China Offensive Battle Star. These four stars will be worn on the Asiatic-Pacific Theater ribbon by Sixth men in the Group during the period of these campaigns. These awards and the blue bars of the unit citations to be worn on the right breast of the uniform make the Sixth Group one of the heaviest decorated units in the 20th Air Force.

Ceremonies presenting the medals were held in April, July and September. Brig Gen Davies attended the April 23rd presentation, Col Gibson presented medals to Group personnel at the Starlite Theater on the night of 21 July, and Lt Col Tucker presented awards to Sixth men in September.


EDITORS NOTE | The story of the Pirate’s Log is included in the Bill Webster Photos video on our website:  VIEW VIDEO

TO PURCHASE THE PIRATES LOG | The 6th Bomb Group Association offers high quality lithographic prints (using the original negatives, shortly after its formation in 1984) of the Pirate’s Log for $30 per copy.