A SQUARE 26

The first of B-29 of the 497th Group to land on Saipan and the first, and only, crew lost on the first B-29 mission over Japan.

The flight crew are:
Front row right to left: Lt. SP Wagner, AC; Lt Dahl, Engineer; Lt Lopes, Co-pilot; Lt Schnarrs, Bombardier
Back row right to left: Staff Sgt Wendler, Radar; Cpl Frederick, Gunner; Sgt Wheeler, Gunner; Sgt Lindenstruth, Gunner; Staff Sgt Banovicts, Radio; PFC Merritt, Gunner

This photograph was taken at Herrington, KS during September 1944. The airplane, A Square 26, of the 870th Bomb Squadron was the first airplane of the 497th Bomb Group to land on Saipan on October 19, 1944.

Additionally pictured , rear row, extreme left, is Crew Chief, Master Sergeant William S. Nattrass who was not a member of the flight crew. This flight crew, with the exception of Nattrass, was the first, and only, crew lost on the very first B-29 mission over Japan on November 24, 1944.

- Photo and story courtesy of Joe Simonds of the 73rd Bomb Wing