73 Bomb Wing Table of Contents

497th Bomb Group

B-29 Ground crews on Saipan - great color photos, black and white, photos, manuals, etc. Photos taken by Dick Bastasch of the 497th while he was a B-29 remote control turret mechanic.

Jack Bartlett and The American Maid - Jack Bartlett was shipped out with the brand new B-29 serial number 42-24593, with A square 7 on the tail whom his crew named the “American Maid.”

The Diary of a 73rd BW Tail Gunner -This is the "Diary" of Bob Spring's experiences as a tail gunner on a B‑29 crew, flying 35 combat missions against Japanese targets during World War II in 1945.  We were in the 870th Bombardment Squadron, 497th Bombardment Group, 73rd Bomb Wing of the 20th Air Force. 

Dauntless Dotty and Robert Morgan - Robert Morgan, pilot of the famed B-17 bomber Memphis Belle, commanded Dauntless Dotty, which led the first B-29 bombing raid on Tokyo on November 24, 1944.

A Square 26 and Joe Simonds - The first 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.

Tribute to 1st Lt. Joseph V LaMoglia and the 497 Bombardment Group (VH)

Jack Franklin

Jack Franklin- Flight Engineer - Jack Franklin was a flight engineer on the B-29's in World War II. Jack flew out of Saipan, arriving there on December 11, 1944 and departing on July 3, 1945. Jack's total combat flying hours were 443.2 .

Jack's Missions - Jack's 73rd Bomb Wing mission summary

Lowery 5-March-44 - Jack's restricted orders from Lowery Field

Lowery 6-March-44 - Jack's restricted orders from Lowery Field

Secret Air Transport Command - Pacific Division, West Coast
Wing, 1505th AAF Base Unit, Mather Field, Sacramento, CA.

Jerry Francis

Panchito and the Jerry Francis Crew- This is an account of some of the 35 missions we flew in our Boeing B-29 (A-Square 54 A/P No. 44-69724) during World War II.

Matt Dorrian - Ground Crew- a remote control gunner who was grounded due to his specialized training states-side and became the part of the maintainence crew that took care of the remote control guns on his plane Waddy's Wagon

498th Bomb Group

Jack Montgomery -Then the axe fell. Sorry, but we have too many in the program, the expediters had done their job too well. No openings in Pilot, Navigator or Bombardier classes at this time. Big disappointment. What next? I was to become a Radar Specialist, whatever that was.

499th Bomb Group

Bill Royster

The Banana King of Saipan- Sgt. Bill Royster - who earned the title of the "Banana King of Saipan" for his crop restoration efforts in that country in World War II - is better known today by some other titles.

B-29 Flyover Honors WWII Airman- - It was a long journey which led to Bill Royster to Saipan where he was a tail gunner on a B-29 Superfortress during WWII and a longer journey which led him here where a B-29 and a B-24 flew overhead in his honor.

Flak Alley - A poem by Bill Royster

Ray Brashear

Ray Brashear and the Betty Bee - There has been a lot of confusion on the name "Ready Betty" and "Betty Bee". We didn't name V-37 Betty Bee until late in the war. I was rather surprised when the name showed up on our bird.

Hap Halloran

January 27, 1945 - Time Heals Everything Almost - As the 58th anniversary of the shoot down of Hap Halloran's Rover Boys Express drew near, I asked Hap if he would, or could, go back in time to those days and try to describe his own personal living nightmare as a captured B-29 crew member living in a POW camp in World War II Japan. Often times we see war depicted in movies and on television as either romance or machismo. As Hap describes here, it is neither. It is survival.

Enemies Then . . . Friends Now - On January 27, 1945, B-29 bombers of the 73rd Wing, based on Saipan, flew a high altitude mission against the Nakajima aircraft plant located at Musashino on the western fringe of Tokyo. It was known to all B-29ers as target 357. Nine superfortresses were lost on that mission; one of them was V Square 27, known affectionately as the Rover Boys Express. I was the navigator aboard this aircraft.

Hap's Victory . . . A POW's Story - As a boy growing up in Lockland, Ohio, during the Great Depression, Ray "Hap" Halloran dreamed of flying planes. After graduating from Roger Bacon High School in 1940, he was given his chance when World War 11 began. He joined the Army Air Corps, becoming a navigator and bombardier on a B-29 crew called the "Rover Boys Express."

Ex-POW Brings Closure to Another - by Henry Sakaida Fifty-five years after the end of World War II in the Pacific, some ex-POWs still have nightmares about their prison camp experiences. Living day-to-day, never knowing if they would ever survive to see loved ones again, was a frightening ordeal whom no one but an ex-POW would ever understand.

Winged Samurai - Saburo Sakai - Japanese World War II fighter ace Saburo Sakai, who downed 64 enemy planes and then went on to reconcile with his former foes and urge his nation to face its wartime past, has died. He was 84.

Pacific Journey - I was visiting with my son, Dan, in early May 1999. He lives in Cincinnati, Ohio. I live in the San Francisco area. Dan is now 40 years old and is my best friend. Out of the clear blue sky one evening he caught my full attention when he asked, "Dad, do you think maybe we could take a trip together to your WWII combat area?"

Hap Inducted Into the WWII Hall of Fame

Photos from the US Air Force Academy -Photos that Hap Halloran was kind enough to take for us and to share with us at the unveiling of the new B-29 sculpture/memorial at the US Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, CO.

The Aviation Artistry of Hideichi Kaiho - -wonderful paintings of B-29's and their air fights. All paintings are copyrighted so please do not take.

500th Bomb Group

The Diary of Capt. Stanley Samuelson - This Diary was written by Captain Stanley H. Samuelson telling of his war experiences in the Pacific Area from the time he left Kearney, Nebraska, October, 1944, until his last entry a few days before his ship was shot down over Tokyo on February 19, 1945.

500th Bomb Group Web page

Col. Curtis Burchfield - Curtis Burchfield was born to James (Jim) Edward Burchfield and Eula Spears Burchfield in the Hurricane Community of western Pontotoc County Mississippi. Jim was a veteran of World War I having survived going over the top with the 30th Inf. Division. He was severely wounded and returned home with shrapnel from a German shell above his left eye, his leg and back.

Lt. Bob Copeland's War Diary - "My uncle Bob's story has always been an inspiration to me.His generation had a oneness, a goal, that could only be achieved by everybody pulling together to get the job done. Sadly that sense of patriotism and national dedication has long left our society. The "me generation" is here to stay. My uncle's writings and diaries would go a long way in explaining to today's younger generation what being an American is all about. . -- Bill Copeland

Last Mission for Z Square 46
- As recalled by Bob Sebring, Gil Easton and Bob Pope

Capt. Ferd Curtis - This is the story of Captain Ferd Curtis, the Aircraft Commander of the B-29, Z Square 12. He started his B-29 training graduating as an Aviation Cadet Class 41G – Kelly AAF, Texas, Sep 26, 1941. At that time he was a 1st LT. Ferd flew 80 anti submarine missions off the East coast of the US before being transferred to 479th Anti Submarine Group in England. He flew 57 combat missions in B-24s and was credited with a submarine kill on July 28th 1943.

Return to Japan - Robert Goldsworthy

Sky Giants Over Japan - Chester Marshall

Interphone - by John Saxon An example of what was said on those interphones

Jack Heffner

3 December 44 - Z Square 7

Tokyo Raiders


73rd Bomb Wing Data


73rd Bomb Wing Reunion 2000

73rd Bomb Wing Reunion 2001

73rd Bomb WIng Reunion 2002

73rd Bomb WIng Reunion 2003

73rd Bomb Wing Reunion 2004