New England Air Museum
Francis W. Doherty


Frank Doherty, Clovis, New Mexico, 1944


Recent Address:

125 Granite Point Rd., Biddeford, ME 04005



Family Information:

Parents: William S. and Marguerite L.; Wife: Maureen; Children: Christopher, F. Gregory, Jonathan, Geoffrey, Kellen, Anthony, Mairin, Marea, Mary; Siblings: William S. Jr., Dana, Bernard, Sally, Audrey


West Roxbury, MA

Date Entered Service:

January 15, 1942

Service Number:


Bomb Group:




Location of Unit:

Kharagpur, India (November, 1944)

Missions Flown:

26, all combat

Hump Missions Flown:



Hankow, Formosa, Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, Rangoon, Tomioka, Osaka, Omuta, Kure, Okayama, Chiba, Semai, Namazu, Fukui, Takarazuka, Aomori, Hachiogi, Marcus Island, Fukuyama, Hikari


Distinguished Flying Cross, Bronze Star with Bronze Oak Leaf Cluster, Air Medal with Two Bronze Oak Leaf Clusters, Air Force Commendation Medal with Oak Leaf Cluster, Presidential Unit Citation with Four Oak Leaf Clusters, Air Force Outstanding Unit Award, Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal with Bronze Star and One Silver Star, American Campaign Medal,
Good Conduct Medal, WWII Victory Medal, National Defense Service Medal with Bronze Star, Air Force Longevity Services Award Ribbon with Three Oak Leaf Clusters, Air Force Reserve Medal, Small Arms Expert Marksmanship Ribbon, Philippine Liberation Ribbon, Air Offensive Japan Campaign, Central Burma Campaign, China Defense Medal, Eastern Mandates, India-Burma Campaign, Western Pacific Campaign, Republic of Vietnam Campaign, Vietnam Service Medal, Republic of Vietnam Medal of Honor First Class, as well as numerous other civil awards in recognition of outstanding achievement.

Service Schools Attended:

Pilot training (incomplete) Jun 1942; Bombardier School June 1943; Navigator School Nov 1943

Military Specialty(ies):

Combat Navigator, Transport Navigator

Rank Upon Discharge:

Lt. Colonel

Crew Type:

Flight crew

Airplane Serial No.& Name:

42-63420 Rankless Wreck,44-61566 Jack's Hack

Were you a POW?


Were you interned?


Date Transferred from the 58th:

October, 1945

Date Discharged from the 58th:

December, 1945

Post-WWII Service:

Remained in the Air Force Reserve, flying Military transports out of Hanscom Field. Recalled to active duty January 1951 during the Korean War, assigned to the ""Blue Jay"" project, flying supplies to Thule, Greenland. In 1953 started Communications Officer course then transferred to the 49th Air Division in Sculthorpe, England. Our mission in England, under NATO, was to maintain a ready force of bombers and fighter/ bombers equipped to deliver the new small atomic bombs. In 1958 I was returned to the United States, and attended the Communications and Electronics Staff Officer course at Keesler Air Force Base. In 1961 I was assigned to the Electronics Systems Division (ESD) at Hanscom Field. My duties at ESD ranged from Project Engineer through Program Manager for the acquisition and implementation of new command control communications and electronic systems.

In August 1965 I was transferred to Vietnam as Chief Maintenance Officer for the 619th Tactical Control Squadron. We were responsible for the operation and maintenance of 15 Aircraft Control and Warning sites in South Vietnam and Thailand. I returned again to Hanscom Field in August 1966 continuing with ESD, and subsequently retired from active duty in July 1970.

Post-WWII Civilian Occupation(s):

Upon leaving the service, I secured a position with Sylvania Corporation, but after one year returned to ESD at Hanscom Field under Civilian status. I continued to support our military efforts as Program Manager for the FAA/ USAF Instrument Landing System, Chief Engineer for the Multi Level Secure Communications System for Strategic Air Command (SAC), and Assistant Program Manager for the FAA/ USAF Radar Replacement Program. I enjoyed a yearlong assignment at FAA headquarters in Washington, DC before returning to ESD at Hanscom Field until my retirement in March 1988.

Thoughts on the 58th Bomb Wing:

My luckiest day was in November, 1943 when I met Jack Volkert at Hays, Kansas. We arrived too late to be assigned to a B-29 crew as all positions were already filled. We were sent to Clovis, NM for operational training and on to India as replacement crew for the 58th Bomb Wing.  On the train ride to Clovis, Jack and I had a chance to become better acquainted with each other; we were extremely compatible and got along well with each other. I was really pleased to have met him as he was a number one guy, and was delighted when, as Pilot, he asked me to be his Navigator. I then recommended Albert (Stan) Heiden as our Bombardier, and the nucleus of our crew was established. It grew better and better with each additional crewmember as follows: Howard Rasmusson, Henry (Hank) Chodacki, Robert (Moose) Johnson, William (Bill) Codman, Jerome (Jerry) Sulak, Wilbert (Will) Stefanko, Neils (Neil) Eskildsen, and Robert (Bob) Ahrens. Each of my fellow members was top notch in their field and I prayed that I would measure up.

Jack was a fearless leader and led by example, never flustered, always calm, courteous, and in control. He was the best of the best, our ace. His leadership encouraged all of us to do our best and to stay focused on the task at hand. He was a man's man, and we owe our safe return from each mission to his outstanding airmanship, leadership, calm demeanor and determination. We know that he is safely home now with his darling bride, Lynn, his courageous brother, and mom and dad. I pray that we will all be together again in the next life, as there were many times we thought we were well on our way there during some of those perilous missions. My experience in being an active participant in this "War of Wars" and to have survived and been returned home to my loving family was a defining moment in my life. They were honorable and heroic times, albeit perilous and horrific as well. The friendships and brotherhood generated from the experience posses some of the best humanity has to offer.

Our crew has carried on a close relationship over the years, with Jack and Lynn hosting reunions near their home in Buffalo, NY in the early years (photo from August 1966 enclosed) and many of us have been fortunate to participate in the 58th Bomb Wing reunions as of late. Additionally, Henry (Hank) Chodacki's ordination into the priesthood was cause for great celebration among us.

Seven of our original crew of eleven actively participates in these reunions and each year I look forward to the festivities and "homecoming" it provides. That we survived the War and have enjoyed wonderful lives since is still amazing.

We were all so proud to have served our country, and the rest of the free world, and are honored that the New England Air Museum has chosen "Jack's Hack" to memorialize the success derived from the B-29 Superfortress and their crews during WW II. In addition to great thanks and appreciation to Jack for his leadership, and for my fellow crew members for their contribution, I would also like to express my appreciation to the ground crew for their expertise and innovation in keeping "Jack's Hack" airborne.

In closing I would like to quote President Woodrow Wilson: "When men take up arms to set other men free, there is something sacred and holy in the warfare".

Keep the faith, and God Bless!

Francis W. Doherty, Lt./ Col., USAF Ret.

May 2003

Lt. Col. Doherty passed away August 30, 2009 and is buried at Woodlawn Cemetery in Acton, MA.


The Crew of "Jack's Hack"


Frank Doherty, 1999


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