|Recent Address:||3476 W. Woodmont Way, Palm Harbor, FL 34684|
|Family Info:||Parents: Leslie and Merle Kendall; Brother: Charles Kendall; Sister: Open LeMasters|
|Date Entered Service:||January 29, 1943|
|Location of Unit:||Great Bend, KS - November, 1943|
|Missions Flown:||35 combat missions|
|Targets:||Yawata, Anshan, Nanking, Okayama, Omura, Kobe, Nagoya, Tokyo, Yokohama, Osaka, Omuta,Tokohashi|
|Awards:||Distinguished Flying Cross, Air Medal with 3 Oak Leaf Clusters, Presidential Unit Citation, Asiatic-Pacific Theater Ribbon with 4 Bronze Stars, American Theater Ribbon, Good Conduct Medal, WWII Victory Medal|
|Service Schools:||Aircraft Armorer/Gunner Jun 1943; Central Fire Control System Oct 1943|
|MOS:||Aerial Top Gunner - B-29|
|Rank Upon Discharge:||Technical Sergeant|
|Crew Type:||Flight crew|
|Airplane Serial No.& Name:||Lee Barker's crew; 42-26292 - Black Jack; 42-63451 - Black Jack Too; 42-24732 - Hore-Zontal Dream
On the transfer of the 444th to Tinian, our crew (Capt Bakers crew ) flew 42-24732 from Dudkhundi, India to Luliang, China on May 1st, 1945, and from Luliang to the West Field of Tinian Island in the Marianas. The majority of our combat missions from China were in Black Jack while the majority from Tinian were on Hore-Zontal Dream.
|Where You a POW?:|
|Where You a Interned?:|
|Date Transferred from the 58th:|
|Date Discharged:||November 5, 1945|
|Post WWII Service:|
|Post WWII Civilian Occupation(s):||Worked 27 years as civilian, federal government employee in Dayton, OH, at Wright Patterson Air Force Base and Dayton Air Force Depot and Dayton Defense Electronic Supply Center. Worked in the procurement field as a Buyer, Contracting Officer and Chief of Contract Review Committee.|
|Thoughts About the 58th:||You realize there is a special bond between yourself and your crew members. This bond is created by daily risking your lives together and depending on each other and knowing that only by a quirk of fate, or a stroke of luck that you have survived.|
I have received certificates and official credit for destroying two (2) Japanese aircraft during a bombing mission to Mukden, Manchuria, on December 21, 1944; and for damaging a Japanese aircraft during a bombing mission to Anshan, China, on September 26, 1944.
I am enclosing the article “Six Days in the Wei River Valley” which I wrote about Baker and crew crash landing a B-29 in China in 1944. This article was published in the EX-CBI Roundup Magazine in October, 2000. (A copy of this article may be obtained from the 58th Bomb Wing Memorial office.)
Our crew had 35 missions over the Hump,17 combat missions from China and 12 combat missions from Tinian. (These numbers are accurate as much as I can determine from my records.) Our crew was given credit for destroying 2 EAC and damaging 5 EAC.
On our combat missions our plane was shot up 5 different times by enemy action, yet we never had any injury to anyone of our crew. On Nov. 24th,1944 when returning from a mission to Omura, Japan, where our hydraulic brake lines had been shot out, we ran off the end of the runway into a ditch. No injuries to our crew. On Sept. 26, 1944, returning from another mission to Omura, Japan we could not land at our regular base in Kwanghan, due to bad weather,so we had to land at a nearby fighter landing strip at Menyang, China. We were able to stop the B-29 on the short runway with no damage.No injuries to the crew. Pretty amazing luck, don't you think?
These episodes did not include the worst of all. When on Sept. 8, 1944 returning from a mission to Anshan, Manchuria in China our fuel transfer system would not function and we had to crash land belly up in the partly dry river bed of the Wei River near Hsian, China.No injuries to our crew. Seems like our crew had a charmed life. We left the B-29, named Thunderbird, serial No.42-6212 in the riverbed to be salvaged for parts. Old #212 was the 11th B-29 built and was painted olive drab as were the other first 50 B-29s built. (I have written a story about this crash landing which is on file at the NEAM office.)
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