Z Square 7 departed Saipan at about 6 PM on May 23, 1945 being part of one of the largest air operations in
the history of the world. General Curtis LeMay had 520 B-29s over Tokyo on this operation. They arrived over
their target area at 4 AM on May 24, 1945.
Just seconds after releasing their bombs on the South Tokyo dock area, the plane was hit with flak on the right wing.
They feathered the engine and tried everything to put out the fire to no avail. They decided to try to make it to the rescue
submarine (probably the USS Razorback) stationed at the entrance of Tokyo Bay.
A few minutes later they were hit the second time with flak somewhere in the rear which disabled the controls and
the intercom. Lt. Thomas ordered the bailout. It is not known if anyone in the rear survived this flak hit or heard the
Lt. Thomas, Lt Glacken and Sgt Bradford went out over the front wheel well. It is assumed that Lt. Bassett
and Sgt Mitchell went out through the open bomb bay immediately behind their positions. Lt. Phillips, the
Bombardier, was the last one out. He did not see the others when he parachuted nor did he ever hear of them again.
Since the intercom was inoperable it is unknown what happened to the five men in the rear.
As Lt Phillips glided down he saw the plane explode in midair and fell into Tokyo Bay. It stayed on top of the water
on fire for about 10 minutes before slipping beneath the waves. He didn't see any survivors.
Lt. Phillips landed on a sandbar and was captured by a Japanese patrol boat. Most of his time as a prisoner
was at Omori POW Camp.
The fate of these men other than Lt Phillips is unknown since they were never heard from again.
The U.S. Government investigating Japanese war atrocities determined the men probably drowned in Tokyo
Bay. The case was closed and the war trials began. All these men were outstanding swimmers in great physical condition
and, in fact, Lt. Thomas was on his University's Swim Team.
After the war two "Unknown" graves in the Yokohama Military Cemetery No. 1 were determined to be the crew of this
B-29. The remains were combined in one casket and reburied at Zachary Taylor National Cemetery in Louisville, Ky. While ten
men are listed on the stone, it is not clear who is really buried here.