POWERS, L. D. EUGENE, Sergeant, # 10160365, USAAF

 

L. D. Eugene Powers was born on 10 November 1919 in Heavener, Oklahoma, to Oscar Eugene Powers (1895-1963) (AR) and (1) Rosa Mae (Sullins) Powers (1899-1928); (2) Rubie (Grogan) Powers (1905-1983) (OK) (Sullins - married 19 November 1916, Washita, OK). Siblings included Lola Mae (Powers) Schutkesting (1918-2005), Marie Powers (1921-    ), John Powers (1923-    ), Donnie Powers (1932-    ), Mae Powers (1936-    ), Gaylord Duane Powers (1937-2010), and Patricia Diane (Powers) Vuleta (1937-2002). He was married to Emily V. Powers, 632 E Broadway St, Muskogee, Oklahoma.

 

He registered for the WW II draft on 1 July 1941, resided at 417 E. Okmulgee Ave., Muskogee, Oklahoma, employed as a truck driver for the Oklahoma State Highway Department, and described himself as 5’8”, 155 lbs, with brown hair and blue eyes. He enlisted in the USAAF in Tulsa, Oklahoma, on 17 September 1942. After enlisting in the USAAF, he was trained as an armorer and gunner, responsible for the maintenance and function of the weapons on the B-29 Superfortress (except bombs) and earned his crewman wings. He was sent overseas to India. On 27 November 1944, a B-29, # 42-24452, “Devil May Care,” assigned to 20th Air Force, 40th Bomb Group, 57th Bomb Squadron, and fourteen othe B-29s departed the airfield at Chakulia, India, on a bombing mission over Bangkok, Thailand (aka Siam). He was the tail gunner. Last radio contact was at about 0649Z 130 miles south of Chittagong, India. The B-29s were deployed from Chakulia Army Air Force Base to attack the Bangsue Marshalling Yards of Bangkok, Thailand. Weak enemy fighter opposition was encountered. One enemy Zeke attacked the formation from straight ahead, damaging four B-29s. Thirteen planes returned safely to Chakulia and one, aircraft #452, proceeded to Chittagong (Bangladesh) after losing #4 engine. Leaving the primary target, the pilot of aircraft #452, Lt Carl E. Blackwell, radioed the formation commander that he had wounded personnel aboard due to the fighter attack and that he could not close his bomb bay doors. Enroute back to Chakulia, he asked permission to proceed to Chittagong. The formation commander asked if there were any major mechanical difficulties or shortage of gasoline and was assured there were none, that #452 had plenty of gas and that no escort was needed. Permission was given and #452 left the formation. It was lost and never located. He is remembered on the memorial wall of the missing in the Manila American Cemetery & Memorial, Philippines. He was awarded the Air Medal and the Purple Heart.