ALSPAUGH, WALTER WINSTON, Technical Sergeant, # 35402887, USAAF
Walter W. Alspaugh was born on 27 April 1914 in Rockford, Mercer Co., Ohio, to Elijah Henry Alspaugh (1877-1950) and Lucy (Robinson) Alspaugh (1877-1939). Siblings included Leah Fern Alspaugh (1896-1897), Thomas Bruce Alspaugh (1899-1965), Heber Harrod Alspaugh (1903-1973), Silas F. Alspaugh (1906-1973), Ina Evelyn (Alspaugh) Raudenbush (1911-2002), and Lynn Melvin Alspaugh (1918-1940). He was married to Elizabeth “Jane” (Borchers) Alspaugh (1918-2001 (married 1940).
After enlistment, he was trained in the maintenance and operation of USAAF radio equipment. When the B-29 Superfortress was brought into service in the war, he was selected for service as a radio operator on a B-29 crew. On 20 August 1944, a B-29, # 42-6264, “O’Reilly’s Daughter,” of 20th Air Force, 468th Bomb Group, 792nd Bomb Squadron, Khargpur AAF, departed Pengshan, China, on a combat mission to bomb the steel works at Yawata, Japan. Last believed to be near the coast of China at 1930 hours. Likely lost due to mechanical difficulty with # 2 and # 3 engines. Lt.Col. Savoie was 792nd Bomb Squadron Commander. The B-29 crashed in the vicinity of Hu-To-Chen, Kiangao Province, China. Just after leaving the target, the # 2 engine began leaking oil and 50 miles from the coast of China, the # 2 engine ran away and could not be feathered. A fire came out of # 2 engine and reached to the tail position was extinguished. The B-29 lost altitude to 12,000 feet and the # 2 propellar went out of control again. The bail out order was given. Everyone in the tail bailed out; no one saw the tail gunner bail out but, it is assumed he did. Up front, the bombardier, Capt. Wedel, the radar operator, TSgt Beckham, bailed out, but the remaining six crewmen stayed to try for land. Just after reaching land, the # 3 engine ran away but was feathered. Fire began in # 2 again, which made it necessary to abandon the aircraft. The remaining crew bailed out at about 7,000 feet. TSgt Alspaugh is remembered on the memorial at the Manila American Cemetery and Memorial, Philippines. The family placed a memorial marker in the Riverside Cemetery, Rockford, Ohio. He was awarded the Air Medal and the Purple Heart.