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 crew:
Pilot Lt.Col. William F. Savoie 0-24115 RTD
Co-Pilot 1stLt Raymond K. Lutz 0-464590 RTD
Navigator Capt. D. G. O’Brien (prom. to Major) 0-426919 RTD
Bombardier Capt. L. K. Wedel 0-726095 MIA/DED
Flight Engineer 1stLt Casimer F. Stelmach 0-738739 RTD
Senior Gunner SSgt Ernest John Brundage 31258095 RTD
Radio Operator TSgt Walter W. Alspaugh 35402887 MIA/DED
Radar Operator TSgt William A. Beckham 20403054 MIA/DED
Left Gunner SSgt J. P. Meehan 35309815 POW/EUS
Right Gunner SSgt Granville L. Adams 33522614 MIA/DED
Tail Gunner TSgt Rollin B. Heffernan 6999780 MIA/DED
RCM 1stLt Robert C. Geyer 0-855161 MIA/DED
Added to end of MACR: Due to darkness, it was impossible to see the missing men after they bailed out. It is not known whether their parachutes opened or not. The missing men bailed out over the China Sea at an altitude of 7,500 feet.
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 # 2engine 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. They later learned that SSgt Meehan, who was one of the last to jump, had been captured by enemy sympathizers and turned over to the Japanese. The B-29 crashed about 150 miles North of Shanghai, China, and about 40 miles West of the coast of China.