He completed flight training and was rated for multi-engine aircraft. He earned his commission and pilot wings, ass igned to fly the B-29 Superfortress. On 29 July 1944, a B-29, # 42-6274, “Lady Hamilton II,” of the 20th Air Force, 468th Bomb Group, 795th Bomb Squadron, departed Pengshan, China, on a combat mission to bomb the enemy steel works at Anshan, Manchuria. The B-29 was last seen and contacted by radio at about 0225 Zulu near Chiensien, China. Enemy fighters fired on it and they were hit by anti-aircraft fire. An elevator was lost and three engines were damaged. The bail out order was made at about 15,000 feet.  The B-29 was seen to crash. The B-29 had developed engine trouble 3 ½ hours out and # 2 had to be feathered. Fighter attacks ruined the oil system, caused damage to the central fire control system, two propellars were shot off, and three turrets were inoperative. They were informed at a temple, by the Chinese, that 3 crewmen, Capt. Mills, Sgt Walker and Sgt Wherle, were dead. His remains first buried in the National Cemetery of the Pacific (Mausoleum # 2), Hawaii, then removed and were buried in the Little Rock National Cemetery, Little Rock, Arkansas, on 21 December 1948 (Sec. 21, Grave 7490).

WEHRLE, RICHARD F., Sergeant, # 36427681, USAAF

 

Richard F. Wehrle was born to Frank Baptist Wehrle (1887-1980) and Mathilda (Eggen) Wehrle (1889-1947) (married in 1918). A sister was Sylvia Louise (Wehrle) Stafford (1909-2002). He was married to Harriet V. (Scheffel) Wehrle (1921-2002) (married 14 June 1941), who in 1942 lived at 2201 Humbert St., Alton, Illinois.

 

He enlisted in Peoria, Illinois, on 25 September 1942. He was traimed in the maintenance and operation of the radar equipment on the B-29 Superfortress and earned his crewman wings. On 29 July 1944, a B-29, # 42-6274, “Lady Hamilton II,” of the 20th Air Force, 468th Bomb Group, 795th Bomb Squadron, departed Pengshan, China, on a combat mission to bomb the enemy steel works at Anshan, Manchuria. The B-29 was last seen and contacted by radio at about 0225 Zulu near Chiensien, China. Enemy fighters fired on it and they were hit by anti-aircraft fire. An elevator was lost and three engines were damaged. The bail out order was made at about 15,000 feet.  The B-29 was seen to crash. The B-29 had developed engine trouble 3 ½ hours out and # 2 had to be feathered. Fighter attacks ruined the oil system, caused damage to the central fire control system, two propellars were shot off, and three turrets were inoperative. They were informed at a temple, by the Chinese, that 3 crewmen, Capt. Mills, Sgt Walker and Sgt Wherle, were dead. He is remembered on the Manila American Cemetery & Memorial. The family placed a marker in the Oakwood Cemetery, Alton Madison Co. Illinois. He was awarded an Air Medal and the Purple Heart.