On 21 November 1944, a B-29, # 42-6278, “Acid Test,” of the 20th Air Force, 462nd Bomb Group, 770th Bomb Squadron, Piardoba, India, departed the airfield at Kuinglai, China, on a bombing mission to Omura, Japan. It was fired upon by enemy aircraft over the target aircraft assembly plant at Omura, Japan, at about 0802 hours. The crew were:
Pilot Capt Joseph P. Killebrew 0-433537 KIA
Co-Pilot 1stLt Paul R. Meeks 0-808875 “
Navigator 1stLt Emsley M. Eggers 0-735182 “
Bombardier 2ndLt Spirito C. Ovial 0-684656 “
Flight Engineer 1stLt Earl Heins 0-861307 “
Radio – Gunner SSgt John Normand Jr. 35582790 “
Senior Gunner SSgt Edward C. Morrow 14134422 “
Right Gunner SSgt Gail Cornelius 38179566 “
Left Gunner SSgt Vincent W. Sheridan 32450753 “
Tail Gunner SSgt Luther M. Young 17075593 “
Radar Sgt Gordon E. Chard 16175948 “
The B-29 was last sighted by Lt.Col. Robert B. Sullivan, 0-25321, Capt. Gilbert E. Johnson, 0-725307, and Capt. Albert Abranovic, 0-426468.
Capt. Abranovic reported that they had just left the target and were making a right turn when a B-29 was reported spinning to the ground from an altitude of about 22,000 feet. Nor fire or smoke or engine failure was visible at the distance of 2 miles. Gunners reported no parachutes while it was in sight, not more than 3,000 feet above the small island we expected it to crash upon.
Lt.Col. Sullivan reported that B-29 #278 was out of control and entered a spin after a fighter attack over Omura, Japan, at about 0800 IST. It passed under his B-29.
Capt. Johnson reported that the flight of nine B-29s was over the target. B-29 # 278 was flying the # 2 position in the lead element and he was leading the D, or high, element in B-29, # 42-6359. A Japanese fighter, a “Hap” or a “Zeke” made a pass at # 278 from 3 o’clock slightly high. Right afterwards, #278 went out of control, turning to the left and nearly colliding with # 389. He saw the B-29 to their left going down in a vertical spin to the right. His gunners reported the B-29 still spinning at about 5,000 feet below them before sight of it was lost. No parachutes were seen.