On 7 December 1944, B-29, # 42-6299, “Humpin’ Honey,” of 20th Air Force, Pardoba India, 462nd Bomb Group, 770th Bomb Squadro, departed the airfield at Kuinglai, China, on a bombing mission to Mukden, Manchuria. Over the target, at 0122 Zulu, an enemy aircraft crashed head-long into the B-29, killing all but two of the crew on board (MACR 10125). The crew were:
Pilot 1stLt Aurelius M. Colby 0-684282
Co-Pilot 1stLt Frank R. O’Donnell 0-808885
Navigator 2ndLt Joseph B. Kremer 0-811671
Bombardier 1stLt Mark R. Cleland 0-73820
Engineer 1stLt Charles H. Krueger 0-860702
Radio Sgt Raoul Zavala 39274088
Radar Sgt Herbert H. Roth 15353855
Senior Gunner Sgt Charles W. Ruddy 12120545
Right Gunner SSgt Kenneth A. Beckwith 31154891 POW/EUS
Left Gunner SSgt Walter E. Huss 35538620 POW/EUS
Tail Gunner TSgt Kenneth B. Gwaltney 13003838
Radio message from B-29s of another group: Aircraft # 299 was crashed head-on into by an enemy fighter. Aircraft # 299 went into a spin and crashed burning. One parachute was scene.
SSgt Beckwith reported that the first unusual condition that was noticed in the B-29 was the disappearance of about 20 feet of the left wing. The B-29 seemed to fly straight and level for a while then started to spin to the left. SSgt Huss, Sgt Ruddy and Beckwith prepared to leave the gunners compartment to bail out. During this, Beckwith called on the interphone to the pilot to inform him of the damage to the left wing. There was no acknowledgment or answer. After the spin began, the alarm bell started to ring. Before he was able to completely fasten his parachute, he passed out from lack of oxygen. Before, he passed out, Sgt Ruddy entered the radar compartment. When Beckwith regained consciousness, he was out of the B-29 in a free fall at about 4,000 feet altitude. Only his arms were through the parachute straps, not his legs. He did not believe he had time to fasten the chest and leg straps so he pulled the rip cord and stayed with the parachute. After the parachute opened, he noticed that parts of the B-29 falling around him. He believes he saw the tail section hit the ground. They landed near a Japanese guard house, so did not have any chance to practice escape and evasion. Signed, TSgt Kenneth A. Beckwith, Rte 1, Skowhegan, Maine.
Beckwith believed Ruddy did not gt out of the radar compartment and may have passed out from lack of oxygen.
SSgt Huss wrote that he believed he and Beckwith were the only survivors. Neither knew how they got out of the B-29. They thought the B-29 exploded or broke open at the blister section; the fire control room, where they were. During his interrogation by the enemy, he was told that a badly injured crew member had been shot.