He registered for the WW II draft in 1940 and described himself as 5’11”, 173 lbs, with Brown hair and blue eyes. After enlisting, he was selected to be trained in the maintenance and operation of the radio equipment on the B-29 Superfortress. He earned his crewman wings. On 27 December 1944, a B-29, # 42-6343, assigned to 20th Air Force, 444th Bomb Group, 678th Bomb Squadron, departed the airfield at Dudhkundi, India, on a ferrying mission to Kwaghan, China. The B-29 was lost at about 0315 Zulu. Over Kwanghan at 13,000 feet altitude, 42-6343 was cleared to decend and to report its position every 2,000 feet. At 0310 Zulu, 42-6343 reported southeast of the airfield at 11,000 feet. The tower received no further contact. Chinese troops reported a crash about 25 miles northeast of the airfield. Air searches did not find it. A foot search early on 28 December 1944 located the crash at about the same position as the Chinese report. Chinese witnesses said the B-29 was spinning. It crashed in a small Chinese compound at the foot of a steep cliff. The B-29 was totally demolished and incendiary bombs exploded. The tail section was found ½ mile away. The remainder of the wreckage was in a small area. Nine bodies were recovered burned beyond recognition. Nothing could be found of the two other crewmen. Major Merrill F. Patrick, Operations Officer, 678th Bomb Squadron, speculated that the B-29 spun in from about 11,000 feet, the reason was unknown. The pilot had reported icing and mechanical problems may have distracted the pilot from IFR flight. The tail section separated in the tight spin. Six Chinese, three cows and one pig were killed on the ground. The highest elevation in the vicinity was less than 4,000 feet. The elevation at the crash scene was 2,500 feet, measured by an L-5 Sentinel. After recovery of unidentifiable remains in China and retrieval from burial in Hawaii, there was a two-casket group burial of the remains of much of the crew in the Keokuk National Cemetery, Keokuk, Lee Co., Iowa, on 16 August 1949 (Sec. D, Graves 81-82). After his remains were recovered from Japan, the remains were buried in the Chevra Bikur Cholim Cemetery, Phildelphia, Pennsylvania (Sec. 372, Grave 1).

 

His brother, Albert Rhode, born on 29 September 1917, enlisted (service # 506114) in the U.S. Coast Guard 9 January 1942 and was honorably discharged 9 Februar 1946. He died 5 December 1963. His wife, Esther (Finn) Rhode (1921-2000) survived his passing.

REED, FRANK WILLIAM, Sergeant, # 17145354, USAAF

 

Frank W. Reed was born on 24 March 1924 in Vici, Oklahoma to George Hevilin Reed (1898-1974) (born Lynn, MO) and Grace Marie (Williams) Reed (1897-1982) (married 3 September 1919, Woodward, Oklahoma). Siblings included Freida Pearl Reed (1921-2013), Jack Hevilin Reed (1927-2003) and a brother who died in infancy in 1920. He graduated from Colorado College, Colorado Springs, CO, in 1943.

 

He registered for the WW II draft in 1942 whie employed by F.J. Kirchhoy Air Base Support Command and described himself as 6’1”, 173 lbs, with brown hair and eyes. After enlisting, he was trained in the maintenance and operation of the .50 caliber machineguns on the B-29 Superfortress. He earned his crewman wings. On the day he died, he was assigned as the senior gunner in the fire control center, center compartment, of the B-29. On 27 December 1944, a B-29, # 42-6343, assigned to 20th Air Force, 444th Bomb Group, 678th Bomb Squadron, departed the airfield at Dudhkundi, India, on a ferrying mission to Kwaghan, China. The B-29 was lost at about 0315 Zulu. Over Kwanghan at 13,000 feet altitude, 42-6343 was cleared to decend and to report its position every 2,000 feet. At 0310 Zulu, 42-6343 reported southeast of the airfield at 11,000 feet. The tower received no further contact. Chinese troops reported a crash about 25 miles northeast of the airfield. Air searches did not find it. A foot search early on 28 December 1944 located the crash at about the same position as the Chinese report. Chinese witnesses said the B-29 was spinning. It crashed in a small Chinese compound at the foot of a steep cliff.