On 7 December 1944, B-29 Superfortress # 42-6359, “Vixen,” assigned to 20th Air Force at Piardoba, India, 462nd Bomb Group, 770th Bomb Squadron (Very Heavy), departed its forward airfield at Kuinglai, China, on a mission to bomb the aircraft construction and iron works at Mukden, Manchuria (China). Weather conditions were bad and visibility poor, requiring IFR flight rules throughout the mission. At about 0422 hours Zulu, it was last seen near Sianfu, China, low on fuel at last contact. Its crew were:
Pilot Capt. Gilbert E. Johnson 0-725307
Co-Pilot 2Lt Eldon J. Campbell 0-808850
Navigator 1Lt Alton J. Laumann 0-11011209
Bombardier 2Lt Franklin C. Sherman 0-673820
Flight Engineer 2Lt Smith L. Williams Jr. 0-557347
Radio Operator Sgt John F. Jones 12170327
Radar Observer 2Lt Leonard Lichard 0-863015
Command Gunner Sgt George F. Corton 15130428
Right Waist Gunner Sgt George M. Peacock 16086732
Left Waist Gunner Sgt Roland C. Diorio 32624821
Tail Gunner Cpl Robert L. Ziegler 16155741
The witness who last saw 42-6359: Capt. Harold R. Ebbeler, 0-367116. He reported that his B-29 and 42-6359 was in the same element on the mission. He heard Capt. Johnson call the lead aircraft and state he was going to have to land at an airfield enroute and refuel. 42-359 stayed in formation as it entered overcast. The aircraft lost visual contact with one another and had to fly IFR. It was in the area of the Tsinglung Range and the Wie Ho River. There was no further contact with 42-6359.
Next-of-kin were listed as:
Capt Johnson 0-725307 Mrs Hilda E Johnson, W, 901 Brundage Lane, Bakersfield, CA
2Lt Williams Jr. 0-557347 Mrs Annebelle Williams, W, 1264 So. Hicks, Los Angeles, CA
2Lt Campbell 0-808950 Mr Monroe Campbell, F, Hunter, OK
1Lt Laumann 0-101909 Mr Joseph Laumann Jr., F, Cologne, Minn.
2Lt Lichard 0-763015 Mrs Elsie Lichard, M, 854 No. Christiana Ave, Chicago, IL
2Lt Sherman 0-673820 Mrs Iris A Sherman, W, 410 Congress St., Denton, TX
Sgt Diorio 32624821 Mrs Eliza Diorio, M, 2114 Glebe St., Bronx, NY
Sgt Peacock 16806732 Mrs Frances A. Peacock, M, 1516 Gull St., North Kalamazoo, Mich.
Sgt Jones 12170327 Mr. Ellsworth Jones, F, 17 Elm St., Glena Falls, NY
Sgt Corton 15130428 Mr. Frank S. Corton, F, 10200 Edgepark Drv, Garfield Heights, OH
Cpl Ziegler 16155741 Mrs. Hazel Huhrt, M, 2664 S. Burrell St., Milwaukee, Wisc.