JOHNSON, EDWIN RILEY, First Lieutenant, # 0-394452, USAAF
Edwin R. Johnson was born on 27 November 1915 in South Carolina to William P. Johnson (1886- ) and Florene E. “Nellie” (Riley) Johnson (1904- ). In 1942, he was married to Marjorie Virginia (Ketchum) Johnson (1921-2013) and they had a daughter. A resident of Paw Creek, North Carolina, he graduated from NorhCarolina State University with a B.S. in aeronautical engineering in 1941 (Monogram Club; Wrestling; R.O.T.C. and Order of the Rail).
After enlisting, he was trained extensively in the maintenance and function of all aspects of the electrical and mechanical systems of the B-29 Superfortress. He earned his commission and wings. In flight, as flight enfineer, he monitored an extensive array of dials, sensors and switches to manage the systems aboards. He was sent overseas to the 20thAir Force and moved to an advance airfield in China. He and his crew departed for assignment to 20th Air Force in India on 10 April 1944 and to the advance airfield in China 19 April 1944. In addition to flying “the Hump,” the 468th Bomb Group B-29 aircraft bombed the enemy in Bangkok, (Siam) Thailand 5 June 1944, mined enemy shipping lanes near Saigon (French Indochina – Annam), Vietnam, and bombed enemy targets in Burma, Siam, Annam, Shanghai, China, Formosa (Taiwan) and Japan. The 468th Bomb Group received a Distinguished Unit Citation for its bombing raid on 11 August 1944 of the iron/steel works, Yawata, Japan. B-29 # 42-6362 flew 27 bombing missions before her last before her last on 21 November 1944. B-29, 42-6362, made a heavy-weight take-off at night without landing lights. Airborne, it climbed to about 200 feet, and slowly descended until almost out of sight from the ATC tower. It then made a sudden climbing turn to the left, climbed to about 300 feet, then made a diving turn into the ground. It burst into flames when it crashed. The tail gunner was able to escape through his hatch and suffered third degree burns on his scalp and hands. All others were killed. Investigation revealed the B-29 had flown into four trees which were about 35 feet high. After recovery from China, his remains were buried in the Rosemont Cemetery, Union, Union Co., South Carolina.
CHRISTIE, JAMES GRAHAM, First Lieutenant, # 0-580617, USAAF
James G. Christie was born on 25 December 1920 in Bridgeport, Connecticut, to Earle Mortimer Christie (1887-1968) (NJ) and Helen Esther (Fitzpatrick) Christie (1891-1970). His sibling was Joan Helen (Christie) Schmaling (1922-1997). In 1941 he was a freshman in the University of Connecticut, Storrs, Connecticut.
Edwin R. Johnson, North Carolina State Univ.,