SMITH, JAMES WINTON, First Lieutenant, # 0-748040, USAAF
James W. Smith was born on 24 November 1915 in Grand Junction, Colorado, to Roger Stewart Smith (1893- ) (Grand Junction, CO) and Josephine D. (Knight) Smith (1894- ) (IL) (married 15 April 1915 in Montrose, CO). A brother is Payton H. Smith (1922- ). . In 1930 his father was a stockyard foreman. In 1942, the family lived at 7-East Eaton Ave., Tracy, California, and his father worked for the Holly Sugar Corp., Livestock Dept. His next-of-kin included his wife, Georgia N. Smith, Hamilton City, California.
He registered for the WW II draft on 16 October 1940, employed by Holly Sugar Corp., and described himself as 5’7”, 130 lbs, with brown hair and eyes. On registration, he resided in Alvarado, Alameda Co., California. After enlisting, he was trained as a flight engineer on the B-29 Superfor-tress. As the aircraft engineer, he had in-depth knowledge of the mechanical and electrical systems of the B-29. In flight, he monitored and controlled an array of sensors, switches and dials monitoring the electrical system, oil flow (& hydraulic) and fuel flow on the B-29. He was sent overseas to 20th Air Force. On 7 December 1944, a B-29, # 42-6389, “Party Girl,” assigned to 20th Air Force, 468th Bomb Group, 792nd Bomb Squadron, departed the airfield at Pengshan, China, on a bombing mission of the steel works at Mukden, Manchuria. 2ndLt Sybesma was the co-pilot. B-29 42-6389 bombed its target and was on the return leg of its flight to the airfield near Nancheng, about 1 ½ hours out of Pengshan. The formation leader advised 42-6389 to descend and the B-29 was last seen making a 180º turn to its left to begin the descent procedure. It encountered icing conditions and climbed. It crashed soon afterwards. Cheng Queng Lih, village leader, and Shen Fo Chen said that at about 1800 hours, 7 December 1944, a loud explosion was heard and there was a fire atop Mt. Hawo. On 8 December, the villagers climbed to the South side of Mt. Hawo, where the crash site was on an almost vertical side. They reached the wreckage after a climb on 10 December at 1200 hours. Found part of tail section that was olive drab. The wreckage burned after the crash. They found the bombardiers manual in a tree. Ten bodies were found and buried there. The bombardier’s manual had name: 1stLt Bugher, John A. (spelling blurred). He was a crewman of 42-6389. The loading list included 1stLt Calvin L. Lyons, 1stLt Waldo R. Schneider, 1stLt James W. Smith, 1stLt John A. Bugher, 2ndLt Lawrence Syresma, SSgt Newman Borhart, SSgt Joseph Micchiche, SSgt William R. Jackson, SSgt Sisto A. Algieri, SSgt Laurence A. Fink and SSgt Russell W. Peters. After recovery of his remains from China, he was buried in the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific, Hawaii (Sec. B, Grave 1252).