When he and Beckwith were liberated, they found a box of flier’s clothing, including the Mackinaw and winter flying boots that Gwaltney was wearing. Both bore Gwalney’s name plate, which probably indicates the enemy may have found and disposed of his body. Other item was the back parachute that belonged to Sgt Roth as he found Roth’s record card in the same box. Sgt. Beckwith was captured and a POW of the Japanese until liberated. He died 13 February 1988 in San Bernardino County, California. Buried in the Riverside National Cemetery, Riverside, California, his marker reads: “MSGT U.S. AIR FORCE WORLD WAR II, KOREA” (Sec 19a, Site 160).
His brother, Philip W. Beckwith, born 5 June 1917, served as a Sergeant in the USAAF during WW II. He died 15 June 2006 and is buried in the Southside Cemetery, Skowhegan, Somerset Co., Maine. He was married to Bernice (Patterson) Beckwith (1918-2007).
His uncle, LeRoy S. Beckwith, born 26 June 1896, Mapleton, ME, served in the U.S. Army (# 4190038) a Private, during WW I, in the Tank Corps, from 28 August 1918 to 16 April 1919. He served overseas from 20 October 1918 to 17 March 1919. He died 12 March 1951 and is buried in the Southside Cemetery, Skowhegan, ME. He was married to Marion E. (Tisdale) Beckwith (1904-1940).
HUSS, WALTER EUGENE, Staff Sergeant, # 35538620, USAAF
Walter E. “Walt” Huss was born on 7 May 1923 in Sandusky Co., Ohio, to Floyd Eugene Huss (1896-1953) and Alma May (Hasselbach) Huss (1900-1975) (married 1922). Siblings included Jane Margaret (Huss) Carper (1926-2009) and Alberta M. (Huss) McCormick (1930-1995). In 1930, Alma’s mother, Emma Alberta (Kaiser) Hasselbach (1874-1958), widow of Edward I. Hasselbach (1874-1940), lived with them. He “rarely missed public salutes to veterans and was present [in May 2014] at Santa Rosa’s ‘Avenue of the Flags’ Memorial Day Observance.” (The Press Democrat, 27 June, 2014). After recovering his health after liberation from the POW camp, he visited each crewmen family. After his return, in Ohio in 1946, he married Eleanor, a young woman he met and fallen for before being sent overseas. They are survived by 2 daughters.
He enlisted in the USAAF in Toledo, Ohio, on 26 December 1942. He trained in the maintenance and operation of the .50 caliber machineguns on the B-29 Superfortress. He was the left waist gunner on 7 December 1944. 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). 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.