RISHEL, HOWARD L., Staff Sergeant, # 39030988, USAAF


Howard L. Rishel was born on 29 September 1913 in Kansas to Jacob “Jay” Spangler Rishel (1875-1932) and Sally Ann (Moyer) Rishel (1880-1942). Siblings included Ruth Mabel (Rishel) Morris (1901-1990), Eula Mae (Rishel) Coburn (1905-2011), Ethel Vivian (Rishel) (1909-1999), Russell R. Rishel (1911-1990). In 1932 the family lived at 205 South Wahsatch Colorado, Springs, CO.


He enlisted at Fort MacArthur, San Pedro, California, on 26 February 1942, and was trained in the maintenance and operation of the .50 caliber machine guns on the B-29 Superfortress. It is believed he was a waist gunner on this last flight. On 20 August 1944, a B-29, # 42-6330, “Fickle Finger of Fate” assigned to 20th Air Force, 444th Bomb Group, 676th Bomb Squadron (Very Heavy), departed Kwanghan, China, for a bombing mission against the target of the iron works in Yawata, Japan. The B-29 crashed into a cliff near its base in China after the mission and eleven of the crew was killed except for one survivor, SSgt. Belford. The unit earned the Distinguished Unit Citation (ribbon) for the Yawata raid. His remains were recovered and buried in the Evergreen Cemetery, Colorado Springs, Colorado. He was awarded the Air Medal and the Purple Heart.