Crash map re 42 6359 - B-29

JOHNSON, GILBERT E., Captain, # 0-725307, USAAF


Gilbert E. Johnson was born in 1920 in Bakersfield, Kern Co., California, to Ernest S. Johnson (1897-1982) (Crockett, TX) and Elsie R. (Adams) Johnson (1898-1982) (CO). Siblings included Ralph Ira Johnson (1921-1989) and Barbara J. Johnson (1925-    ). In 1940 his father worked in the oil wells around Bakersfield. He completed two years of college. In 1962, 1969, 1973 & 1974, his widowed mother lived at 2331 Dracena St., Bakersfield. He was married to Hild E. Johnson, who lived at 901 Brundage Lane, Bakersfield (1943).


He enlisted in the USAAF as an aviation cadet (Enlisted service # 19062089) in Los Angeles, California, on 4 November 1941. He completed basic and advanced flight school and was assigned to the B-29 Superfortress. He earned his commission and wings. He was sent overseas to 20th Air Force in India then to an advance airfield in China. 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. 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. He is remembered on the memorial wall of missing in action at the Manila American Cemetery & Memorial, Philippines. He was awarded the Air Medal and the Purple Heart.