The 6th Bomb Group

#8. Bataan Avenger


Thanks to Frank Barrella, son of s/Sgt Frank L. Barrella, mechanic on the "Irish Lullaby".

The Airplane

An early picture of the "Bataan Avenger". Photo courtesy of Frank Barrella

The "Bataan Avenger" was 44-69753 and was assigned 1/13/1945 to the 6th BG. [Bob Mann, "The B-29 Superfortress"]   The Boeing workers at Wichita raised the money to build the plane and predicted that it would someday return to Wichita victorious.  [Source: Chester Marshall, "B-29 Superfortress" (1993), p. 112]  On March 13, the aircraft was flipped over in a thermal over Osaka and the crew barely avoided disaster.  By June, the Bataan Avenger was ready to go home.  Chester Marshall, author of "B-29 Superfortress", was a member of the Saipan crew that flew the "Bataan Avenger" back to the United States.  [Source: Chester Marshall, "B-29 Superfortress" (1993), p. 112]

When General Wainwright visited the Wichita Boeing plant after the war, the "Bataan Avenger" was there to greet him.  General Wainwright had commanded the forces on Corregidor and, after he was forced to surrender, his men were forced to walk to the POW camps in the "Bataan Death March".  Source: Chester Marshall, "B-29 Superfortress" (1993), p. 130. Boeing Archives.

The "Bataan Avenger" was salvaged 9/6/1949. [Bob Mann, "The B-29 Superfortress"]

The Air Crew

The crew of the Bataan Avenger was #2403, which included the following individuals:

Cpt Paul E. Jones (Aircraft Commander)
1/Lt Lyle F. Hurd (Pilot)
1/Lt Joseph C. Ellis (Navigator)
1/Lt Donald L. Heming (Bombardier)
M/Sgt Stanley J. Thomson (Engineer)
Pvt Lawrence F. Crossman (Radio)
Sgt Francis L. Wildes, Jr. (Radar)
S/Sgt W. T. Harvey, Jr. (CFC)
S/Sgt Leo F. Dudek (R Gunner)
S/Sgt Gardner H. Williams (L Gunner)
S/Sgt Frank A. Powell (T Gunner)

Capt. Paul E. Jones lines his crew up in front of the "Bataan Avenger", before takeoff.  The "Bataan Avenger" was flipped over on her back during a heat thermal updraft over Osaka on March 13, 1945.  No one was seriously injured.  Source: Chester Marshall, "B-29 Superfortress" (1993), p. 101. Thomas.

Sgt Francis L. Wildes, Jr. (Radar) is the 5th from the left.