The following narrative is from the 16th Bomb Group History for September, 1945:

On the same day as the "show of force" mission over Tokyo, the 16th Group suffered the loss of 10 of its members in an aircraft accident. They were on a mission to drop supplies to a Prisoner of War camp in Osaka.

The aircraft, commanded by First Lieutenance George R. Hutchison, took off for the flight early in the morning. It carried as passenger Captain James O. Clark, 16th Squadron S-2 Officer, and Captain Lewis P. Town, 15th Squadron Engineering Officer.

A few hours after take-off, the crew called the tower at Northwest Field and said the aircraft had developed mechanical difficulties which were not explained. Lieutenance Hutchinson had decided to return to base and land.

The aircraft circled the field for a few hours to use up gasoline and lighten its load. Finally it came in for what at first seemed to be a normal landing. But at the last moment, it swerved, hit a wingtip on a tree and burst into flames.

The only members of the crew who were saved were two gunners - Sergeant Davis R. Flynt, Jr., and Corporal James A. Humbird. The aircraft broke into two parts and they were able to get out of the tail section.

The dead included: Lieutenant Hutchison, Airplane Commander; First Lieutenant Carl W. Strait, Pilot; First Lieutenant Lester R. Nahouse, Navigator; Second Lieutenant William E. Bradley, Jr., Bombardier; Second Lieutenant Robert H. Yost, Radar Operator; Flight Officer Thomas G. Passarello, Flight Engineer; Sergeant Leonard Steveson, Radio Operator and Sergeant Melvin E. Berkey, Gunner.

The funeral was held the following day in the Group briefing room and both the Catholic Chaplain, Captain Bernard J. Gannon, and the Protestant Chaplain, Captain Donald W. Zimmerman, officiated. Following the services, the bodies were interred in a Marine Corps cemetery South of Agana.

WDAAF Form No. 14, Army Air Forces Report of Major Accident, submitted by Hq. 16th Bomb Gp., on AC 44-84077, which crashed 1 September 1945.
NOTE: This form shows the aircraft accident occuring 012332Z; which translates to 11:32 pm Greenwich Mean Time (GMT), September 1, 1945. The local time zone in Guam is ahead of GMT by several hours which would have made it sometime during the day on the 2nd of September in Guam.

A final report for the POW mission shows;
Flown: 2 September 1945
Mission: Per TWX AOMCR 5002. dated 010050Z
1. Group: 16th
2. Area: Kobe-Osaka
3. Total a/c airborne: 1 (41V536)
4.Total packages airborne: 34.
5. Camp & Package Informatino:       A. Briefed as camp #15, Kobe-Osaka Area, town of Maizura (35 28 45N 135 22 30E).
            1. No a/c dropping: 0
            2. No & type packages dropped: 0
            3. Time of drop: Not pertinent.
            4. Altitude: Not pertinent.
            5. Air Speed: Not pertinent
            6. Length of run: Not pertinent.
            7. Wind and clouds: Not pertinent.
            8. Time of takeoff: 011946Z
            9. Time of reutrn: Crashed on landing at 012332Z.
            10. Observations: Not pertinent.
6. Packages jettisoned: None
7. Packages returned: 34 (crashed and burned with a/c upon landing)
8. No a/c failing to drop: 1 (41V536) abort and crashed on landing---reason unknown.
9. No a/c lost: 1 (41V536) Abort and crashed on landing---reason unknown.
10. Remarks: None
NOTE: Each bomb group had a Victor designator. For instance, this aircraft was 41V536. V536 was the 16th Bomb Group.

Webpage by Larry Miller
September 1, 2011