World War II Flight Training Museum and
63rd AAF Flying Training Detachment

Douglas, Georgia

Jack A. Kutchera


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Jack A. Kutchera

Pacific Theater

S/N: O-806699 (?)

Rank: 1st Lieutenant (2nd Lt. at time of being shot down).

Wife: Irma A. Kutchera of Milwaukee, WI.

Of Peruaukee, WI.

Died: Feb. 19, 1945

Buried with 8 other members of the crew at Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery
Saint Louis, MO (See Find-A-Grave)

 

He was in Squadron F at Douglas. He had Basic at Shaw Field.

He was in the 500th Bomb Gp, 882nd Bomb Sqdn. On Feb. 19, 1945, he was co-pilot on a B-29 (S/N: 43-63494) with a crew of 11 on a bombing mission on Tokyo. The plane was attacked by fighters, and some of the crew bailed out. Kutchera was MIA but eventually declared dead. Below is a statement by Melvin L. Johnston, a radar operator on the flight:

On 19 Feb 1945 while on a bombardment mission to Tokyo, our aircraft, a B-29, was attacked by Japanese fighters which, on the first pass, set fire to our bomb bay tanks. Further attacks shot our upper forward turret out of operation, severed our controls to the tail of the plane, released our pressure in the cabin and sent explosive bullets into other parts of our plane. At that time, Sgt. Harry McGrath was wounded and came to my compartment for treatment. At that moment the alarm bell rang and I opened the escape doors. Returning to the compartment the interphone was apparently dead. By that time the plane was going down and apparently no member of the crew was seriously injured. Sgt. McGrath had a flesh wound in the leg. Sgt. Harry Tompson and Sgt. Eugene Gilbreath were without injury. Our plane was full of smoke but as Sgt. McGrath and I bailed out, the other gunners appeared to be coming to the escape door. We have never seen any of the other crew members since then. A Japanese interpreter told me that the plane crashed in the suburbs of Tokyo with all the other members aboard. However, I believe there is little truth in this statement.

I have seen and talked to nearly all B-29 men who survived the period of solitary confinement and none ever heard of our crew members.

Signed Melvin L. Johnston

16025342 AAC Proj R.

Source: MACR (Missing Air Crew Report): #12250

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