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  B-29-20-MO "The Life of Riley" Serial Number 42-65241  
USAAF
20th AF
504th BG
398th BS

Aircraft Commander  Maj. Jack B. Riley, O-393200 (MIA / KIA) Santa Monica, CA
Co-Pilot  Lt. William G. "Billy" Weber, O-813621 (MIA / KIA) GA
Bombardier  Lt. J.G. Kelly, O-667303 (MIA / KIA) Chicago, IL
Navigator  Capt. Walter W. Homer, O-432164 (MIA / KIA) NB
Engineer  Lt. Ralph E. Worthington, O-864101 (MIA / KIA) Hobart, IN
Right Gunner  Cpl. Alfred J. English, 34674889 (MIA / KIA) Rocky Mount, NC
Radio  Sgt. William R. Bass, 18180265 (MIA / KIA) Denison, TX
Left Gunner  Cpl. James J. Dannaher, 11095138 (MIA / KIA) Hartford, CT
Central Fire Control  Sgt. Carl J. Trulove, 39387393 (MIA / KIA) Albany, OR
Tail Gunner  Cpl George R. Ellis, 42103564 (MIA / KIA) NJ

Crashed  March 24, 1945
MACR  13380

Aircraft History
Built by Boeing. Assigned to the 20th Air Force, 504th Bombardment Group, 398th Bombardment Squadron. Assigned to Riley. Nicknamed "The Life of Riley" after commanding officer Lt. Col. Jack Riley in Kansas prior to ferrying the bomber overseas to Tinian. When lost engines R-3350-23A serial numbers 42-121127, DW-201554, DW-202029 and DW-201726.

Mission History
Took off from North Field (Runway No. 1) on Tinian on a bombing mission over Nagoya. After dropping their bombs, the B-29 reported by radio their position to be 28 miles southeast of Guguan with "engine on fire" and "we'll keep you informed". The radio message was heard by another B-29 and a ground station on Tinian.

Search
After being reported missing, the 313th Bomb Wing's Air & Sea Rescue searched for this B-29, without result.

Memorials
The entire crew was officially declared dead the day of the mission. All are memorialized on the tablets of the missing at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific (Punchbowl).

Relatives
Kenneth Moore (nephew of Weber)
Patricia Lane (widow of Weber)

References
Moores Marauders "Finding The Life of Riley"  claims this bomber was on a solo top secret mission to bomb Pagan Airfield. During 1998, Moore traveled to Alamagan Island and reportedly found a seat, several radios, a Browning M-2 50-caliber machine gun and a Gibson Girl were found underwater in the lagoon. According to this webpage, the weapon serial numbers were illegible, but six of the eight serial numbers off the radios were legible. So too were those on one of the engines.

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Last Updated
February 4, 2018

 

Tech Info
B-29
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