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9 January 1945 | Saipan, M.I.
Born John Joseph Charters in 1917 at Wisconsin. Enlisted as an Aviation Cadet in the Army Air Corps on 31 December 1940 at Chicago, Illinois. Completed primary flight training and was commissioned a 2nd Lieutenant. Assigned to 11th Bombardment Group (Heavy) at Hickam Field, Hawaii. Flew B-17 aircraft while stationed at Henderson Field on Guadalcanal in the Solomon Islands. Assigned to 19th Bombardment Group and underwent B-29 aircraft transition and combat crew training at Great Bend Army Air Field, Kansas. Deployed to the Central Pacific Theatre of Operations and was assigned to 20th Air Force, XXI Bomber Command, 73rd Bomb Wing, 500th Bombardment Group (Very Heavy), 883rd Bomb Squadron stationed at Isley Field on Saipan in the Mariana Islands. On 9 January 1945, he flew as the Airplane Command Pilot aboard a Boeing B-29 Superfortress, nicknamed “Mustn't Touch” (Serial #42-24657) Tail Code Z-Square-45. It was one of 72 aircraft launched in a multi-group formation to bombard the Musashino Aircraft Works and Nakajima Aircraft Engine Factory near Tokyo, Japan. However shortly after take-off, his aircraft developed mechanical problems. During climb-out the #1 engine was leaking oil and puffs of black smoke were coming from the #4 engine. At 16,000 feet his aircraft feathered the #1 engine propeller and began to abort the sortie. Last visual contact was at a geographic location of 28 degrees +10 minutes North and 137 degrees +30 minutes East. Last radio contact stated they had lost an engine and were going to ditch. No survivors were ever found, and he was declared killed in action one year later.