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14 January 1945 | Saipan, Mariana Islands
John Roland Baumann, Jr. was born on 2 April 1916 at Rahway, New Jersey.
Enlisted as a Private in the Army Air Corps on 4 August 1941 at Trenton, New Jersey. Underwent B-29 aircraft transition and combat crew training at Great Bend Army Air Field, Kansas. In September 1944, deployed to the Central Pacific Theatre of Operations and was assigned to 20th Air Force, XXI Bomber Command, 73rd Bomb Wing, 498th Bombardment Group (VH), 874th Bomb Squadron stationed at Isley Field on Saipan in the Mariana Islands. On 14 January 1945, he flew in the left seat as the Airplane Command Pilot aboard a Boeing B-29 Superfortress, Serial #42-24763, nicknamed “Uncle Tom’s Cabin (Second)”, Tail Code: T-Square-34. It was one of 73 aircraft launched in a multi-group formation to bombard the Mitsubishi Heavy Industries and Engine Plant near Nagoya on the main island of Honshu, Japan. Between the I.P. (Initial Point) of the bombing run and the Nagoya target, two of his engines were seen smoking due to 20mm cannon fire from a twin-engine “Irving” Nakajima J1N Gekko fighter plane. His aircraft was last visually sighted approximately 70 miles south of the target area at an altitude of 15,000 feet and at a geographic location of 34 degrees +20 minutes North and 137 degrees +40 minutes East, with a bearing of 180 degrees. Later, the 73rd Bomb Wing Ground Station received an SOS signal from his aircraft squawking a bearing of 90 degrees, off the south tip of Hachijo Shima Island. He was killed when his aircraft was forced to ditch in the ocean approximately 350 kilometers southeast of Nagoya. He was declared KIA one year later.