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24 May 1945 | Tokyo Bay, Japan
Born John F. Slater in 1920 at Michigan to parents John Arthur Slater and Belle Norton Finlay (who were married circa 8 May 1913* in Saint Louis, MO).
Enlisted in the Army Air Corps on 6 November 1942 at Camp Shelby near Hattiesburg, Mississippi. Underwent B-29 aircraft transition and combat crew training at Herington Air Field, Kansas. Deployed from Hamilton Field, California to the Central Pacific Theatre of Operations and was assigned to 20th Air Force, XXI Bomber Command, 73rd Bomb Wing, 500th Bombardment Group (VH), 881st Bomb Squadron stationed at Isley Field on Saipan in the Mariana Islands. During the night of 23-24 May 1945, he flew as an Aerial Gunner in the port blister station aboard a Boeing B-29 Superfortress, Tail Code: Z-Square-7 (serial #42-63486). It was one of 520 aircraft launched in multi-wing group formations to bombard the urban-industrial area south of the Imperial Palace in Tokyo, Japan. After bombs away, the plane’s right wing was set afire by flak from anti-aircraft artillery. While departing the target area, the plane was hit with flak in the rear fuselage that destroyed all the flight controls including the intercom. During aircrew bail-out, the plane exploded in mid-air and fell into Tokyo Bay. He was declared KIA on 24 May 1945.