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9 January 1945 | Isley Field, Saipan, Mariana Islands
Born Ralph Holmes Taylor on 10 August 1921 in South Carolina. Enlisted as a Private in the Army Air Forces on 16 February 1943 at Fort Jackson near Columbia, South Carolina. Underwent B-29 aircraft transition and combat crew training at Smoky Hill 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, 499th Bombardment Group, 877th Bomb Squadron stationed at Isley Field on Saipan in the Mariana Islands. On 9 January 1945, he flew as an Aerial Gunner in the tail turret station aboard a Boeing B-29 Superfortress nicknamed “Wugged Wascal” (Serial #42-24658) Tail Code: V-Square-3. 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. After the bomb run, his aircraft was last contacted by radio at a geographic location of 25 degrees +30 minutes North and 146 degrees +30minutes East; stating that they were having “operational difficulties.” He was killed when his aircraft was forced to ditch in the ocean approximately 250 miles east of Iwo Jima. The next day a B-17 “Dumbo” search and rescue plane was dispatched to the area, but no wreckage or survivors were ever found. He was declared KIA one year later.