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Hubert Doyle Wheeler
24 Nov 1944 | Saipan, Mariana Islands
Hubert Doyle Wheeler born 13 July 1922 at Ranger, Texas.
Enlisted in the Army Air Corps on 12 November 1943 at Dallas, Texas. Underwent B-29 aircraft operational training at Pratt 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, 497th Bombardment Group, 870th Bomb Squadron stationed at Isley Field on Saipan in the Mariana Islands.
On 24 November 1944, during the first B-29 raid against Tokyo from the Mariana Islands, he flew as an aerial gunner in one of the scanner blister stations aboard a Boeing B-29 Superfortress nicknamed "Lucky Irish" (Serial # 42-24622) Tail Code A-Square-26.
It was one of 111 aircraft launched in a multi-group formation to bombard the Musashino Aircraft Engine Factory near Tokyo, Honshu, Japan. After the bomb run, just off the coast Choshi, the group was attacked by a band of Nakajima Ki-44 single-engine "Tojo" fighter planes. His B-29 aircraft was struck by one of the Tojo fighters, which was coming under gun-fire from B-29 A-Square-22, shearing off its vertical stabilizer and left elevator. He was killed when his aircraft went into a dive and crashed into the sea approximately 153 kilometers east of Tokyo.