24 Nov 1944 — Saipan, Mariana Islands
Sam Powell Wagner born 1 May 1918 in Charleston, Tallahatchie County, Mississippi.
Graduated with the United States Military Academy Class of 1942 at West Point, New York and was commissioned a 2nd Lieutenant in the Army Air Corps. 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 Marianas, he flew in the left seat as the Airplane Command Pilot 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 of 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.