CAPTAIN Richard Edward Paquette 0-434416
Aircraft Commander of B-29 #42-65362; Aircraft Crew P-52
62nd Bomber Squadron, 39th Bomber Group, Very Heavy U.S. Army Air Force during World War II
Richard Edward Paquette was born on 29 Jan 1919 and baptized at St Joseph church on 2 Feb 1919, the son of Frank Paquette and Edna Duell (Edmire Dupuis), who had 6 children.
1937 - He graduated from Burlington High School.
29 May 1939 - Richard enlisted in the US Army Air Force; worked at Girard Bakery
03 Jan 1940 – Visiting family at 71 Rose St. Burlington; returned to Chanute Field, Rantoul, IL
15 Oct 1940 – Now a PFC Specialist 6th Class Aircraft Mechanic at Hamilton Field, CA
20 May 1942 – Promoted to Lieutenant
26 Aug 1941 – Promotion party in Burlington with 70 family members; now at Las Vegas, NV
21 Oct 1941 – Engaged to Annette M. Dorey; my 3rd cousin
27 Dec 1941 – Burl. Free Press; wed on 20 Dec 1941 at Joan of Arc church in Las Vegas, NV
Now a chief engineer and gunnery instructor at school in Las Vegas, NV
05 Jun 1943 – Promoted to Captain; received wings and Commission on 15 Aug 1941
Now in the 62nd Bomber Squadron, 39th Bomber Group in Guam
Last Mission flown by Captain Paquette’s crew P-52 on 05/23/45 to Tokyo South Urban Area
Burlington Free Press 5 Jun 1946
CAPTAIN PAQUETTE IS PRESUMED DEAD
His B-29 exploded in raid over Tokyo
The war department has notified Mrs. Annette M. (Dorey) Paquette of 122 North Champlain Street of the “presumptive finding of death” of her husband, Captain Richard E. Paquette who was reported missing in action in May 1945. The department’s letter said “the record concerning your husband shows that he was a crew member aboard a B-29 aircraft which departed from Guam on a bombardment mission to Tokyo on May, 24, 1945. Your husband’s plane was neither seen nor contacted by radio after the time of the takeoff, and no information concerning its loss was available until statements were received from Staff Sgt. Sherwood C. Kiernan and Sgt. Lloyd R. Hill, the two crew members who returned. “ They stated that the plane was hit by bursts of flak while over the target, and that when all attempts to extinguish the fire and release the bombs proved unsuccessful, and the order was given to bail out, they were the first to leave and a few seconds thereafter they saw the plane explode and crash. They also state that since it was impossible to see parachutes in the darkness, they did not know if any other members of your husband’s crew bailed out”. Paquette had earned the Air Medal and the Distinguished Flying Cross. Mrs. Paquette has 2 children, Patricia Ellen and Richard Allen. The late Captain’s parents, Mr. and Mrs. Frank Paquette, live at 71 Rose Street. One brother, Ralph Paquette, was killed in action on Bougainville in Nov. 1943. Another brother, Donald G. Paquette, recently returned from 26 months in the South Pacific with the First Marine Division.
39th Bomb Group, Crew 52 – Missing in action
Captain Richard E. Paquette- Airplane Commander- (Burlington,VT)
1 st Lt. Joe B. Medina-Pilot –(TX)
1 st Lt. Jack B. Covington-Navigator-(TX)
1 st Lt. Leon Tomberg-Bombardier- (NY)
2nd Lt. Gerald M. Levinson- Radar Observer- (NY)
1 st Lt. William A. Reith- Flight Engineer- (D.C.)
S/Sgt. Robert J. Sabol-Radio Operator- ( PA)
Sgt. Milton F. Haines-CFC Gunner-(WI)
Cpl. David W. Barr-Tail Gunner-( NY)
39th Bomb Group, Crew 52 – POWs
Sgt Lloyd R. Hill - Right Gunner; Bailed out in Tokyo Bay and captured - POW
Sgt Sherwood C. Kiernan - Left Gunner; Bailed out in Tokyo Bay and captured - POW
**As told by Sherwood Kiernan after being released as POW: **It started on the May 23rd night raid on Tokyo with Crew 52 operating as pathfinder. As their plane approached the target, all HELL broke loose on the ground, filling the air with flak. Number four engine was shot out with the resulting fire spread to the right blister. BAIL OUT OVER TOKYO The wounded plane fought its way out over Tokyo Bay and there Airplane Commander Capt Richard E. Paquette gave the command, "Bail Out." Sgt Kiernan declared that when the order was given all the men in the rear of the plane were ready with Sgt Hill bailing out first.
**WHERE BURIED: **His name is on the TABLETS OF THE MISSING IN WWII monument in Honolulu, HI
http://39th.org/39th/aerial/62nd/Crew_52/paquette.htm photo and crew
Crew P-52 http://39th.org/39th/aerial/62nd/crew52.html Provides details on each member.
This story is part of the Stories Behind the Stars project (see www.storiesbehindthestars.org). This is a national effort of volunteers to write the stories of all 400,000+ of the US WWII fallen here on Fold3. Can you help write these stories? Related to this, there will be a smart phone app that will allow people to visit any war memorial or cemetery, scan the fallen's name and read his/her story.