1 April 1945 — Saipan, Mariana Islands
Wilson Callerman Currier, Jr. was born on 23 November 1917 in Jackson County, Missouri. He spent his teenage years on a cattle ranch near Pecos, New Mexico. His family moved to Glorieta southeast of Santa Fe, and eventually Albuquerque, where he attended the University of New Mexico for two years.
He enlisted as an Aviation Cadet (ASN: 18016908) in the Army Air Corps on 17 March 1941 at Santa Fe, New Mexico. Completed ten weeks of Preliminary flight training. On 3 June 1941, entered Basic flight training at the "West Point of the Air" Randolph Field, Texas and graduated on 16 August 1941 . NOTE: on 20 June 1941, the Army Air Corps became the USAAF. Then, graduated with Advanced Pilot Class 41-H on 31 October 1941 at Kelly Field near San Antonio, Texas and was commissioned a Second Lieutenant (ASN: O-429050).
After receiving his “wings” he was assigned as an instructor pilot at Goodfellow Field near San Angelo, Texas. He also qualified as an Army Glider Pilot and was awarded a Gliding and Soaring “C” certificate #562 issued on 30 March 1942 at Condor Field near Twenty-nine Palms, California.
On 20 October 1942, he married Oneata Young of San Angelo, Texas at his parents’ home in Albuquerque. After the wedding, the couple resided in Dalhart, Texas; where he was assigned to the U.S. Army Air Forces Advanced Flying School as a supervisor.
Subsequently, he underwent B-29 aircraft transition and combat crew training at Great Bend Army Air Field in Kansas. Initially assigned to crew T-Square-7 (B-29 serial #42-24603), he deployed to the central Pacific Theatre of Operations and was assigned to 20th Air Force, XXI Bomber Command, 73rd Bomb Wing, 498th Bombardment Group, 873rd Bomb Squadron stationed at Isley Field on Saipan in the Mariana Islands.
According to Individual Aircraft Record Cards, B-29 #42-24603 arrived at Saipan on 19 October 1944. He flew “practice” missions against Truk and Iwo Jima prior to the first mission over Tokyo on 24 November 1944. However, his B-29 #42-24603 was damaged on 27 November 1944 from a Japanese air raid of Mitsubishi G4M “Betty” bombers, and he was assigned to crew T-Square-5.
On Sunday 1 April 1945, he flew in the left seat as the Airplane Command Pilot aboard a Boeing B-29-40-BW Superfortress, serial #42-24614 nicknamed “Joltin’ Josie, The Pacific Pioneer” (tail code: T-Square-5). It was one of 121 aircraft launched in a multi-group formation on a mission to bombard the Musashino Aircraft Engine Factory (target #357) near Tokyo, Japan.
His aircraft took-off at 2100 hours local with an intended course heading of 339 degrees on the planned 15-hour round-trip mission. Shortly after take-off, fumes in the cockpit were reported. The aircraft burst into flames and crashed with a large explosion about 300 yards offshore into Magicienne Bay on the southeast side of Saipan.
A Coast Guard vessel was dispatched within a few minutes, but upon reaching the burning aircraft, they were unable to find any survivors. All 12 aircrew members were officially listed as Killed-In-Action on 3 April 1945.