9 January 1945 — Isley Field, Saipan, Mariana Islands
Thomas Jacob Shryock, III was born in 1920 at Maryland. Enlisted as a Private in the National Guard Field Artillery Corps on 3 February 1941 at Pikesville, Maryland. Transferred to the Army Air Corps and graduated from Bombardier Training Class #43-02 on 28 January 1943 at Concho Field near San Angelo, Texas. Flew as a bombardier with B-24 aircraft of the 98th Bomb Group (H), 344th Bomb Squadron in the Mediterranean Theatre of Operations.
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 (VH), 877th Bomb Squadron stationed at Isley Field on Saipan in the Mariana Islands.
On 9 January 1945, he flew as a Mission Observer 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.