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Godspeed, Bill Bower

Posted By Blackfive • [January 11, 2011]

Bill Bower, one of the few remaining Doolittle Raider's has passed.

Bower002 You can read about the amazing pilot, husband and father here at Jim Sheeler's site.  He wrote about Bower for the Rocky Mountain News in 2004 and he reposted his great article on the Raiders and Bower, in particular.

Interwoven among the details of the Raid are parts about the kind of man Bower was:

...After the war, Bower earned the Distinguished Flying Cross, along with many honors, but none of them hang on the walls of his home. He says he doesn't even know where they are. And he says that's fine.

"One day I came home to find that the children had taken out all the medals and were playing with them, and had kind of torn them up," Bower said. "At first I was angry with them, but then I realized something: that's all medals are - just things for little kids to play with."

"Why be known for the medals," he said, "when you can be known for the kids?"...

Go read the whole piece.

Godspeed, Colonel Bill Bower.

"To those who have gone."

 

William M. Bower, 0-398577, Colonel
Pilot - Crew 12

Graduated from Ravenna High School in 1934.  Attended Hiram College and Kent State University, Ohio.  Commissioned October 4, 1940 and rated as Pilot.  After Tokyo Raid, served in England with 8th Air Force bomber units from September, 1942 until September, 1945.  Graduate of Air Command and Staff College.  Has served in California, Washington, D.C., Colorado, and Georgia as well as Newfoundland since World War II.  Retired 1966.  Decorations include Distinguished Flying Cross, Bronze Star, Air Medal, Commendation Ribbon and Chinese Army, Navy, Air Corps Medal, Class A, 1st Grade.

 

 

 

 

Chunking, Szechwan, China,
May 2, 1942.
SUBJECT: Mission report of Doolittle project on April 18, 1942.
TO: Brigadier General James H. Doolittle.


AIRPLANE TYPE:

B-25-B 402228
CREW:

Pilot -- 1st Lt. William Bower.
Co-Pilot -- 2nd Lt. Thadd Blanton.
Navigator -- 1st Lt. William R. Pound.
Bombardier - T/Sgt Walso J. Bither.
Eng-Gun. -- S/Sgt Omer A. Duquette
ORDERS:

To proceed from Minneapolis to Columbia, S.C. where crew was completed, then to Eglin Field, Florida, at which time the purpose of the mission was to be revealed, necessary training of crew accomplished and alterations of the ship made. Final preparation to be made at McClellan Field, Sacramento, California, prior to boarding the aircraft carrier U.S.S. Hornet at Alameda, Calif.
Target location was revealed at sea and all maps, objective folders and navigation data were covered by the crew enroute.

Take-off was ordered at 7:30 AM April 18, 1942 without sufficient warning to enable crew to gather necessary position, weather, etc., data.

Individual orders were to report to Chuchow for gas, then proceed to Chungking or if forced to land elsewhere or otherwise hold at Chuchow for further orders.

TIME OF T.O.

0910 April 18, 1942.
WEATHER:

Broken clouds from ship to landfall.
Clear from that point to target with high overcast 100 miles south to 300 S.W.
Clear to southern tip of Japan.
Broken to overcast 1000 ft. turning to W.
Instrument conditions encountered 1:30 hrs. before landfall of China coast.
Over China overcast from surface to 11,500 occasional breaks heavy rain.
ALTITUDE DESIRED:

Approach: below 1500 ft.
Bombing: 1500 ft.
ACTUAL ALTITUDE:

Surface and ground level approach, bombing at 1100 ft., surface to point :30 before E.T.A. of China coast, gradual climb to 11500 ft.
BOMBS:

3 - 500# demolition 1 - incendiary cluster (500#).
AMMUNITION:

900 rds .50 cal. 3 AP, 2 incendiary
700 rds. ..30 cal. 3 AP, 2 incendiary
TARGET:

Ship yard and docks at Yokohama.
Secondary: any military objective within vicinity.
Barrage balloons at target made choice of secondary necessary.
TARGET BOMBED:

Oil refinery, tank farm, warehouse, 2 miles ENE of target.
ANTI-AIRCRAFT OPPOSITION:

Heavy AA was encountered just prior to bomb release point from S, W, N, range was poor, elevation good. No hits were made on ship. After bomb release rapid descent to surface was made and AA was seen to score hits on barrage balloons causing their destruction. AA continued from rear and also from hill to the west until approximately two miles at sea. Bursts were of five, tracking excellent.
PURSUIT OPPOSITION:

No actual attack was made by enemy pursuit. Several biplanes evidently of obsolete type followed the plane at 1000 yds for fifteen minutes but did not offer attack.

MISSION REPORT:

Bombs were released in sequence on large warehouse, railroad siding at refinery and tank farm. Warehouse was seen to be hit and fired. Railroad tracks and tank cars also hit. Effect of last bomb and incendiary was not noticed due to heavy AA. Speed of run 200 mph, altitude 1100 ft.
One weather boat was sunk 100 miles east of Japan. No other attacks made by machine guns.

ARRIVAL IN CHINA:

Crew was assembled in navigators compartment when landing appeared impossible. At 23:30 the crew left the ship at five second intervals, followed in twenty seconds by the pilot. Ship was at 11500, on AFCE at 120 m.p.h.
I landed on a mountain with no ill effects, wrapped up in the silk and slept till 5:30 AM. Crew had been told to do likewise and await day light before attempting to locate each other. The next morning I started down the mountain and walked east for several hours, then N.E. At a small village a school teacher was able to locate direction and distance of Chuchow. Walked SE till dark and slept until dawn. Three of the crew joined me at this village. The fourth joined us at noon the next day. Natives carried us to Sian where a car took us into Chuchow. Six nights were spent at Army Air station there and on Saturday evening we left by train for Yun San. A bus met us and in this we traveled three days to Heng Yang. A plane met us there and brought us to Chunking.

/signed/
WILLIAM M. BOWER
1st Lt., Air Corps

 

Chunking, China
May 2, 1942

SUBJECT: Report of Engineering on four airplanes.
TO: Chief of Air Corps -- Attn: Brig. Gen. Doolittle


Engines and accessories.

General engine performance was exceptionally good. Low rpm and high manifold pressures were used for long range cruise. Cylinder head temperatures were normal (170° ave). Oil temperatures remained well within the low range (normal).

Difficulties were confined to occasional starving of engine due to sudden load or quick increase of Hg. This was to be expected in auto lean position.

On board ship plug trouble was encountered during warm-ups. It was found the BG-LS-65 plug was superior to the AC-LS-85 (ceramic).

Corrosion was not excessive on engine or accessories. The largest amount being on the boiler in the left exhaust and the exposed sections of the cylinder barrel.

Recommendations.

BG-LS-plug (cold) be used under conditions where several run up’s are required over a great period of time between flights.

Airplane General.

No difficulties of importance were encountered during mission.

Recommendations.

Special bomb bay tank was unsatisfactory in one case. The inner lining ruptured with result that the tank leaked in spite of all attempts to repair it.

Venting system of crawlway tank was satisfactory only under daylight conditions.
Bomb bay and turret tank vents could be placed so as to reduce the vacuum created by the airflow.


Corrosion of aileron, appendage and flap hanger bolts was excessive, special bolts needed.

Transfer pump should be placed in an accessible spot so that repair can be accomplished in flight.

/signed/
WILLIAM M. BOWER
1st Lt., Air Corps.


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