(This is an abbreviated version of a USS BLACKFISH news bulletin circulated to the submarine crew July 6, 1945) – Editor
A wave of 48 B-25s of the 38th Bomb Group (The Sun Setters) left Okinawa air strip enroute to Taramisu. Mission-Fire Bomb Factory workers quarters. In plane #302was Everett P. Brady Jr, pilot; Ira B Baker, co-pilot; Merle L. Meacham, Navigator; Doyle E. Anderson, engineer/gunner: Ted Q. Wilson, radio man; Ralph R. Lawson, gunner. Plane # 302 approached the target at 1400 from the sea flying at about 50 feet altitude and 300 MPH through smoke and flames caused by the preceding wave of planes. Occupants of the plane were thrown about quite a bit from the thermal caused by the flames. While top gunner Anderson and tail gunner Lawson strafed the area, radioman Wilson threw leaflets out through the emergency escape hatch. Return fire from the cliffs beyond the target was observed.
At 1359 plane #302 was hit and an engine disabled, and engineer Anderson noticed gasoline streaming from a hole in the wing. In 5 to 7 minutes the flow ceased due to the self-sealing gas tanks, but oil was noted streaming from the engine. Presently the prop ran away and the oil pressure dropped to zero. Two attempts to feather the prop were of no avail due to the failure of the feathering motor.
All excess speed was used up to get to 1500 feet. The engine was shut off and the plane began losing altitude. The wingman was contacted and called the PBY to report the problem and the wingman circled until it arrived. Pilot Brady passed word for all hands to prepare to “ditch”. Radioman Wilson and tail gunner Lawson cut out the waist windows with crash axes threw out all ammunition and about $6,000 worth of headache radio equipment to the radioman’s delight. In the opinion of the whole B-25 crew, pilot Brady did a very excellent job of keeping the plane up as long as he did as well as well as getting clear of the bay and near our (Blackfish) position, flying about 50 to 60 miles after being hit, according to navigator Meacham.
As the plane hit, it bounced and then came to what has been defined as a very excellent set-down. Water began to rush in through the windows and it looked like the plane might sink, but it righted itself and stayed afloat until the crew was clear. Tail gunner Lawson and radioman Wilson scrambled to get out through the windows. The radioman had hold of the life raft and Mae West’s, but because of the difficulty of getting out of the window, he had to let them go. Radioman Wilson swam to the floating first aid kit and he and pilot Brady put it under the arms of gunner Lawson who was having trouble staying up. Engineer Anderson had a strap loose on his Mae West and it continually wanted to climb over his head, and later his shoes were cut off by co-pilot Baker. As Anderson says in his own words “The navigator and co-pilot saved my life” As soon as he arrived in the raft he belched up about 3 quarts of water which helped immensely. The Catalina then came over and dropped their first life raft which fell too far away; the 2nd fell within 25 feet enabling all hands to reach it and they went together to the first raft, inflated it, and placed three in each raft, picking up the third raft for supplies. The Cat then dropped a message saying the Blackfish would be there in about 1 hour and 45 minutes. According to Anderson, “I felt pretty damn good when the Blackfish hove into sight, and according to this guests appetite he is fully recovered from his sickness of the sea.
I know all hands are glad to see these fellows on board and your cooperation in making them feel at home is greatly appreciated. According to them, the chow is the best that they have had in a long time. It is believed that without too much persuasion Lt Brady could be enticed to join up and stay a submariner.