38th Bomb Group, 822nd Squadron
February 10, 1945


This mission was in northern, Luzon in the Baguio mountain area. Frank Lee was the pilot. My diary written at that time reads “We flew two short missions, strafing roads and towns for about 30 miles in a valley. On the second mission the plane following us ran into a mountain and went up in one tremendous burst of flame”.                                       

In retrospect, we were paired with one other B-25 and we flew down the valley roads at about 50 feet off of the ground, with our plane in the lead. Starting the second mission we peeled off from about 2000 feet and dove down a mountain slope into the valley to the road and after leveling off we fired at targets of opportunity, such as houses and vehicles as the Japs were moving along the road, but often in hiding. As we leveled off, I as tail-gunner was watching the second plane about a hundred yards behind me starting to level off and I was shocked to see the plane hit a glancing blow on the slope and bounce back about 10 to 15 feet  into the air, completely in flames and then it hit again and disintegrated.

I called my pilot to report what I had seen and he immediately climbed up from our combat run and circled back over where the plane had crashed. All that was recognizable were the two wheel rims. We had no way of knowing whether the plane (piloted by Lt. Justice) was hit by machine gun fire or rifle fire or whether it did not pull up in time.

Shortly after the war ended, about October of 1945, a young woman from Kansas who was visiting in Dallas and when she found out I was in the 38th Bomb Group, she told me about her neighbor in Kansas, a young war widow, whose husband, Lt. Justice served in the 38th Bomb Group, 822nd Squadron and was killed in combat. It was not long after this that I sadly discussed with Mrs. Justice the last mission of her gallant husband.