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Search For The Bataan Avenger
Search for the Bataan Avenger
Born in Holmes County, Mississippi, the author received his secondary education at Belzoni, Mississippi and attended Bowling Green Business University at Bowling Green, Kentucky. He served one year at that school as one of the editors of the school's "Student Weekly" newspaper. He contributes this experience as the launchpad for his post war career in the newspaper and printing business. In 1940, with war clouds gathering, he volunteered as a private in the Army Air Corps. In 1942, he entered the Aviation Cadet program, and upon graduation, received a commission as Second Lieutenant, and his pilot's wings. He was selected to enter the B-29 Bomber training program in 1943, when only a few B-29s were built. After combat training at Salina, Kansas, with the 499th Bomb Group, 73rd Wing, Marshall and crew flew their brand new Superfort to Saipan Island, located about 1500 miles south of Tokyo, where, beginning with the first B-29 raid on Tokyo, November 24, 1944, he completed 30 combat missions as a pilot against the Japanese targets in the home islands. After separation from the service in 1945, entered the newspaper and printing business under the the G. I. Bill of Rights. He was elevated to editor of several weekly newspapers, and worked as sports editor on two small daily newspapers before moving to Memphis, Tenn. to work with the Memphis Publishing Company, publishers of the Memphis Commercial appeal. Since retirement Marshall has written eleven published books most pertaining to the B-29 Twentieth Air Force in WWII and Korean War, and has written aviation articles fro several nationally distributed magazines.
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This is the true story of a B-29 Superfortress sent to the Pacific in early 1945 to hopefully "Avenge" the terrible atrocities received by defeated American troops during the notorious "Bataan Death March". In a special War Bond drive people of Grand Junction, Kansas, and the soldiers at nearby Fort Riley raised enough money to build a B-29 and to name it. Their unanimous name: "Bataan Avenger". Robert Ripley, in one of his "Believe It Or Not" eposides, said the huge aircraft was saved from crashing by a miracle during a death-defying plunge toward the ground on its first combat mission over Osaka, Japan March 13, 1945. "The Avenger" never quite recovered from the extreme maneveur, and a decision was made to send the plane back to the States for a complete complete overhaul. The author received orders as part of a 14 man composite crew to fly the wounded Superfort back to the States, since he and his crew had completed their combat tour at Saipan. A newspaper clipping pasted on the pilot's instrument panel was like a letter from home. In essence it read: Money to purchase this airplane and name it was raised during a War Bond drive by people in Kansas. It was built by Kansas people (Boeing-Wichita) and would someday return to Kansas, victoriously." What a story-book ending it would have been if this crew could have persuaded the officials to let us fly the "Avenger" back to Wichita --But that was not to be. Down through the years this author would never forget the newspaper clipping and the story and the short-lived combat duty of the "Bataan Avenger". Finally he decided to attempt to contact crew members of the plane and get their story of the wild ride toward the ground that night over Osaka. You will find out as you read on!
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