Archive of WW II Pilot Who Flew One of the Last Bombing Runs Over Japan, August 14, 1945 !
(AVIATION), World War II, B-29 Pilot Archive).
This is an extensive archive from a World War II B-29 pilot, First Lieutenant James Stapp, 20th Air Force, 315 Wing, 501st Group, 41st Bomber Squadron, Lot of approx. 150 items which reflect Stapp's experiences flying bombing runs over Japan in World War II, c. 1942-45, Fine. A fascinating personal archive that includes Stapp's wings and decorations, dog tags, log books, photographs, and much more. Stapp flew several missions to bomb strategic military sites in Japan, to knock out Japanese oil refineries--one of the log book entries reads: "7-25-45 - Kawasaki -14:00 - 27-500 # G.P. Bombs - 3 Flak Holes..." Bombing sites included Kudamatsu, Shimotsu, Yokkaichi, Amagasaki, and Tsuchizaki--which are significant to military buffs, but generally unknown to the public at-large. According to briefing papers and historical references, Stapp and other B-29 pilots were part of the concerted effort to end World War II--in case the atomic bombs failed! Stapp flew bombing missions after Hiroshima and Nagasaki were devastated and before Emperor Hirohito "sued for peace." According to some historical accounts, the continued bombing runs in addition to the atom bombs helped convince the Japanese to give up--the U.S. was prepared for a November 1945 invasion of Japan, but not before flattening Japanese cities with B-29 bombing runs.This archive chronicles the Air Force career of Stapp: Born in Madera, CA, in 1921, Stapp enlisted in the army as a private in 1940, went to airplane mechanics' school in the army, then flight school in Muskogee, OK. He was promoted to 2nd Lieutenant in 1943 and 1st Lt. in 1944. Stapp flew 10 bombing missions over Japan in a B-29 called the "Tipsy Gypsy," (B-29 B-263671), attacking oil refineries. The last flight, for which he was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross, was for "extraordinary achievement while participating in aerial flight during a bombardment of the Nippon oil refinery at Tzuchizaki in 1945. Flying at night, with a heavy bomb load on the longest combat mission ever flown without bomb bay tanks, some 3239 nautical miles in a period of 17 hours... reaching the target and dropping over 50 percent of their bombs within 1000 feet of the main target. During the strike, the B-29's were in enemy controlled territory over the Japanese home islands for 500 nautical miles" (USA General Orders No. 86, 10/8/45).Included in this lot are: 1. Lt. Stapp's original pilot's log book that documents each of the ten bombing missions aboard his B-29, the "Tipsy Gypsy," containing original photos of refineries, with actual targets indicated, maps with holograph instructions depicting targets, and complete recaps of each mission. 2. Stapp's personnel file folder which was collected throughout the war, with the various certificates earned through training, and over 50 pages of flight records from training up through combat, all signed by superior officers, as well as the General Orders presenting medals to Stapp. 3. Set of six medals awarded to Stapp, including the Distinguished Flying Cross, the Air Medal, the Asiatic Pacific Campaign, American Campaign, American Defense and Victory medals, all of which include their ribbons. 4. Three sets of Stapp's dog tags with neck chains. 5. A large gold eagle decoration (for hat?), 3"-long silver pilot wings with shield, silver pilot wings with shield (1.5" long), brass belt buckle, stainless steel watch band with "Guam 1945" in raised letters. 6. Approx. 30 other various uniform decorations, bars, enamelled unit pins, ribbons, collar pin wings, lieutenant bars, etc. 7. A 2.5"-long pendant made from a .50 caliber bullet. 8. Stapp's military engraved business card, with the engraving plate. 9. Heavy sterling silver ID bracelet, worn and tarnished. 10. Two small plastic finger rings with insignia and wings embedded in them. 11. Large hunting knife, 10.5" long, in leather sheath inscribed "Guam 1945." 12. Three military "Pilot Flight Record" log books, c. 1942-43, recording Stapp's flights. 13. Stapp's pilot log book recording commercial refresher flights after his discharge in 1946. 14. One Army issued pilot radio head set. 15. Air Force chart of the Pacific Theatre printed on silk. 16. Stapp's yearbook for Class 43-K, LeMoore Air Field, California. 17. Five 8" x 10" photographs of Air Corps Boeing aircraft, each identified. 18. Stapp's War Dept. ID card, laminated in plastic. 19. Souvenir currency from Japan, the Philippines, etc. 20. Dollar bill with signatures of military buddies. 21. Various photos of Stapp's airplane. 22. Two copies of the graduation program from Air Force Advanced Flying School at Ellington Field, September 5, 1942. 23. And a fabulous set of 16 black and white photographs of the Japanese surrender aboard the USS Missouri, and U.S. newspaper accounts.This collection of memorabilia reflects the career of an American bomber pilot, tracing his development from enlistment to participation in one of the final bombing runs of World War II. Generally in fine condition with only expected attendant wear; some items--such as the war medals--are in mint condition. The detailed information and the wide assortment of items make this a choice, one-of-a-kind lot--perfect for World War II and aviation collectors!(150+ items)