Hog Wild, B-29, Superfortress, Saipan
Back row:  Joe Queen,  Bob Rainey, Gene Harwood, Marion Sherrill
Front row:  Tony Rinaldo, Jesse Owens, Art Strilky, Cliff McGee, Cy Bernacki, Richard Turner, Doug Arthur
20th Air Force

Unexpectedly called up to fly a humanitarian mission to the Konan Camp which housed in excess of 350 British and Australian prisoners of war and had been wrestled away from the Japanese by the Russian military outside of the port city of Hamhung, Korea, ten of the eleven members of a superfortress crew led by 1st Lieutenant Joseph Queen and three observers lifted off in the B-29 Hog Wild from Isley Field on Saipan in the early morning of 29 August 1945.

Aware of the Japan’s surrender declaration in the Pacific but unsure of the extent of the Russian presence in northern Korea, the Queen Crew and observers flew over Japan without incident. However after reaching the target area for the mercy drop, the Queen Crew was engaged by Russian Yaks. An attempt to abort the mission and head back to Saipan was met with hostile fire from the Yaks over the Sea of Japan which caused six of the thirteen men on board to bale out while the others assumed crash-landing positions and rode the Hog Wild down to an unfit airdrome next to the POW camp.

Miraculously, those who found themselves afloat in the frigid Sea of Japan were rescued by Korean fishermen, and the seven who stayed in the disabled B-29 for a crash landing also escaped serious injury. Ironically, all thirteen were reunited in the Konan Camp - the target of their mission - two days later.

Following some behind-the-scenes diplomatic maneuvering involving General Douglas MacArthur, the Queen Crew and observers were rescued and airlifted together with salvageable parts from the B-29 back to Saipan by September 16.

Over the last six decades, questions have surfaced over the nature of the Hog Wild flight. To put a finer point on it, was this very heavy bomber on a reconnaissance mission as it applies to a suspected nuclear weapons program that some claim the Japanese were building in northern Korea when they sued for peace?

While the question regarding the status of Japanese research into a viable nuclear weapon remains unsettled, our collective scholarship has led us to resolutely embrace the notion that the Queen Crew was indeed flying a legitimate mission to provide food, clothing, and medical supplies to those interned in the Konan POW Camp. Furthermore, this ill-fated mission ranks as the initial military event leading to Cold War Era (1945-1989) hostilities between two World War II allies.

Barb, Dwight, and I welcome you to our website celebrating the courageous Queen Crew and observers who flew the historic last mission of the B-29 Hog Wild. We enthusiastically invite you to explore and examine its content. Enjoy!   Terry


John Barrett (Barry) Grant

Observers on Hog Wild

Click photo for details

1st Lt. Robert W. Campbell

Lucius William Weeks

©Copyright 2011-13 Barb Hartwig, Terry Rainey, Dwight Rider

April 27, 2013: Eureka, Illinois

Public Library, 10 a.m.

May 23, 2013: Kansas City, MO

73rd Bomb Wing 38th Reunion

at the Airport Marriott Hotel

(Barb Hartwig will also be selling

her book "Honorable Heart"

at this event)



Terry Rainey will be speaking

at the following events