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I Was in a B-29 Bomber As Tokyo Was Firebombed. This Is My Story.

May 23, 2019 Topic: History Blog Brand: The Buzz Tags: World War IIMilitaryTechnologyWorldTokyoJapan

I Was in a B-29 Bomber As Tokyo Was Firebombed. This Is My Story.

"On tonight’s mission, the primary weapons, 500-pound E-46 chemical incendiary bombs, would rain down on Tokyo like giant firecrackers. Each bomb contained 47 small bomblets, called M69s, strapped together inside a metal cylinder fused to break open at 2,000 or 2,500 feet and to scatter the individual bomblets."

Bertagnoli, Carter, and the God’s Will crew—in a different aircraft that day—looked down from their B-29 and saw MacArthur sitting at the signing table on the ship’s deck. The Edwards broadcast was playing on the plane’s interphone. They heard Edwards say, “Here comes one of the big B-29s” and then they heard the sound of their own engines in their earphones, conveyed by the broadcast.

As the Bertagnoli crew flew overhead, Edwards continued. “The weather is miserable for a demonstration of air power. The maximum ceiling is not more than fifteen hundred feet, but everything is going to plan. General MacArthur has finished signing. Lieutenant General Jonathan Wainright and General Percival have saluted him and MacArthur is back to the microphone….”

The scheduled flyover began soon afterward. The war had ended.

William Carter Returns Home

William J. “Reb” Carter (December 3, 1923-November 3, 2011), known as Bill to everyone except his military buddies, received the Distinguished Flying Cross and other awards. He was discharged as a staff sergeant on November 28, 1945. He returned to Atlanta and became a successful certified public accountant. On December 19, 1946, he wed Phyllis Ewing in a simple ceremony at her pastor’s home. They raised two sons, Doug and Gary, and many dogs.

Robert F. Dorr is an Air Force veteran, a retired U.S. diplomat, and author of the book Air Force One, a look at presidential aircraft and air travel. Douglas L. Carter is the son of the subject of this story.

Originally Published November 18, 2018.

This article originally appeared on the Warfare History Network.