MANSIR KENNETH M 11097819 S SG FOD
AMERICAN BATTLE MONUMENTS COMMISSION
Kenneth M. Mansir
STAFF SERGEANT, U.S. Army Air Forces
Service # 11097819
869th Bomber Squadron, 497th Bomber Group, Very Heavy
Entered the Service from: Maine
Missing in Action or Buried at Sea
Tablets of the Missing at Honolulu Memorial
Awards: Air Medal, Purple Heart
Portland Press Herald - February 1, 1945
By Rob Carr
On November 24, 1944, 111 B-29
Superfortress bombers of the 73rd
Bombardment Wing took off from Isley
Field on Saipan, in the Mariana Islands. It
was the first air attack on Tokyo from
Saipan since American forces captured
the island from the Japanese in a battle
lasting from June 15 to July 9, 1944. The
seizure of Saipan was a costly but
important undertaking. American forces
suffered over 3500 dead (including 17
Maine Marines killed in action), and over
13,000 wounded. The capture of Saipan
and a month later that of Guam and
Tinian, however, gave the B-29 bombers
a base in which they could strike the
Japanese mainland in a round-trip.
The first B-29 to return from the mission
was “Waddy’s Wagon”. The bomber was
named for the pilot, Capt. Walter
“Waddy” Young, an All-American football
player from the University of Oklahoma.
Also, part of “Waddy’s” crew was
Radioman/technician, Staff Sgt. Kenneth
M. Mansir from Randolph, Maine.
“Waddy’s Wagon” flew several more
missions against Japanese targets over
the next six weeks, until its last on
January 9, 1945.
On January 9, 1945, the XXI Bomber
Command sent over 70 B-29’s to bomb
the Musashino aircraft factory near
Tokyo, Japan. While over the target
Capt. Young witnessed a Japanese
fighter collide with another bomber in his
formation. The collision knocked out the
bomber’s number two engine, causing
the plane to lose altitude. As the stricken
bomber dropped out of formation it was
attacked by several Japanese fighters.
Capt. Young quickly descended “Waddy’
s Wagon”, to help defend the damaged
bomber from the attacking fighters.
The two bombers were last sighted
heading for the Japanese coast, no trace
of either plane or crew was ever found.
Staff Sergeant Kenneth M. Mansir was
declared dead by Army Air Force one
year and one day after ‘Waddy’s Wagon”
vanished. Kenneth was the son of Mrs.
Mabel Mansir of Randolph, Maine. He
graduated from Gardiner High School in
1940 and worked for Bath Iron Works
before joining the Army Air Force. He was
22. Semper Memento.