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Atomic Bomb POW Purple Heart.

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As an FSU graduate, I work with the WW2 Collection at FSU from time to time. I had the privilege to work with their PH’s and dig into their stories.


Due to the historical significance of this particular Heart, I thought I’d share it. Thanks to the FSU WW2 collection...

James M. Ryan was born February 3, 1925 to Thomas and Marion Ryan of Binghamton, New York. Ryan was one of three brothers who all served in the United States Armed Services during World War Two. He enlisted in the United States Army on February 26, 1943 and became a crew member on a B-24 bomber as one of the final replacement crews for the 494th Bombardment Group, 866th Bomber Squadron, 7th Air Force. As part of this replacement crew, Ryan was sent to the Pacific Theater in April 1945.


After flying a few training missions in the Carolina Islands of the South Pacific, Ryan and his crew were transported to the Yontan Airfield on Okinawa. Once on Okinawa, the bombers could target mainland Japan. The 494th Bombardment Group became the first B-24s to fly bombing missions against the Japanese Islands on July 5, 1945.


Crew 42B, the designation given to Ryan’s replacement crew, flew their first B-24 bombing mission on July 17, 1945, targeting Chang Wan airfield in Shanghai, China. For their second mission, Crew 42B attacked the Japanese Battleship Haruna near Kure Harbor, Hiroshima, Japan. On July 28, 1945, Ryan, as bombardier, along with the rest of his crew, climbed into the B-24 44-40680 nicknamed “Lonesome Lady.”


Over 30 B-24s took off from Yontan Airfield, Okinawa on July 28, 1945 and headed for Kure Harbor to attack the Japanese Battleship Haruna. As they approached the harbor, they spotted the Japanese battleship and released their bombs on target. Anti-aircraft defenses opened up on the formation and flak tore into the Lonesome Lady. Cartwright, the pilot, lost control of the aircraft as one of its engines caught on fire.


The crew of Lonesome Lady was told to bail out as the aircraft crashed into a field near Ikachi, Japan. After bailing out of the aircraft, most of the crew, including Ryan, were rounded up and sent to Chugoku Military Police Headquarters and held as Prisoners of War. Chugoku Military Police Headquarters was roughly 1,300 feet away from the epicenter of the atomic blast.


Bombardier-2nd Lt. James M. Ryan, a Prisoner of War in Hiroshima, was killed in the atomic blast on August 6, 1945. He was 20 years old and is buried with some of his fellow crew members at Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery, St. Louis, Missouri.


Pilot-2nd Lt. Thomas C. Cartwright - POW of the Japanese, survived the war, died in 2015.


Co-Pilot-2nd Lt. Durden W. Looper - POW, killed in the atomic blast, August 6, 1945.


Navigator-2nd Lt. Roy M. Pedersen, Jr.-KIA, killed when his chute failed to open, July 28, 1945.


Radio Operator-Sgt. Hugh H. Atkinson - POW, killed in the atomic blast, August 6, 1945.


Tail Gunner-SSgt. William E. Abel - POW of the Japanese, survived the war, died in 2006.


Engineer-Sgt. Buford J. Ellison - POW, killed in the atomic blast, August 6, 1945.


Nose Turret-Cpl. John A. Long, Jr. - POW, killed in the atomic blast, August 6, 1945.


Ball Turret Gunner-SSgt. Ralph J. Neal - POW, died from radiation poisoning, August 19, 1945.









Wanted: Missouri Medals


I am always in search of Missouri Medals and Items. This could be anything from WW1, WW2, Prisoners of War, Ephemera, or anything pertaining to Missourians.


I thank you for your time and consideration.


-Without a witness, they just disappear.-




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Thanks for sharing this!

!!!! WANTED !!!!

WWII Prisoner of War items : Medals, Mail, Diaries, Photos, Documents, Scrapbooks + More

WWII Naval Aviation Groupings : Medals, Documents, Scrapbooks, Photos, Flight Logs, Flight Jackets + More




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Thank you for sharing this. Apparently, this is not a well known piece of history but certainly should be.


Always looking for USN WW2 era Bullion Chief Petty Officer Rates, any Chief Petty Officer Airship Rigger Rates, Liberty Cuffs, WW2 USMC Insignia and Distinguishing Marks, and WW2 Civil Defense and Civil Air Patrol Insignia

OVMS Member
ASMIC Member


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  • 3 weeks later...

What an incredible rare and poignant heart. Never knew about this, thanks for sharing for all to see!

Looking for any WWII 104th "Timberwolf" Division items.

Including items from the 413th, 414th, and 415th Infantry Regiments 104th Recon Troop, 329th Engineer Battalion, 329th Medical Battalion

385th, 386th, 387th, and 929th Field Artillery Battalions 804th Ordnance Company 104th Quartermaster Company 104th Signal Company

555th Anti-Aircraft Battalion, 750th Tank Battalion 692nd Tank Destroyer Battalion 817th Tank Destroyer Battalion



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Wow, I didn't know about this either. Thanks for sharing.


I am an amateur collector of US military items of the 20th century.


Looking for items related to:

-The Aleutian Island Campaign of WW2, Alaskan Theater, Alaska Defense Command, and more specifically the Battle of Attu

-Items related to the 50th Combat Engineer Regiment/Battalion

-Items related to Wheelus Air Force Base Libya, particularly from 1957-1960

-WW2 items belonging to service members from Northern Virginia

-WW2 Uniforms (all branches and services)

-Cheap/Throwaway WW2 named uniforms

-Smaller WW2 Groupings

-7th Infantry Division Items

-WW2 Photos and Letters (all branches, theaters, services, etc)


^^ PM ME!!


Instagram: @surplus_central https://instagram.com/surplus_central/

eBay: http://www.ebay.com/usr/giovachm

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I don't really have much to add beyond what has already been said, but I have to say even as a UF grad I am happy to see FSU taking care of important stories like James Ryan. Even a Gator in this case will say Go Seminoles! 


Looking for:

WWII-KW Enlisted/NCO marked M1s

Items related to the Fort Pierce Naval Amphibious Training Base

Medals awarded to Floridians

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