IAGenWeb Project - Allamakee co.
updated 07/25/2016

"Postville Express"

Maj. Donald C. Humphrey, son of Mr. and Mrs. J.T. Humphrey, Postville, Ia., flying plane No. 279, dropped the first load of bombs on Yawata, Japanese steel center, the first Superfortress attack on the enemy homeland Thursday. The young pilot, now only 24, has been in the U.S. Army Air Forces since 1941, and entered the service then as a second lieutenant. His father is president of the Luana Farmers Savings Bank at Postville.

~Dubuque Telegraph-Herald, Sunday morning edition, June 18, 1944 (photo & caption)
~transcribed by S. Ferrall


Maj. Humphrey's "Postville Express" Comes Through Jap Raid Unscathed
Superfortress was Named for Pilot's Home Town

Through the courtesy of Major Donald J. Humphrey and the Public Relations Office of the 20th Bomber Command in India, we are able to bring to Herald readers today the first pictures released of the famous Superfortress, "Postville Express." It was this ship that was first over the target in the raid on the Japanese homeland recently in which history was made.

Proud of his home town, Major Humphrey who piloted the big Superfortress, has christened his ship "Postville Express." What a thrill any of our boys would get, were Donald to fly it to some base where they are stationed. And that's just what's liable to happen one of these days when the big bomber gets started on its devastating mission of bombing the daylights out of Japan's illgotten Pacific bases.

Here is the story sent with the pictures:
Headquarters, 20th Bomber Command, Somewhere in India --Special to the Postville Herald, -- First B-29 Superfortress to reach the target and drop its bombs during the recent night raid on the important industrial center of Yawata, Japan, was the "Postville Express," named for the Iowas home town of the pilot, Major Donald J. Humphrey. The big bomber, its name emblazoned in bold red lettering on the silvery fuselage, completed the arduous mission, longest in bombardment history, unscathed. In describing the attack, Major Humphrey, 25-year-old son of Mr. and Mrs. James T. Humphrey, Postville, said the greatest strain on the crew was "sweating out" the long flight, watching for enemy fighters which never appeared.

"When we reached the target it was pitch black," he declared after returning to his 20th Bomber Command rear base in India. "We dropped our bombs and then the Japs came to life. Searchlights went on and poked around the sky for us. Our right gunner, Sergeant Lindley (Staff Sgt. Ralph C. Lindley of Blencoe, Iowa), said some of the lights his us momentarily, but lost us almost immediately. He reported seeing ack-ack flashes, but none came very close to our plane. Being first over the target, I guess we caught them napping."

Major Humphrey said none of his crew members spotted any Jap fighters, although some of the Superfortresses to reach Yawata later had contact with them.

A graduate of Postville high school, Major Humphrey attended Loras College, Dubuque, and in 1940 graduated from the State University of Iowa, Iowa City.

Humphrey is in Guerilla Unit Overseas
Postville Man on Way Home After Big Experience

Far from home -- Lieut. Col. D.J. Humphrey, 26-year-old Postville man -- has come out of eight months of fighting with the chinese guerila forces, and international press dispatches reveal that he arrived Tuesday at the Singapore naval base. His parents are Mr. and Mrs. J.T. Humphrey of Postville. The young Lieut. Colonel was one of three members of the first B-29 crew to bomb Japan, later shot down in a second Superfort raid on Singapore. Lt. W.F. Duffy, 28, Chicago, and Lieut. E.C. Saltzman, Jr., 25, Washington, D.C., are the other members of the heroic party. These three parachuted out of their burning plane last Janusry 11. They landed in jungle at least 200 miles north of Singapore, and participated in guerilla operations in upper Malaya, living on rice and hiking about 800 miles in all through the jungle.
They were in contact with Chinese communist guerillas and other similar groups in one secret camp and another until they finally contacted allied guerilla agents. Humphrey has served as a pilot, and was spokesman for the others in telling the story of their long activity in the jungle. Salzman was badly burned at the time of the parachute jump, but the group managed to keep going almost day and night, often in great danger. Once the trio was only 100 yards from Japanese scouts. One gunner was captured in such a skirmish but it has been learned he was held a prisoner of war until recently and that now he is enroute home. Duffy was ill of fever but has made a good recovery. The men suffered from lack of food and many other hardships in the jungle, because much of their traeling was done barefoot so their foreign shoe prints would not be detected by the Japanese. The tio contacted an allied clandestine agent July 2, and by that time they had walked some 600 miles, but as soon as they could after hearing the news of Japan's surrender, a few weeks later they were traveling again. This time, however, the trip was by automobile to Singapore, where they were received with joy, having been given up long since as lost by many authorities. Thursday they will start their air journey home, and that's today!

~source of both articles: Postville Herald, undated clippings, WWII era; from my g-grandmother's scrapbook
-~transcribed by Sharyl Ferrall


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