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
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
A graduate of Postville high school, Major Humphrey
attended Loras College, Dubuque, and in 1940
graduated from the State University of Iowa, Iowa
Humphrey is in Guerilla Unit
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
-~transcribed by Sharyl Ferrall