B-29 Super Fortress - A four-engine propeller driven heavy bomber, primarily used by the United States Army Air Corp during World War II. It was the largest aircraft to see service during the war. It was very advanced and introduced the pressurized cabin and the electronic firing system with remote controlled machine gun turrets. Although it was designed to be a high-level bomber, the majority of its combat missions were low-level bombing runs to take advantage of the incendiary bombs that were so effective in burning many Japanese cities to the ground. The B-29 Super Fortress was used to drop the atomic bomb, which helped in making decisions easier to end the war.
B-29 Super fortress
Years built - 1943 to 1946
Total built - 3,971
Total cost to build each- $639,188 (1943 cost)
Medals Awards - Purple Heart, Good Conduct, Air Medal with two Bronze Stars, Distinguished Unit Citation, World War II Victory Medal, Distinguished Flying Cross and Conspicuous Service Cross
Married Sept. 17, 1955, to Victoria (Czekanski) Carroll at St. Hyacinth's Parish in Dunkirk.
Children : Cheryl Dziduch, Mary Lou Laurito, Sue Carroll Lilly
Grandchildren: Shannon Dziduch, Cory Dziduch, Kellie Dziduch and Ricky Laurito
Gerald Carroll was born in Buffalo. As a child he was raised and brought up at the St. Joseph's Orphanage in Dunkirk. Since he was raised on Bennett Road it allowed him many places to play baseball, football and other sports. He did whatever it took to have fun as a child.
School started and Carroll attended St. Joseph's School during his first eight school years. When asked if he played sports, he explained the bishop who ran the school banned contact sports due to the fact that a student might get hurt. The only way that he could play sports was to join after-school pickup games with students from neighboring schools.
High school came and so did the winter months with the snow and wind. He attended St. Mary's High School, which meant he walked there since there was not the luxury of bus service. Living at St. Joseph's Orphanage also meant that he had to walk to St. Mary's to start school then at noon back to Bennett Road for lunch then back to St. Mary's for afternoon classes. He could return home when afternoon classes were done.
In order to pay for his keep, Carroll had to work in the school's cafeteria ending up in its kitchen washing many pots and pans. When December came and he was 17 years old, it was time for him to serve his country. He signed the papers and was anxious to receive his first set of orders and get his first chance to see the world. His whole life, up until now, was spent between Bennett Road and downtown Dunkirk.
On April 18, 1944, he was heading for Kessler Field in Biloxi, Miss., for 13 weeks of basic training. Next he went to Fort Meyers and in the warm Florida sun, Carroll trained on all weapons used on the B-29 bomber at Gunnery School. He was trained on all guns and their breakdowns. Also at school he had to participate in many flights, which involved firing at many moving targets.
Upon completion of Gunnery School at Fort Meyers, and being checked out in all the plane's weapons, Carroll traveled to Lincoln, Neb., for a short stay and then on to New Mexico. There Carroll met and became a crew member of a new B-29 bomber. This new crew of 11 Army Air Corps became close. Carroll was assigned to the job as a side gunner. The crew decided to name this bomber the "Peacemaker 2."
The new "Peacemaker 2"crew was given orders to take this new B-29 overseas. After she took off on the runway in Sacramento, Calif., Air Corps base, its wheels didn't touch land until it hit the Army Air Corps North Field in Guam.
Belonging to the 29th bomb group, the Peacemaker's crew was involved with 66 bombing missions over enemy territory. Bombing runs included areas of Tokyo, Kobe City, Oita Airfield, Kushira Airfield, Kumagaya City, and Omuta City. The list goes on for a total of 66 missions in which extensive bombings caused extensive damage to our enemy.
It was June 26, 1945, when the "Peacemaker 2" was given a mission to bomb Nagoya, Japan. As the crew dropped its ammunition, it landed direct hits on its targets, turned and headed back to its home base at North Field. While en route, heavy enemy flack had struck "Peacemaker 2" and ripped an 8-foot-long tear in its right wing, taking out two of her engines. The plane was flying at 24,000 feet and was losing altitude fast.
The captain radioed for help because the U.S. had a group of submarines patrolling off the coast of Japan. Their mission was solely picking up down pilots and crew. The "Peacemaker 2" had made contact with the U.S. submarine Pintado SS 387. Carroll recalls with the wing almost ripped in two, the engines totally on fire, and the Bomb Bay doors completely off, the crew bailed out at about 2,000 feet.
What makes this story so fantastic was the fact that another submarine the USS Tigrone was also in the area and actually filmed the entire rescue of the B-29, while still in the air. Carroll later explained that after getting dry and fed, the crew was transferred to the USS Tigrone to be taken back to a safer area. The Pintado stayed on the rescue mission of retrieving downed crews.
Returning to North Field a few weeks later, the crew was given a new plane. The only identification on this brand new B-29 bomber was B-29-44-61756 as the new name was to be painted on it. The crew decided on its new name - the USS Pintado.
After the war, Carroll was still in uniform and stationed at North Field. Finally in February 1946 his discharge came and he was on his way home.
A year later he enrolled at St. Bonaventure University. While in his second year he left school and re-enlisted to fight in the Korean War. On Feb. 24, 1949, he was headed for Donaldson Air Force base in Greensville. He was ready to jump back into any plane, but was given the job as an electrician. This was not what Carroll wanted to do. He was a B-29 door gunner. He had been in combat and he wanted to serve again. Since his enlistment was up, he decided it was time to move on.
Gerry Carroll came back and received his degree in science. He was hired by Allegheny Ludlum Steel Corp. and worked there for 33 years. He now enjoys retirement. He is a member of the Moniuszko Club and American Legion Post 62. He also loves traveling and Siesta Keys, Fla. is one of his favorite destination spots.
Carroll is another one of the greatest generation who at the beginning of our interview stated that he can't understand why anyone would want to read a story about him.
What an honor this was, it could have been a Hollywood story. The History Channel had done a story about Naval Sea rescues and the "Peacemaker 2" was one of these stories. Guess who was one of the downed crew members being picked up?
I have seen and have a copy of this story. It was not a Hollywood movie clip. It was more like a home movie version, watching this B-29 in flames and seeing these parachutes dropping from the sky. Then you see these crew members being plucked out of the water to a submarine. It wasn't practiced, they didn't do it two or three takes, they just filmed it, as it happened. That's the way things were during this great war; they just happened.
It happened to people like our Gerry Carroll from Fredonia. This man did his job and did it well. For that, he is our Hero of the Week.