Artwork and Research By;
Sir Ernie Hamilton Boyette
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Signed and numbered by the Artist and autographed by Captain Stevens.
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This is my painting of "Battlin' Beauty". Painting size is 2x4 feet.
I met Delmar Stevens at a small air show in Keystone Heights, Florida in February 2009. I told him that I had not worked with a B-29 pilot and asked if he was interested. He said yes.
This is a great photo of Stevens bomber artwork.
This is Stevens and his crew with their B-29, "Superstitious Aloysious". This was his second B-29 he flew over Japan.
Airplane Commander, Delmar Stevens
Delmar Stevens was born in
In 1943 Delmar arrived at
Pratt Air Field in
The B-29 had two bombays.
However, by the time they
As they were heading back to Pratt, Wilkinson and Stevens were going over procedures for landing. The bomber was all electrical operated by six generators. Three of the generators were on the dead engines and they worried if the remaining generators were able to operate the landing gear and the flaps at the same time. Wilkinson had Stevens lower the landing gear first and held off on dropping the flaps. This was a wise decision because they were running the risk of either the landing gear or the flaps working but not both. As a consequence the flaps did not fully lower as the wheels hit the runway. Since the landing speed was faster than normal, both pilot and co-pilot stood on the brakes as they ran off the end of the runway into a snow bank. The right tire had blown and was on fire yet everyone was safe. The B-29 had many problems with its production that still needed to be worked out. Engine failure was the worst of the problems.
Other flights from the
squadron followed until the entire Group was ready for combat and were
Stevens started his combat tour flying co-pilot with the Squadron Commander. In fact during his first six missions he flew co-pilot with the first three Squadron Commanders flying two missions with each Commander. Col. Wilkinson, Col. Luna, and Col. Kingsberry. All Commanders were experienced pilots with Wilkinson flying combat in B-17's early in the war. Luna was a veteran pilot with American Airlines and Kingsberry had flown with Western Airlines. Stevens told me that all three men had different types of personalities but they were all excellent pilots and good men.
As to the type of missions
the squadrons attacked at first were targets in
New pilots were first sent on missions as co-pilots with an experienced pilot and crew before they got their own bomber with the crew they had trained with in the States. The pilot and crew were trained together in the States but the pilot had to gain experience first and then he would be assigned a bomber manned by the crew he originally trained with.
Unfortunately one of the new
pilots was shot down on a mission over
Stevens said that he was
fortunate because the crew he inherited were well trained and worked together as
a team. Together they flew thirty missions all over South East Asia with many
I asked him to describe one
aerial combat encounter. He said that the Japanese figured out that attacking
the rear of the B-29 was suicidal so they would attack head on. During one
mission they were to hit the Japanese Naval Base at
During his service Stevens earned the Air Medal with 3 Oak Leaf Clusters, Distinguished Flying Cross with 4 Battle Stars and the Presidential Unit Citation.
To read more about Delmar please consider one of our prints or one of our upcoming books. Thank you.
This is Delmar autographing the painting of the "Battlin Beauty".
Here is Delmar and the Artist.
On July 5, 2010 I got a call from Delmar's family. They wanted to let me know that He had passed away the day before.
On July 4, 2010 I spent all day and into the night typing on my first book. I found the experience the most patriotic thing I had ever done. I spent hours and hours reading and writing about the bravest men that ever fought for our country under the most unusual conditions. Delmar served the United States of America with cool-headed assuredness that all American bomber pilot are known for.
This was the day I first met Delmar at a local air show in Keystone Heights, Florida.
Delmar always took his Superfortress and crew to the target and back many times. But he left us on July the Fourth, Two-Thousand and Ten.
Interesting B-29 facts;
In the May
2010 issue of Aviation magazine, they had an article about a B-29 pilot named,
First Lieutenant O. Dann DeWitt. Dann as you can imagine experienced all the same
hardships that all the other B-29 Groups faced when they were sent to bomb
Japan. It was a great article but what caught my eye was some incredible statistics.
Lt. DeWitt mentioned that his Group, the 504th lost 26 B-29's to combat and four
to operational failures. He continued with a staggering series of numbers that I
need to check. He claims that "nearly" 500 B-29's were lost by all
groups in the Pacific. This represents the loss of 5,000 airmen.
Fewer than 200 of the 5,000 airmen survived.
In the May 2010 issue of Aviation magazine, they had an article about a B-29 pilot named, First Lieutenant O. Dann DeWitt. Dann as you can imagine experienced all the same hardships that all the other B-29 Groups faced when they were sent to bomb Japan. It was a great article but what caught my eye was some incredible statistics. Lt. DeWitt mentioned that his Group, the 504th lost 26 B-29's to combat and four to operational failures. He continued with a staggering series of numbers that I need to check. He claims that "nearly" 500 B-29's were lost by all groups in the Pacific. This represents the loss of 5,000 airmen. Fewer than 200 of the 5,000 airmen survived.
That is incredible. This fairly much says that if your B-29 was shot down, you could pretty much kiss it all good-bye. However, each man held his own conviction that "it wouldn't happen to him." How stout the heart can be when the need arises.
I would like to add that I do not doubt the statistics but I do want to see this referenced in another book. The consequences are astounding. When I first started to research WWI was wondering why the Japanese did not make a better account of themselves. Apparently they did. The Japanese did a great job of defending their island as best they could. The Japanese were simply overwhelmed by our numbers as were the Germans. But the size of the Superfortress was overwhelming to the Japanese fighter pilots. Huge beautiful silver super-bombers. A Luftwaffe pilot in a small Messerschmitt 109 would have though that the B-29 was insurmountable as well.
Please review the other seventy aviators that we have worked with and interviewed in the Print Directory.
This is our Main Directory.
All research, writings and artwork are by Sir Ernie Hamilton Boyette.
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Sir Ernie Hamilton Boyette
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Green Cove Springs, Florida 32043
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Posted March 22, 2009