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C/O Art Curtis
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by Chief Johnny

 

Stories of the Men

RAY "HAP" HALLORAN

RAY "HAP" HALLORAN, was born in Cincinnati (Lockland), Ohio on February 4, 1922, by Paul & Gertrude Halloran, in Lockland, Ohio. Hap has four brothers Ralph, Jerry, Don, Ken, all still alive. Hap volunteered early 1942 for Army Air Corps, in Wright Field, Dayton, Ohio. He completed his training as a Navigator (Hondo, TX) in 1943 and completed training as Bombardier(Roswell,New Mexico) 1944. He was later assigned to B-29 Bomber Training at Smoky Hill Air Force Base, Salina, KS, 878th Sqd. 499th Bomb Group V.H. 73rd Wing, 20th Air Force.

After completion of B-29 training Hap and a crew of 11, called "Rover Boys Express", spent time in Lincoln, Nebraska, then Herington, KS where they received their own B-29. Orders were to fly their new B-29 west alone to Mather Field, CA, then across the Pacific alone to John Rogers Field, Hawaii, then to Kwajalein Island; then to Saipan where the 73rd Wing Base was located; they were to fly combat missions to bomb and destroy Japanese mainland targets. They flew missions to Iwo Jima, Nagoya, Kobe/Akashi in December 1944 and January 1945 before they were shot down on their fourth mission -target #357 Nakajima Aircraft Factory, Tokyo. They were eastbound at 32000 ft.passing Mt. Fuji when shot down over Tokyo by a Japanese Twin Engine Toryu Nick) Fighter that came in from 1 0'clock high. Three engines were on fire. They had to parachute into Tokyo when the fighter blew out the nose, the 70o+temperature in their pressurized B-29 dropped instantly to -58o below zero. Hap fell free from 27,000 ft. to approximately 3,000 ft. before opening his chute and landing in N.E. Tokyo. He was set upon immediately by civilians; and severe beatings followed. Mr. Halloran was near death when Japanese soldiers (MP's from Kempei Lao Secret Service Torture Prison) seized him from civilians and took him to Kempei Tai Torture Main Prison in Tokyo adjacent the moat at the north edge of the Imperial Palace grounds.

Hap spent 67 days in solitary confinement in a cold, dark cage. Beatings and brutal interrogations followed. Hap lived through the March 10, 1945 fire raid on Tokyo were over 100,000 were killed by B-29s bombing from 0100 to 0400 a.m. The heat, smoke and firestorm were absolutely terrifying.

Then Hap was moved to Ueno Zoo in Tokyo where he was a prisoner in animal cage and tied to the front bars in his lion cage so civilians could march by and view a B-29 flyer. He was naked and black from non-washing and hair all over my face. Hap lost 90 lbs. and was covered with open running sores
from flea-bed bug bites. He spent April 1, 1945 to August 1945 in Omori POW Camp contiguous SW Tokyo. Pappy Boyington a friend of Haps was also in his barracks. Bombings and strafing by American B-29s and navy/marine fighters were constant on their unmarked prison barracks. 'Hap' wrote and
delivered the eulogy for Boyington 1-15-88 at Arlington National Cemetery. On 8-29-45 Hap and others were liberated by marine/navy landing forces and taken aboard the hospital ship Benevolence in Tokyo Bay. Hap spent about a year in a hospital at Ashford General Hospital, in White Sulphur Springs, W.VA. Mr. Holloran left the service in September of 1946. 'Hap' was near the Battleship Missouri when the Peace Treaty was signed on September 2nd, 1945.

Hap received 39 years of nightmares after that ordeal. He later returned to Tokyo in 1984-85, 1989 and 1995, were he met Ambassador Mike Mansfield who was a great help. Hap was also reunited with a former guard (friendly) and many others including: Kaneyuki Kobayashi, former guard, Saburo Sakai,
a leading living Japanese fighter ace and Isamu Kashiide, who shot down their B-29 over Tokyo on 1-27-45 and many others. Reconciliation and friendship finally eradicated the nightmares of 39 years.

After leaving service in September 1946 Hap went into the transportation business. He joined Consolidated Freightways, a major transportation company in 1958 and held various executive positions and was member of Board of Directors and Executive Vice President. He was associated with Consolidated Freightways as Senior Vice President Emeritus in Corporate Headquarters, Menlo Park, CA.; for over 40 plus years with CF.

He now has three children, Dan in Barcelona, Spain; Tim in Brentwood, CA; Peggy in  Redwood City, CA and several grand children. Hap currently resides in Menlo Park, CA. Hap has also traveled extensively and has done TV shows on NBC, CBS, ABC, FOX, History, Discovery, C-Span, TLC cables and speaker/lecturer aboard cruise ships, military bases, classrooms, etc. 'Hap' and his son Dan, visited Honolulu, Guam, Saipan, Tinian, and Tokyo in May 1999.  He ventured back to Japan in April of 2008 for his 12th time to meet with friends, veterans and the media.

Hap believes each day on Earth is a "double bonus" day.

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