Join Jim B. Smith, author of "The Last Mission," as he recounts his journey aboard The Boomerang, a B-29 Superfortress on the last and longest mission that really ended the war. Evidence produced in Smith's book will change history forever. Smith was aboard this last mission, which destroyed a precision target 270 miles northwest of Tokyo nine days after Hiroshima and six days after Nagasaki and really ended the war on August 15, 1945.
The History Channel runs the 2-hour documentary of The Last Mission periodically. Keep an eye out on your TV schedule or the DVD are now available for $29.95 + shipping. You can order the book the documentary is based upon at Amazon.com in hardcover or paperback
Jim Smith says, "As some of you know, I was a reporter/radio operator on the B-29 The Boomerang in WWII. For 57 years I've tried to bring the unknown last mission history to public attention. History is as good as its truth and the end of WWII has screamed for clarification. The History Channel, with GRB entertainment, have produced a 2-hour documentary of the last mission and its counterpart, the Japanese Palace Revolt, which took place in the same timeframe. The end of WWII was nip-and-tuck for six days after Nagasaki. Millions of lives on both sides were at stake.
I have never been as moved by a cast and crew. They worked with unflinching commitment from sunup to sundown to capture the very essence and reality of those WWII days. The production was all for one and one for all from the get-go. It was the same spirit that inspired everyone, past and present, who fought for the red, white and blue. My first pilot, Rodger Jensen, who dropped the last bombs from his B-29 The Horrible Monster, agreed in our appraisal of the documentary by saying 'DÉJÀ VU!'
I am forever grateful to History Channel and GRB for this really superb work."
He added, "We recreated The Last Mission with interviews of participants of The Last Mission, interviews with the Japanese and a recreation of The Last Mission using a B-29 at the March Field Museum Foundation at Riverside, California. Darin C. Maurer, the boy I call my son, played the part of my copilot John Waltershausen. Darin's help to the 'crew members' was crucial. (Darin is a professional pilot with between six and seven thousand hours flying time--he has accrued much flying time in WWII vintage Beech 18s and DC3s along with turbojet time at Continental Airlines and 737 jet time at Delta Airlines)."
Jump to the following:
"I was caught in a blizzard while driving to Iowa and stopped in a town that turned out to be the location of my old base, Fairmont Army Air Base in Nebraska," he recalled. "I was invited to an awards banquet and sat next to a man who turned out to be the commander of that last mission, retired General Boyd Hubbard, who was a Colonel back in 1945. As I drove back to my home in Los Angeles, I thought about my World War II experiences."
These thoughts turned to action when Smith began researching that once important mission. Over and over again he found stories about the two atom bombs, but no mention of the last mission he had been on, no mention that this last mission caused the Tokyo blackout, and no mention of the destruction of the oil refinery at Akita. He soon found that details had been withheld because of their sensitivity. In 1985, the archives were finally opened and Smith delved in, making notes and copies and getting in touch with old crew members. Now, a decade later, the book has been published and Smith is negotiating to turn The Last Mission into a movie or documentary.
"At the time of the last mission, Japanese peace and war factions were locked in a life and death struggle," Smith explained. "Out of that struggle, a fantastic revolt was born, whose objectives were to kidnap Emperor Hirohito, and then order the armies to continue the war. Any extension of the war by the Japanese after their official acceptance of peace on August 14, 1945 would have brought unthinkable consequences. I'm totally convinced our last mission 'blackout' threw history off course, and historians have told me I'm on firm ground."
What bothers Smith the most are other so-called "eyewitness" accounts he has read.
"I read one article and knew he (the writer) had read my book, but he totally missed the blackout at the precise moment it occurred, and didn't say what might have happened if the revolt had been successful. He wrote things based on no evidence and that we flew formation when we didn't."
After reading most of these articles, Smith felt the bottom line was the writers had no grasp and were not true eyewitnesses.
"I'm annoyed that history failed to record this mission and all the strange flukes of timing that may have killed the war's last flicker. The guys in my story aren't going to be here for long. Our numbers are dwindling rapidly and that's why this is so important. Someone else may capture the facts of the story and the significance of the last mission, but no one will capture the essence of the B-29B guys again."
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