The 75th anniversary of the Rescue of Ed Mikes

03 August 10:55 am

Additional Information

On August 3, 1945 Captain Edward “Ed” H. Mikes, Jr. took off piloting P-51D “Mrs. Beak” 44-72561 from North Field (APO 86) on Iwo Jima piloted by leading “Green Flight” on a Very Long Range (VLR) against targets in the Tokyo area of Japan. The formation included 1st Lt. Vaughn E. Sowers, 1st Lt. Robert E. Tatro and 2nd Lt. Raymond Feld. Over the target area, “Green Flight” targeted Chofu Airfield but saw no targets and instead followed double railroad tracks towards the coast before spotting two tanks to the west of Atsugi. Mikes and Sowers strafed them from the rear and as they passed, Mikes saw machine gun batteries firing on them and swung to fire on them but was hit by anti-aircraft fire that caused a thin stream of white smoke and proceeded towards the rally point and managed to reach the coast and flew southward over Sagami Bay when his oil pressure dropped to near zero roughly 12 miles out to sea. When his engine began vibrating violently and released the canopy to bail out but the plane began to stall and spin that he managed to correct at 2,500′ before he bailed out and hit the tail of his plane then deployed his parachute and landed unhurt in Sagami Bay at 10:55 am. Mikes landed safely and his flight circled to protect him. Spotted by B-17H “Bulgin Bessie” 43-39265 that released a Higgins A-1 lifeboat was successfully dropped to him. Meanwhile, USS Aspro (SS-309) on lifeguard duty was notified to rescue him. The complete story of this mission and rescue is told in the forthcoming book “The Rescue of Ed Mikes”.