|The most comprehensive of these are the various related stories revealed by the U.S.News and World Report “Spy War” group of articles. The “Reader’s Digest” “Ring of Truth” story relates to the impact of a “shoot down” on a particular family just one of those many stories that carry forward in time and just won’t go away.
Official statistics indicate that in the 20 year period from 1950 to 1970, more than thirty U.S. aircraft were shot down in a peripheral area related to the Soviet Union. During and shortly after the Korean War, the 91st SRS played an important role in keeping a regular check on the activities of the Russian Bear in the Far East. The RB-29 was the primary workhorse aircraft for the 91st in that time period. RB-50s and RB-45s were sent in from other organizations, on a TDY basis, to carry out missions that were unique to their capabilities and the appetites of U.S. intelligence organizations for certain types of information.
The September 1998 story in the VFW Magazine presents some interesting stories from the RB-45 crews relating to clashes with Chinese and Russian MIGs. Apparently, with U.S. fighter protection, none of them ended up in the shoot-down statistics columns. This was not the case for the RB-29s and RB-50s. From 1952 through 1954, a time slot bracketing our assignment period with the 91st SRS, three RB-29s and one RB-50 took a mauling from the bear. They include:
*June 13, 1952, over the Sea of Japan, RB-29 shot down with a loss of 12 crewmembers. Read further details on this action in the next section and the firsthand report of the search and rescue effort for this crew in the following section.
*October 7, 1952, near the Kurile Islands, another RB-29 was shot down with the loss of eight crewmembers.
*July 29, 1953, over the Sea of Japan, an RB-50 was shot down where only two of the seventeen crewmembers were rescued.
*November 7, 1954, over the Sea of Japan, another RB-29 was shot down. One of the crewmembers died in the crash and the remainder were rescued.
The objective of this website is not to document the varied details of the U.S. classified reconnaissance effort over the 20-year period from 1950 to 1970. But, in an effort to inject a sense of realism and grounding for our story, we have chosen to follow a selection of events relating to the shoot-down of the Major Samuel Busch crew, June 13, 1952, over the Sea of Japan. Details relating to this tragedy will be found in the next two chapters of this web site.
If you wish to gain access to additional data, relating to Cold War Reconnaissance issues, one good source is The Cold War Museum at http://www.coldwar.org/