Jennings, Payne, Jr., Col

 Service Photo   Service Details
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Last Rank
Last Primary AFSC/MOS
M 1060-Bombardment Unit Commander
Last AFSC Group
Primary Unit
1951-1951, Missing In Action (MIA)
Service Years
1940 - 1951

 Last Photo   Personal Details 

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Home State
Year of Birth
This Military Service Page was created/owned by Shaw Jennings-Family to remember Jennings, Payne, Jr., Col.

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Casualty Info
Home Town
Last Address
La Jolla, California

Casualty Date
Mar 29, 1951
Hostile, Died while Missing
Air Loss, Crash - Sea
Korean War
Location of Interment
Buried at Sea - N/A, Pacific Ocean
Wall/Plot Coordinates
Not Specified

 Official Badges 


 Unofficial Badges 

Cold War Medal

 Military Association Memberships
Korean War Fallen
  1951, Korean War Fallen

 Photo Album   (More...

 Ribbon Bar

Aviator (Senior)

 Unit Assignments
7th Bombardment Group, HeavyTroop Carrier Units509th Bombardment Group, Very Heavy22nd Bombardment Group, Medium
 93rd Bombardment Squadron, Very Heavy 19th Bombardment Wing, MediumUS Air Force
  1945-1945, 7th Bombardment Group, Heavy
  1946-1946, 320th Troop Carrier Squadron
  1946-1947, 509th Bombardment Group, Very Heavy
  1948-1948, 22nd Bombardment Group, Medium
  1950-1951, 93rd Bombardment Squadron, Very Heavy
  1950-1951, 19th Bombardment Wing, Medium
  1951-1951, Missing In Action (MIA)
 Combat and Non-Combat Operations
  1941-1945 World War II
 My Aircraft/Missiles
B-17 Flying Fortress  C-87 Liberator Express  C-54 Skymaster  B-29 Superfortress  
  1942-1945, B-17 Flying Fortress
  1942-1945, B-17 Flying Fortress
  1945-1945, C-87 Liberator Express
  1946-1946, C-54 Skymaster
  1950-1951, B-29 Superfortress
 Additional Information
Last Known Activity

"Colonel Jennings was a veteran of  World War II. In Korea, he was the aircraft commander of a B-29A Superfortress Bomber with the 93rd Bomber Squadron, 19th Bomber Wing. On March 29, 1951, while on a combat mission, his aircraft lost two engines over the East China Sea, northwest of Okinawa. He was listed as Missing in Action and was presumed dead on December 18, 1951."  Source:  Other sources such as and the Korean War Veterans Honor Roll - WWI, WWI and Korean War Casualty Listings, provide similar accounts, including that his remains were not recovered. His name is inscribed on the Courts of the Missing at the Honolulu Memorial.

What the other narratives do not indicate is that Group Commander Colonel Payne Jennings' aircraft was carrying a VB-13 TARZON Bomb, an huge experimental 12,000 pound bomb. The 19th Bomb Group was the only unit with B-29s especially adapted to carry and drop the bomb: "The use and experimentaion of this device was discontinued with the loss of a 19th ship carrying the Group Commander, Colonel Payne Jennings, when they apparently had to salvo their Tarzon Bomb at very low level over the ocean because of engine failure, and the detonation concussion of the bomb took their aircraft and crew down with no survivors."  Source:

Silver Star

Awarded for actions during the Korean War

The President of the United States of America, authorized by Act of Congress, July 9, 1918, takes pleasure in presenting the Silver Star to Colonel Payne Jennings, Jr., United States Air Force, for gallantry in action near Sinuiju, Korea, on 8 November 1950.

Serving as Commanding Officer of the 19th Bombardment Group, FIFTH Air Force, Colonel Jennings led an aerial attack against Sinuiju, the well-defended temporary capitol of North Korea and an extremely important enemy communications and supply center. This city is located only 666 yards across the Yalu River from An-Tung, Manchuria. Enemy anti-aircraft artillery was located on both sides of the river and conventional and jet type aircraft were based in the area and expected to attack in force.

Colonel Jennings knew this target was vitally important to the enemy. He also wished to prevent possible international consequences of American aircraft crossing over or bombs dropping upon Manchuria. He therefore chose to lead his group in the mission which resulted in maximum destruction of all assigned targets. His courageous leadership served as inspiration to all members of his command.

The leadership and gallantry displayed by Colonel Jennings are in keeping with the highest traditions of the military service and reflect great credit upon himself and the United States Air Force.

General Orders: Headquarters, Far East Air Forces, General Orders No. 115 (November 19, 1950)

Action Date: 8-Nov-50

Service: Air Force

Rank: Colonel

Regiment: 19th Bombardment Group

Division: 5th Air Force




Note: The dates of the medals and awards on the right panel are not complete, but merely reflect medals I'm confident he received based on a number of sources and those he would have received based on his service. He received medals for both the Korean War and World War II, both Air Force and Army, and likley received a number of medals not reflected on the right panel.

Colonel Jennings was obviously a well trusted and respected pilot by his superiors. He was the pilot on numerous difficult and usually top secret missions. The following reflect several I've discovered to date:
*Two weeks after the Japanese surrendered, Lt. Col Payne Jennings was the pilot of a bomber carrying Gen. Jonathan M. Wainwright and other high-ranking former prisoners of war to the Phillippines. A Nipponese suicide pilot attacked and attempted to take down the plane. Lt. Col Jennings eluded the attacking aircraft by diving into a cloud bank. Source: Heroes Home From Prison-Story of Attempt to Shoot Down Wainwright, Eugene Register-Guard, Eugene, Oregon, Wednesday, September 12, 1945
*Carrying heavy locomotive parts, some weighing as much as 1,700 pounds and needed by Allied ground troops to establish supply routes in forward territory, Lt. Col Jennings and Lt. Frank L. Gurney of the 7th Bomb Group brought the transport aircraft in on a forward airstrip safely after a number of close calls before the aircraft rolled to a stop. Source: EAC Transports Locomotives Up Forward, India-Burma Theater Roundup, vol. III. No. 33, Delhi, Thursday, April 26, 1945
*May have been the pilot of a B-29 that dropped a 'Fat Man" bomb on 1 July 1946 at Bikini. Source: Operation Crossroads on Stamps, 60 Years of Exodus from Bikini Atoll & Atomic Bomb Tests
*Commanded the "Green Hornet", assigned to transport top-secret records, documents and files pertaining to the atomic experiments and passengers (scientists). Source: A-Bomb Records Moved To States On Hornet Line, The Bend Bulletin, Bend, Oregon, Friday, August 2, 1946
*Was the pilot of the aircraft that transported the debris from the infamous "Roswell Incident" from Roswell to Fort Worth, Texas. Source: More Witnesses To The Roswell Incident,

"Name: Payne Jr Jennings Jr
Birth Date: 26 Oct 1916
Gender: Male
Home City: La Jolla
Home State: California
Citizen Status: US Citizen
Death Date: 18 Dec 1951 (Note: Incident occurred on 29 Mar 1951, presumptive death date 18 Dec 1951)
Processed Date: Nov 1976
Casualty Country: Korea
Casualty Type: Hostile-Died while missing
Casualty Cause: Aircraft Loss/Crash at Sea
Casualty Air: Fixed Wing Air Casualty - Pilot
Service Branch: US Air Force
Component: Regular
Rank: Colonel
Pay Grade: Colonel"
Source: Korean War Casualties, 1950-1957,


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