North High School Wall of Honor
Ralph Powers Warren
Class of January, 1938
1st Lieutenant; Died. DNB; Nonbattle
Research done by Claradell Shedd, class of 1953. Ralph Warren lived one block from my home near Hull Avenue and Columbia Street. I knew his family well. I vividly remember seeing the revered photo of Ralph in his uniform (below). The photo sat on top of their large console radio. Who could have ever imagined that 65 years later (especially with the technology of computers, etc.) that I would be writing my personal tribute to Ralph with the restoration of that same photo for presentation on a website I created?
Ralph Powers Warren
Ralph was a member of North High's class of January, 1938. He enlisted in the US Air Force (Army Air Corps) on January 15, 1942 at Fort Des Moines, Iowa. At the time of his enlistment, he was single with no dependents. He had completed one year of college. His service number was 0-751218.

Ralph was assigned to the *770th Bomber Squadron, 442 Bomber Group. During combat in the Pacific Theater, Ralph was regularly flying with B-29 crews. Ultimately, WWII had been declared over, and approximately sixteen Air Force members were returning Stateside. On September 6, 1945, their B-29 stopped to refuel at Kwajalein (Atoll). At takeoff, the plane did not achieve full ascent in the takeoff procedure and tumulted into the Pacific. All aboard perished. Ralph's death was reported as DNB; Died; Nonbattle. At the time of his death, his rank was 1st Lieutenant.
His parents were Mr. and Mrs. Wayne (Sadie) Warren, 3006 Bowdoin Street, Des Moines, Iowa.
4 September 1945: Kwajalein
44-61786 462nd BG, MACR 14905, Major Thurston, Flew into ocean after takeoff (night), All KIA, possible blinded by lights at end of runway, No more B-29 takeoffs at night after this accident.

"On 4 September 1945, B-29 # 44-61786 of the 462nd BG took off from Kwajalein, Marshall Islands, en-route to Mather Field, California for aprox. 5 days TDY for the purpose of transporting organizational supplies. Also on board were 8 AAF crewmen who were "going home". Among these great young men were dear friends of Scotty McCall, Stan Lee, Col. Ed Loberg and Lt. Col. Thomas Vaucher.

"I believe in reading their names we Honor their memory and give our gratitude to them for their ultimate sacrifice for all of us and our Country. May they Rest in Peace knowing how loved and respected they are."
Pilot: Maj. Bernays K. Thurston
Co-Pilot: 1st Lt. Richard B. Johnson
Navigator: Capt. Robert D. Russell
Flight Engineer: M/Sgt. Robert E. Campbell
Radio Op: S/Sgt. George A. Snapp
Passenger: 1st Lt. Walter J. McGrath
Passenger: S/Sgt. Rudolph E. Sagan
Passenger: S/Sgt. Giles Bissel
Passenger: Capt. Fred E. Damberg [444th BG]
Passenger: Capt. Friederich H. Klugg
Passenger: Capt. Robert W. Thomas
Passenger: 1st Lt. Francis R. Flaherty
Passenger: 1st Lt. Edward R. Norris
Passenger: 1st Lt. Theodore T. Peck
Passenger: 1st Lt. David A. Stocking
Passenger: 1st Lt. Ralph Powers Warren (Des Moines,IA)
1st Lt. Ralph Powers Warren
1st Lt. Ralph Powers Warren
*770th Bombardment Squadron
The 770th Bombardment Squadron is an inactive United States Air Force unit. It was last assigned to the 462d Bombardment Group, based at MacDill Field, Florida. It was inactivated on 31 March 1946.

Established in March 1943 as one of the first B-29 Superfortress squadron; however no B-29s were yet available for operational use. Trained with B-24 Liberators and B-17 Flying Fortresses throughout 1943. Received early model B-29s and prototype YB-29s beginning in August 1943, however aircraft were still undergoing development and were frequently modified by Boeing technicians in the field while the squadron was undergoing training in Kansas.

Deployed to India in early 1944; several aircraft breaking down en route via South Atlantic Transport route from Florida to Brazil then to Liberia; across central Africa and Arabia, arriving in Karachi, India in March 1944. Arrived at converted B-24 airfield in eastern India in mid-April 1944. Aircraft still undergoing modifications while transporting munitions and fuel to forward airfield in central China; staging first attacks on Japanese Home Islands since the 1942 Doolittle Raid. Lack of logistical support limited number of attacks on Japan from Chinese staging airfields; squadron also attacked strategic enemy targets in Thailand; Indochina and Malay Peninsula.

Moved to West Field (Tinian), Tinian, in the Mariana Islands of the Central Pacific Area in January 1945 and assigned to XXI Bomber Command, Twentieth Air Force. Its mission was the strategic bombardment of the Japanese Home Islands and the destruction of its war-making capability.

Flew "shakedown" missions against Japanese targets on Moen Island, Truk, and other points in the Carolines and Marianas. The squadron conducted combat missions over Japan participating in wide area firebombing attacks, but the first ten day blitz resulting in the Army Air Forces running out of incendiary bombs. Until then the squadron flew conventional strategic bombing missions using high explosive bombs.

The squadron continued attacking urban areas with incendiary raids until the end of the war in August 1945, attacking major Japanese cities, causing massive destruction of urbanized areas. Also conducted raids against strategic objectives, bombing aircraft factories, chemical plants, oil refineries, and other targets in Japan. The squadron flew its last combat missions on 14 August when hostilities ended. Afterwards, its B 29s carried relief supplies to Allied prisoner of war camps in Japan and Manchuria.

Squadron was largely de-mobilized on Saipan during the fall of 1945.Was reorganized as part of continental Air Forces, Fourth Air Force at March Field, California in November 1945, being manned and equipped with low-hour B-29s returned from the Central Pacific. It later was transferred to the new Strategic Air Command on 21 March 1946, being one of SAC's initial bombardment squadrons. Demobilization, however, was in full swing and the unit turned in its aircraft and was inactivated on 1 October 1946

Air Force Seal

US Army Air Corps
Ralph Powers Warren
1st Lieutenant
770th Bomber Squadron
442nd Bomber Group
US Air Force

Pilot's Wings

Ralph Powers Warren
20th Air Force

1st Lieutenant Bar

Airman 1st Class
The above information was obtained from the following:
(1) The World War II Honor List of Dead and Missing Army and Army Air Forces Personnel was created by the War Department, the Adjutant General's Office, Administrative Services Division, Strength Accounting Branch. The original records are held at the Modern Military records LICON, Textural Services Division (NWCTM), National Archives at College Park, Maryland.
The documents contain the latest and most complete information available of all Army and Army Air Force personnel who were killed or died, or became and remained missing, between the President's declaration of unlimited national emergency on May 27, 1941 and the cut-off date of this report, January 31, 1946. This document includes both battle and nonbattle dead and missing. The records are available online at
The type of casualty is indicated by the following:
    * KIA - Killed in Action. This is an individual who was killed in action at the front, by enemy action in the rear, or if a prisoner of war.
    * DOW - Died of Wounds. This is an individual was who wounded and later died.
    * DOI - This is an individual who suffered fatal battle injuries and died in a line of duty status.
    *DNB - Died Nonbattle. This is an individual who died in a line of duty death, such as from sickness, homicide, suicide, or accidents outside of combat areas (training).
    *M - Missing. This is an individual who is reported as missing and later was determined to be dead.
    *FOD - Finding of Death. Findings of death fall within Public Law 490 and its amendments and are made when there is either conclusive proof that the person is dead or equally overwhelming evidence that under the circumstances the person could not have remained alive.
This document only contains the names of those individuals who died in the line of duty status. Those individuals who were not in the line of duty at the time of their death are not listed in this document.

(2) The World War II Army Enlistment Records contain information on more than nine million indivdual enlistments. These records can be found online at

(3) The comprehensive list of names from North High's 1893-2018 graduation classes are from Claradell Shedd's North Des Moines High School website. The names of all North High School graduates can be found online at Ralph Powers Warren's 1938 class page can be viewed at
Died September 5, 1945; DNB; Nonbattle
Music: "Wind Beneath My Wings"
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