Samuel H. Rainey

Branch: AIR FORCE
Rank: Corporal
Outfit: 15th Air Force, 98th Bombardment Wing, 345th Bombardment Squadron

On the evening of March 28, 1952, Mount Ephraim resident Corporal Samuel H. Rainey lost his life while on a bombing mission during the Korean War. "Sam" was born on January 23, 1933 in Philadelphia, PA to parents Abraham and Margaret Rainey. Younger brother John “Jack” was born 2 years later. Samuel's parents emigrated from Randalstown area, Antrim County in Northern Ireland to Philadelphia in 1929, where the family lived until moving to Mount Ephraim some time prior to April 1950. The Rainey family lived at the corner of Fourth Avenue and N. Black Horse Pike, where they operated a small grocery store, known as the Quaker Store. Sam joined the U.S. Air Force in July 1950 after convincing his parents to allow him to enlist early at the age of 17. After completing basic training at Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio Texas in August 1950, he went on to aerial gunnery schooling at Lowery Air Force Base in Denver, Colorado. Samuel was then assigned to the 345th Bomb Squadron of the 98th Bombardment Wing which was stationed in Yokota, Japan.
The following speech was read by Samuel Rainey’s long time friend and former VFW Post 6262 Commander, Bernie Lorenz at the dedication of Mt. Ephraim’s Korean War Memorial on July 27, 2003. 
"Sam was an ordinary teenager, residing at the corner of Fourth Ave and Black Horse Pike, where his parents, Abraham and Margaret Rainey, operated a small grocery store. Growing up in Mount Ephraim, Sam did the things all young men did in small town America 1950; go to school, tinker with cars, summer days at the pool, hang out at Dick’s soda shop and wonder about the future. Sam’s future however, would soon take a more serious path.
25 June 1950- South Korea is invaded, and our country is involved in a new war. World War 2 is barely five years past and still fresh in our minds. Talk turns to joining the Air Force. I am enlisting and Sam wants to go too, but there’s a catch, he is seventeen and needs parental permission. Not to be left behind, Sam pressures his parents until his mother grudgingly agrees to sign his enlistment release.
6 July 1950- Sam and I are Air Force recruits on our way to San Antonio, Texas. Basic Training is a blur: Up at 4:30 AM, train all day, write a letter home, lights out at 10:00 PM. The weeks pass quickly and then graduation and our first stripes. Advanced Training awaits, anticipation is high. Sam doesn’t have long to wait, for within a week his orders are posted. Aerial Gunnery training in Denver, Colorado. I have yet to be assigned and so, we part company for what will be the last time.
Fast forward a year to November 1951- Young Sam, now eighteen and wearing the wings of an Aerial Gunner, finds himself at Yokota Air Base in Japan, flying bombing missions to North Korea in a B-29. The word is, thirty-five missions and back to the USA, six months at the outside. Night after night the bombers thunder over enemy territory. Hours of monotony are punctuated by moments of terror. Biting cold, snow, rain, anti-aircraft flak and MiG fighters. Through December, then January 1952, the missions continue and he is now a combat veteran. 
January 23rd, his birthday! Sam is nineteen, a Corporal, and halfway through his overseas tour. February passes and March arrives, his tour is winding down. Thirty-two missions completed. Three more to go, then back home.
28 March 1952. Mission number thirty-three begins like all the others. Crews report to their planes at 7:45 PM and begin preflighting their equipment.Two hours later Sam finishes checking his .50 caliber machine guns and takes his place in the B-29 “Vicious Roomer”. It’s cold and raining again tonight. He hopes it’s like this over North Korea, so it will be harder for the enemy gunners to find them. 9:43 PM, Take Off. Sam and the crew settle in for the long ride. Twenty-two bombers lumber over the Sea of Japan toward their targets in North Korea. 11:27 PM, someone reports “smoke and sparks coming from number three engine!” Seconds later explosions, and fire is now reaching back to the rear edge of the wing! “Mayday! Mayday!” SOS calls are transmitted and the pilot makes a diving turn toward the nearest land. Bombs are jettisoned and the command comes, “Bail Out!”
Snapping on his chute, Sam unhesitatingly dives through the open bomb bay doors, and with four other crewmen is swallowed up in the black overcast.
For nineteen year old Sam and three of his crew, the war is over.
The next day, search teams find two bodies in the frigid waters, but Sam and another crewman are never found. They are officially declared dead on 22 April 1952.
My boyhood friend, and a Mount Ephraim son, are gone.....forever.”

The crew of "Vicious Roomer" was: 
1st Lieutenant Grant L. Jensen (Pilot and Aircraft Commander),
1st Lieutenant John A. Bradford (Co-pilot),
1st Lieutenant William C. Colvin (Bombardier),
1st Lieutenant Howard P. Smith (Navigator),
Captain Fred Jenkins (Radar Operator),
Staff Sergeant Philip E. Miner (Flight Engineer),
Sergeant Phillip McManus (Radio Operator),
Staff Sergeant Elliot Zellars (Central Fire Control Gunner),
Corporal Robert M. Knott (Right Gunner),
Corporal Samuel H. Rainey (Left Gunner),
Corporal Rudolph C. Macintosh (Tail Gunner),
Staff Sergeant Morton Henry Jensen (Electric Counter Measures).

Five of the crewmen, Rudy Macintosh, Staff Sergeant Elliott Zellars, Sergeant Phillip McManus, Corporal Robert M. Knott, and  Corporal Rainey bailed out, the pilots were able to regain control of the situation and successfully flew the aircraft back to Japan where they landed safely. A crew was dispatched to retrieve the missing airmen.  The waters of Maizuru Bay were a frigid 40 degress Fahrenheit.  Without wearing an immersion suit or having an inflatable dinghy, chances of survival were not likely.  When the rescuer arrived, they found Macintosh had safely parachuted onto dry land in a mountainous area in Japan.  Zellars and Knott were also found, however they were both deceased as a result of drowning.  McManus and Rainey were never found and listed as Missing In Action.  Later they were considered casualties of the war. 
The local posts of the VFW #6262 and American Legion #150 got together to purchase a small stone to be placed in front of the WWII monument at Veterans Triangle on Davis and Garfield Avenues to represent his sacrifice.  It was dedicated on July 27, 2003. Inscribed on this stone is the following: 
Korean War
1950-1953
Rainey, Samuel H.
CPL USAF
KIA

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