Second Lieutenant Floyd Arden Woodring (1922 – 1946)
20th Army Air Force – Pacific Theater, B29 Pilot, WWII – KIA
Remembering – Second Lieutenant Floyd Arden Woodring – WZHS “Hero of Air Power”
Shortly after high school, Floyd Woodring, along and his brother Calvin, sons of Otto and Lola Crane Woodring of Benezette, moved to Buffalo, NY and worked for a small aviation company. While there, Floyd developed dreams of aviation and inspired Calvin with similar dreams.
Like his friends at the time, Floyd Woodring, 22, decided to serve his country during World War Two, enlisted in the U. S Army Air Forces on December 8, 1942, and joined in April 1943. Through the values, education, and character he developed in Benezette, he pursued the opportunity to serve as an officer and a pilot. This all led to Floyd Woodring earning his 2nd Lieutenant bars and pilot wings and proudly becoming a pilot of the B-29 Superfortress ( the same type of plane, named the Enola Gay, dropped the first atomic bomb on Japan). He was shortly assigned to the 20th Army Air Force, 504th Bombardment Group, 398th bomber squadron stationed in the Pacific Theater responsible for the strategic bombing against Japan.
During the night of March 16, 1945, pilots 2nd Lt. Floyd Woodring and Major George Shaffer, and a total crew of ten took off from their North Field, Tinian, Mariana Islands base in their B-29 Superfortress for a bombing mission over the area of Kobe City, Japan. In what would be the heaviest raid and the first wave of incendiary bombing at that time, these 307 B-29s were dispatched with their bombs to be dropped during the night at low altitudes as low as 5000 feet and 9000 feet. The attack lasted over two hours and about 20% of the city’s area was destroyed. The B-29 crews saw 314 enemy aircraft totaling 93 individual attacks. Three B-29s were lost- unfortunately one of those was the B29 flown by Lt Floyd Woodring and the 10 crewmen. There were no survivors. The cause of the crash was most likely a direct hit of their B29, flying at about 7400 feet, by anti-aircraft fire near the target of Kobe. The plane and crew were officially lost between Kobe and the Marianas Islands. The crash and all the crew members were judged to be battle casualties “by the peace on the ocean”. The official death was presumed to be March 18, 1945 based on Army records. The above mission details are based on information from the crash report and the Missing Air Crew Reports.
For his military service Lt. Floyd Woodring earned the Air Medal, the Purple Heart, and other ribbons. In addition to the memorial stone placed in the Mt. Pleasant Cemetery on Winslow Hill in Benezette, 2nd Lt Floyd Woodring is listed and honored on the “Tablets of the Missing” at the Honolulu Memorial Cemetery in Hawaii.
Including Floyd A. Woodring as an Mt. Zion Historical Society “Hero of Air Power” is a very fitting memorial and honor for the young Benezette serviceman who gave the ultimate sacrifice for his beloved aviation profession.
Lest We Forget…