The Life and Death of Tiger Lil
by Wayland Mayo

The Death of Tiger Lil — Chapter 3

Return to the U.S.

Page 1 of 2 Pages

The Tiger Lil crew received several commendations during the Korean conflict. Also the crew had become very fond of her. It was difficult to just walk away and leave her in Japan, but after our 50 missions we had orders to return to the U.S. I assume another crew took command of her and continued flying combat missions. It is not known how many missions she flew in total.

After returning to the U.S. and later discharged, the years flashed by with increasing frequency. I often wondered what ever happened to the members of my crew, and to Tiger Lil. Many times I made exceptional attempts to locate them, with no luck. In what seems like a relatively short time, over 50 years just flew by. I was never able to obtain any information on the aircraft, and only located one crewmember, my friend Tom DeHaven. I did learn that our CFC man Browning was killed in a crash. Then another stroke of luck, after all the years of looking with no answer. My friend Jess Richey, who was a flight engineer with the 98th, emailed me that quite possibly the Research Center at Maxwell AFB could help me. I contacted them asking for the history of aircraft 42-94000. The information arrived from Archivist Archie Difante, and is mostly covered in chapter one of this article. The final listing was somewhat confusing, it read: Nov 7,1954, dropped from inventory due to “LOSS”. No further explanation. When I gave Jess Richey the date he sent me a notice of an RB-29A shoot down on Nov 7,1954. I sent the information to Archie Difante and asked him for research on the shoot down and advise me of the serial number of the downed plane. Archie came back with the startling information that the aircraft shot down by Migs was A 91st RB-29A serial number 42-94000. It was Tiger Lil. She had flown her last flight. I read the report in almost disbelief. After all she had been through, to have such a tragic ending. It really gave me an empty feeling, as I live only in the past, with a million memories of my Air Force days, flying in Tiger Lil. Those were the best days of my life.

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