American Added to Atomic Bomb Victim List
The Japanese recently added the name of a U.S. Navy pilot to the roll of atomic bomb victims at their state-run memorial hall in Hiroshima. Ensign John Hantschel was only 23 when his F6F Hellcat was shot down over Seto Island on 25 July 1945 and he was taken to a military headquarters jail in Hiroshima, just a quarter mile from ground zero.
A-bomb survivor and historian Shigeaki Mori researched Hantschel's record, which ends at Hiroshima. The first of two atomic bombs dropped by American B-29 bombers destroyed the city on 6 August 1945. Earlier this year Mori found the ensign's niece and sister.
Hantschel, a native of Appleton, Wisconsin, enlisted in the Navy on 24 September 1943 and was flying a strike mission against Japanese warships in the Sea of Japan with VF-16 from the USS Randolph (CV-15) when his plane crashed into the sea. His flight leader saw him climb into a rubber raft, but a sea-rescue plane arriving seven hours later failed to locate him. Four days later, a Japanese fisherman picked up Hantschel, who was taken to the Hiroshima jail.