Kelley-- I posted two follow ups to your question back in May. Significantly I noted that the 498th was a GROUP designation and the 873rd is the SQUADRON. In the event that you did not see them, or can't find them, here is the substance of those posts:
873 & 498 Bomber Squardrons Posted by: Kelley (ID *****1211) Date: May 12, 2002 at 16:15:04
Need info. Uncle W C (Dub) Breeland was listed as a pilot in these outfits. Uncle Dub was shot down & listed as MIA. DOD showed 10 Feb 1945, not sure of the value of this day. Recall family talking about planes named "Devils Darling" & "Josie Jo". Hoping to find photos.
Breeland: 873rd Sqn/498th Bomb Group Posted by: David R. Berry (ID *****8022) Date: May 13, 2002 at 14:35:12 In Reply to: 873 & 498 Bomber Squardrons by Kelley
W. C. Breeland Second Lieutenant, U.S. Army Air Forces 0-760552 873rd Bomber Squadron, 498th Bomber Group, Very Heavy Entered the Service from: Texas Died: February 10, 1945 Missing in Action or Buried at Sea Tablets of the Missing at Honolulu Memorial Honolulu, Hawaii Awards: Air Medal, Purple Heart
Here is the citation from ABMC. As it includes his serial number it will get you forward on acquiring his IDPF. Also note that the GROUP is the 498th and the Squadron is 873rd. The notation that this is a very heavy group indicates that it is a B-29 outfit. As he is listed on the tablets of the missing, it is possible that his date of death is one-year-and-a-day earlier than the date shown.
B-29 operations in the Pacific are not my specialty, but I expect that our friend Stalag can shed some light on this for you.
4 FEBRUARY 1945
(Mission 26) Sixty-nine B-29's of the 110 dispatched from the 73rd and 313th BW's attack the Kobe urban area; and 30 B-29's attack targets of opportunity and last resort including 15 hitting Natsusaka. This is the first mission over Japan by groups of the 313th BW (30 B-29's from the 504th and 505th BG's). Almost 200 attacking fighters down one B-29 and damage 35 others. One other B-29 crashes on landing at Saipan. B-29's claim 4-20-39 Japanese aircraft.
The two B-29's lost were from:
42-24608 T3 498th BG Stendahl crew; crashed on Saipan due to battle damage, crew survived. 42-24629 T9 498th BG "Devil's Darlin" was not lost over target, ditched, Aircraft commander Malone was lost after ditching; the rest of the crew survived.
10 FEBRUARY 1945
(Mission 29) Eighty-four of 118 B-29's dispatched from the 73rd and 313th BW's attack the Nakajima aircraft plant at Ota and 14 attack other targets. Gunners claim 21-15-26 Japanese aircraft. Eleven of the 12 B-29's lost on the mission succumb to operational accidents and mechanical failures.
In light of you most recent post I discovered the following:
Devil's Darling AC-Lt. M. Malone (Aircraft Commander) 02/04/1945(Date of Loss) Mission # 23 AC Killed over Kobe. Plane ditched and all others survived.
B-29 (Type) 42-63468(Aircraft serial number) AC - Lt. W. Breeland 02/10/1945 M # 24 Radio out - accompanying aircraft observed #1 engine out - fuel low - dissappeared in dark.
B-29s with tail numbers 42-63452/63501 built by Bell-Atlanta B-29-20-BA Superfortress."20" is the block number.
63468 disappeared 2/10/1945
Battling Betty I (875th BS) The other 498th plane lost of 10FEB45 42-24760 02/10/1945 M # 24 Ran out of fuel - last position 16-10N, 145-00 E.No further word.
The 498th is well known in the ranks of folks who study aircraft names and noseart.The second aircraft name you cite is confusing.While there may well have been a plane called "Josie Jo", there was in fact a well known plane in the group called "Joltin' Josie--The Pacific Pioneer" and two different aircraft which carried the name "Little Joe" and "Little Jo"