Valor Friday

| September 3, 2021

Sgt Anthony Marchione, second from right in front row, with his crew when he flew B-24 Liberators

As it was pointed out yesterday, 2 September 1945 was the day the Japanese signed the official documents of surrender aboard USS Missouri in Tokyo Bay. This ended the Second World War. For a period of more than two weeks though a ceasefire had been called. From 15 August (VJ Day), the Japanese Emperor had announced to his people that the war was over. Some of the fanatical Japanese soldiers continued to fight however. Thus the full scale fighting war ended on 15 August, but the final combat death of the war came three days after that date.

The death of Army Air Forces Sergeant Anthony Marchione on 18 August 1945 was tragic and unnecessary, similar to another American sergeant 27 years prior.  He was serving aboard a B-32 Dominator heavy bomber at the time of his death. The bomber had been converted for use as a photo reconnaissance aircraft and was part of a two aircraft flight overflying Tokyo to ensure that the Japanese were adhering to the ceasefire.

On the ground, some of those Japanese troops who refused to believe the war was actually over (the radio announcement from Emperor Hirohito announcing the surrender was first time his people had heard his voice) took the Dominators under fire. These men made clear their intent to continue the war until the formal instruments of surrender were signed.

Japan’s extensive anti-aircraft network opened fire on the two bombers. While flak was going off under them, several Japanese fighter planes rose up and began attacking them. “Things went bad fast,” said one of the Dominator crewmen. Ultimately Sergeant Marchione was struck square on by an enemy 20mm round, killing him in moments.

Marchione would be the last American to die in active combat during World War II. The battle that cost him his life was the final air combat of the war. The next day, the props were ordered off all of the Japanese aircraft.

While getting ready to write about Marchione, I came across an article from Air and Space Magazine from 2008.

It’s a fantastic read with many direct quotes from those who were there. The author, Stephen Harding, does a far better job of documenting the tragic loss of Tony Marchione than I ever could. I highly, highly suggest taking the ten minutes to read it.

Category: Air Force, Historical, Valor, We Remember

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Yes, come across this story several times. It is a little remembered coda to a conflict more and more people don’t remember much at all.
I first ran across it looking up info on the B-32 Dominator. I guess it’s fitting that the plane they were riding in for this little known story was little known itself. A backup for the B-29 if that hadn’t been successful, it had some of the same teething pains.


Looks like my brain filled in the words “I have” in that first sentence, but they didn’t make it to the keyboard.


Some Youtubage


Thank You, Mason, for sharing the story about Sergeant Anthony Marchione.

His Sister, Theresa, shared his story in 2020:

“75 Years ago, Pottstown Airman Became The Last American To Die In World War II”

He had just turned 20 when he lost his life:

Rest In Peace. Salute.

Never Forget.


Hand Salute. Ready, Two!

Thanks, Mason.


The war with Japan was not officially over until the Treaty of San Francisco was signed on 8 Sep 1951


Thank you Mason for the story of the last combat death of WWII.

Hand Salute. Ready, Two!


Damn! Great story Mason. Did not know of this Hero, or the Aircraft. I know that my knowledge of the Air War in the Pacific was lacking somewhat, but didn’t realize HOW lacking it was. Thank You! And additional Thanks to ninja, USAFRetired, and Arby for their added links.

“…son of Italian Immigrants…” Remember when immigrants came to this Country to become Americans…and volunteered to fight and possibly die for this Country? Pepperidge Farms Remembers. A pity it is not still like that. One thing that hasn’t changed. Higher still sends Warriors into harm’s way without all the knowledge and support that they need against known threats.

Battery Gun Salute! PREPARE….FIRE!!