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41-11825

B-24 Liberator

The B-24D, Hail Columbia, 41-11825, was assigned to the 9th Air Force, the 98th Bomb Group, and the 344th Bombing Squadron. It was first assigned to the 344th Squadron's CO, Col. John R. Kane's, personal aircraft until Kane became the 98th Bomb Group's CO and turned it over to Herman "Big Dog" Lewis. Lewis changed the name to Little Chief Big Dog on the RH side of the forward nose section, but retained, Hail Columbia, in block letters on the left side. Following Lewis's death in another B-24, Little Chief Big Dog/Hail Columbia, was transferred back to the 98th Bomb Group's 343rd Bomb Squadron, where the right side art work was changed to a picture of, and the name, Grumpy, in compliance with the "Snow White Squadron" directive. Wilfred Brann was the crew chief and nose art artist for, Grumpy, in the 343rd Squadron. The name, Little Chief Big Dog, was removed prior to the Rome mission of July 19, 1943.

Just prior to the low level Ploesti mission, the 98th Bomb Group's CO, John R. Kane, returned his former plane back to the 98th's 344th Bomb Squadron, where a new form of the original, Hail Columbia, name and nose art quickly replaced, Grumpy's. According to Scott Flood, great nephew of 41-11825's crew chief, Charles Wilfred Brann, the name, Grumpy, had been chosen by TSgt Brann, "reflecting his personality, a short, stocky man, rather gruff and grumpy on the outside." Flood also wrote that, by Col. Kane's directive, Hail Columbia, was again repainted in red block letters over new nose art chosen by Col. Kane : a flying bald eagle carrying a large club, on both sides of Hail Columbia with stars in a circle under the eagle, on both sides of the forward nose section, for the Ploesti mission. So, Hail Columbia, was chosen by Col. Kane, for the second time, as his personal airplane and was one of the lead aircraft for the Ploesti mission.

John Kane and the crew of, Hail Columbia, bombed their target, White IV, and escaped Ploesti with one engine destroyed, two propellers on other engines damaged, and with over 150 counted flak holes in the airplane, and several crewmen wounded by flak shards, but recovered. They flew all the way south through Turkey to the Island of Cyprus. Col. Kane and his Copilot, John Young, crash landed, Hail Columbia, in the dark at Nicosia, Cyprus, after running over a ditch the British had dug across the runway's threshold, which took out their landing gear when they hit it at high speed. Hail Columbia was abandoned at Cyprus. 2 Aug 43.

The next day, while Col. Kane was looking over the plane, Young reported that there were tears in the normally stoic, Col. Kane's eyes, as he surveyed the damage of his crashed and wrecked airplane that he had carefully chosen as his personal plane for the second time and renamed, Hail Columbia, after his alma mater, Columbia University. Likely, Kane was thinking of the friends and men he had just lost on the terrible and deadly Ploesti mission, like his wrecked airplane. Pilots also had strong feelings, as well, about the airplanes they flew and that they felt had saved their lives and had brought them home to safety.
The crewmen aboard, Hail Columbia, for the Ploesti mission were:

Col. John R Kane - Group Leader and Command Pilot
First Lieutenant John S. Young - CoPilot -
First Lieutenant Norman Whelan - Navigator -
Staff Sergeant Neville C. Benson - Waist Gunner -
First Lieutenant Raymond B. Hubbard - Radio Operator -
Second Lieutenant Harold F. Korger - Bombardier -
Sergeant Joseph W. LaBranche - Gunner -
Technical Sergeant Frederick A. Leard - Waist Gunner -
Sergeant William Leo - Tail Gunner -
Staff Sergeant Harvey L. Treace - Top Turret Gunner -

All of the crewmen who flew on the Ploesti mission received the Distinguished Flying Cross for flying the mission. Lt. Whelan was also awarded the Distinguished Service Cross for navigating his airplane and several others to safety at Nicosia, Cyprus. Lt. John Young received another Oak Leaf Cluster to his DFC and Silver Star. Col. John Kane was awarded the Medal Of Honor and another Oak Leaf Cluster to those already on his DFC.

Service

Aircraft

  • 41-24226 Joisey Bounce - Utah Man

    B-24 Liberator
    The B-24D, 41-24226, Joisey Bounce, was assigned to Pilot Lt. Walter Travis Stewart of the 330th Bomb Squadron, the 93rd Bomb Group, and the 8th Air Force, for the large mission to bomb the oil refineries at Ploesti, Romania. Col. Stewart changed his...

  • 42-40402 The Sandman

    B-24 Liberator
    The B-24D Liberator bomber, named, The Sandman, was flown by Lt. Robert Sternfels and his copilot, Lt. Barney Jackson, in the 9th Air Force, the 98th Bomb Group, and the 345th Bomb Squadron, on Operation Tidal Wave, the famous mission to destroy the...

  • 41-24198 - The Vulgar Virgin - Hell From Heaven - Shoot You're Faded

    B-24 Liberator
    - The B-24D, 41-24198, named, The Vulgar Virgin, flown by Capt. Wallace Taylor, was in the 9th Air Force, the 98th Bomb Group, and the 344th Bombardment Squadron, based at Benghazi, Libya, It should not be confused with Lt. Claude A. Turner's B-24D,...

  • 41-24311 - Hadley's Harem

    B-24 Liberator
    The B-24D, named, Hadley's Harem, was Lt. Gilbert Hadley's personal airplane and the one he flew on the mission to destroy Hitler's oil refineries at Ploesti, Romania, in 1943. As Hadley was approaching his target refinery, code named, "White IV",...

  • 41-11819 Raunchy

    B-24 Liberator
    The B-24D Liberator, Raunchy, 41-11819, was in the 344th Bomb Squadron, the 98th Bomb Group, and the 9th Air Force, based at Benghazi, Libya, North Africa, in early 1943. ...

  • 41-11761 Sleepy - The Squaw

    B-24 Liberator
    The B-24D Liberator bomber, 41-11761, was first named, Sleepy, and, later, renamed, The Squaw. It flew on the famous Ploesti bombing mission, returning to Cyprus, piloted by Lt. Royden L. Lebrecht. After Ploesti and and the completion of his combat...

  • 41-11768 Kickapoo

    B-24 Liberator
    The B-24D Liberator, 41-11768, named, Kickapoo, was piloted by Lt. John S. Young from Dallas, Texas as part of the 9th Air Force, the 98th Bomb Group, and the 344th Bombing Squadron, which arrived in North Africa in early 1943. This airplane was...

  • 42-40629 The Scorpion

    B-24 Liberator
    The B-24D Liberator, 42-40629, The Scorpion, in the 8th Air Force, the 389th Bombardment Group, and the 565th Bomb Squadron, flew on Operation Tidal Wave, the bombing mission on the oil refineries, piloted by Lt. Kenneth M. Caldwell and Col. Jack Wood...

  • 42-40753

    B-24 Liberator
    The B-24D, 42-40753, was a Consolidated B-24D bomber from the 389th Bombardment Group, of the 8th Air Force, and the 564th Bomb Squadron from England. It's Command Pilot on Operation Tidal Wave, was 2nd Lt. Lloyd Hughes, and his crew. They flew on...

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Units

  • 9th Air Force
  • 376th Bomb Group

    376th Bomb Group

    Group
    Constituted as 376th Bombardment Group (Heavy) on 19 Oct 1942 and activated in Palestine on 31 Oct. Began combat immediately, using B-24 aircraft. Operated with Ninth AF from bases in the Middle East, Nov 1942-Sep 1943, and with Twelfth AF from Tunisia...

  • 98th Bomb Group

    98th Bomb Group

    Group
    The 98th trained for bombardment missions with B-24 Liberators during the first half of 1942. ...

  • 344th Bomb Squadron

    344th Bomb Squadron

    Squadron
    The 344th Bombing Squadron was first activated at MacDill Field, Florida as one of the original three squadrons assigned to the 98th Bombardment Group. The 344th soon moved to Barksdale Field, Louisiana, where it began to train as a Consolidated B-24...

People

  • Neville Benson

    Military | Staff Sergeant | B-24 Waist Gunner | 98th Bomb Group
    SSgt. Neville C. Bensen took part in Operation Tidal Wave, the raid on Ploesti on 1 August 1943. He was a waist gunner in the Element Lead B-24D Liberator, 41-11825, Hail Columbia, piloted by Col. John R. "Killer" Kane and Lt. John S. Young. He...

  • Gilbert Hadley

    Military | First Lieutenant | B-24D Command Pilot | 98th Bomb Group
    Lt. Gilbert Ben Hadley ...

  • Raymond Hubbard

    Military | First Lieutenant | Radio Operator | 98th Bomb Group
    Lt. Raymond B. Hubbard was assigned to the 9th Air force, the 98th Bombardment Group, and the 344th Bombing Squadron in Libya, North Africa, 1943. He flew in Operation Tidal Wave, the raid on Ploesti on 1 August 1943, flying as a Waist Gunner and Radio...

  • John Kane

    Military | Colonel | B-24 Bomb Group Commanding Officer / B-24 Command Pilot | 98th Bomb Group
    John Riley Kane was a colonel in the United States Army Air Corps and later the United States Air Force. He received the U.S. military's highest decoration, the Congressional Medal of Honor, in World War II, for his leadership, courage, and heroism for...

  • Harold Korger

    Military | Colonel | B-24 - B-52 Bombardier | 98th Bomb Group
    Lt. Harold Francis Korger was a bombardier in the 344th Bombardment Squadron, the 98th Bomb Group, and the 9th Air Force, based in Benghazi, Libya. He flew on the B-24D, Hail Columbia, with Group Leader Col. John R. Kane, on the famous mission,...

  • Joseph LaBranche

    Military | Staff Sergeant (3rd Grade) | Gunner | 98th Bomb Group
    Took part in Operation Tidal Wave, the raid on Ploesti on 1 August 1943, flying in B-24 Liberator 41-11825, Hail Columbia. 1 Aug 1943.

  • Frederick Leard

    Military | Technical Sergeant | Right Waist Gunner | 98th Bomb Group
    Technical Sgt. Frederick A. Leard was a waist gunner assigned to the Element Lead B-24D Liberator bomber, named 'Hail Columbia', SN # 41-11825, flown by Col. John R. "Killer" Kane and Lt. John S. Young on Operation Tidal Wave, the large mission to...

  • Royden LeBrecht

    Military | Captain | B-24 Command Pilot | 98th Bomb Group
    Lt. Royden Louis LeBrecht was a B-24D command pilot in the 9th Air force, the 98th Bomb Group, and the 344th Bomb Squadron. He flew his B-24D, he named, The Squaw, on Operation Tidal Wave, the large mission to destroy the German held oil refineries at...

  • William Leo

    Military | Sergeant | Gunner | 98th Bomb Group
    Took part in Operation Tidal Wave, the raid on Ploesti on 1 August 1943, flying in B-24 Liberator 41-11825.

  • Samuel Neeley

    Military | First Lieutenant | B-24D Command Pilot | 98th Bomb Group
    Pilot Lt. Samual Neeley was a B-24 Bomber pilot in the Mediterranean Theater of Operations in WWII. He served in the 9th Air force, the 98th Bomb Group, and the 344th bomb Squadron in North Africa, flying bombing and strafing missions, mostly against...

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Missions

  • Operation Tidal Wave

    1 August 1943
    Operation TIDAL WAVE. B-24D Liberators attack the oil refineries at Ploesti, Romania. The bombers flew low to avoid radar detection and dropped time delayed bombs. Out of the 177 B-24s that took part in the raid 167 managed to attack their targets. 57...

Places

  • Mellaha

    Military site : airfield

  • Berca

    Military site : airfield

  • Lete

    Military site : airfield

Events

Event Location Date
Survived Ploesti mission Ploiești, Romania 1 August 1943

A veteran of the low-level Ploesti, Romania mission on August 1,43. She survived the Ploesti mission, though badly damaged with one engine out and two others damaged but running.

Crashed Cyprus 1 August 1943

A veteran of the low-level Ploesti, Romania mission on August 1,43. She crashed on the island of Cyprus returning from the mission and was abandoned.

Assigned Benghazi, Libya

9th Air Force, 98th Bomb Group, "The Pyramiders", 344th Bomb Squadron.

Revisions

Date Contributor Update
07 September 2021 07:42:10 Kickapoo Changes to description
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Information added. - Kickapoo

Date Contributor Update
07 September 2021 07:32:56 Kickapoo Changes to person associations
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Associations. - Kickapoo

Date Contributor Update
07 September 2021 07:28:46 Kickapoo Changes to nicknames, markings and description
Sources

Black Sunday - Michael Hill

Date Contributor Update
19 August 2021 00:22:30 Kickapoo Changes to markings and description
Sources

Updated aircraft names. - Kickapoo

Date Contributor Update
17 August 2021 13:11:58 Emily Changes to nicknames, markings and description
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Changed all instances of aircraft name into sentence case to as per best practice for accessibility.

Date Contributor Update
14 August 2021 09:32:41 Kickapoo Changes to description
Sources

Information added - Kickapoo

Date Contributor Update
14 August 2021 09:26:18 Kickapoo Changes to markings
Sources

Word and information changes - Kickapoo

Date Contributor Update
27 July 2021 07:51:46 Kickapoo Changes to markings
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Punctuation changes - Kickapoo

Date Contributor Update
27 July 2021 07:48:31 Kickapoo Changes to markings
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Wording, spacing, punctuation, and spelling changes for accuracy and clarity - Kickapoo

Date Contributor Update
27 July 2021 07:24:43 Kickapoo Changes to nicknames, markings and description
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Wording and details changed for accuracy and clarity - Kickapoo

Date Contributor Update
27 July 2021 06:56:18 Kickapoo Changes to nicknames, markings and description
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Word structure and changes for accuracy and clarity - Kickapoo

Date Contributor Update
20 July 2021 10:45:50 Kickapoo Changes to description
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Best Web - B-24 - HAIL COLUMBIA - Contributor - Bill Whitney

Date Contributor Update
20 July 2021 10:35:28 Kickapoo Changes to description
Sources

Best Web - B-24 - HAIL COLUMBIA - Contributor - Bill Whitney

Date Contributor Update
20 July 2021 10:31:54 Kickapoo Changes to markings
Sources

Best Web - B-24 - HAIL COLUMBIA - Contributor - Bill Whitney

Date Contributor Update
20 July 2021 10:30:00 Kickapoo Changes to nicknames, markings and description
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Best Web - B-24 - HAIL COLUMBIA - info Contributor Bill Whitney

Date Contributor Update
28 June 2021 09:36:17 Kickapoo Changes to aircraft associations
Sources

Black Sunday - Michael Hill

Date Contributor Update
28 June 2021 09:33:41 Kickapoo Changes to aircraft associations
Sources

Changes to connections - John S Young jr

Date Contributor Update
19 June 2021 05:46:20 Kickapoo Changes to nicknames
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Removed nicknames punctuation in names section - John S Young Jr

Date Contributor Update
19 June 2021 05:37:26 Kickapoo Changes to description
Sources

Spacing - John S Young Jr

Date Contributor Update
19 June 2021 05:30:15 Kickapoo Changes to description
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Spacing changes - John S Young Jr

Date Contributor Update
19 June 2021 05:24:55 Kickapoo Changes to description
Sources

Black Sunday - Michael Hill

Date Contributor Update
19 June 2021 05:19:42 Kickapoo Changes to description
Sources

Detail and letter spacing changes for clarity - John S Young Jr

Date Contributor Update
19 June 2021 05:13:39 Kickapoo Changes to description
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Spelling and letter spacing changes for accuracy and clarity - John S Young Jr

Date Contributor Update
19 June 2021 05:07:25 Kickapoo Changes to description
Sources

Detail changes made for accuracy - John S Young Jr

Date Contributor Update
11 June 2021 15:48:37 Kickapoo Changes to nicknames, markings and description
Sources

Spelling, punctuation, and wording changes for clarity - John S Young Jr

Date Contributor Update
03 June 2021 15:59:58 Emily Changes to nicknames
Sources

Reformatted aircraft nickname to remove unnecessary punctuation and quotation marks

Date Contributor Update
18 May 2021 19:28:50 jmoore43 Changes to description
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Added punctuation in the "Summary biography" to aid clarity.

Date Contributor Update
13 March 2021 21:27:09 jmoore43 Changes to description
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Added punctuation to the A/C “Description” to aid clarity.

Date Contributor Update
10 January 2021 01:07:33 Kickapoo Changes to markings and description
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Personal Archives - John S Young Jr

Date Contributor Update
23 December 2020 09:36:55 Al_Skiff Changes to description
Sources

http://www.b24bestweb.com

Date Contributor Update
23 December 2020 00:50:09 Kickapoo Changes to aircraft associations
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Black Sunday - Michael Hill ---- personal archives - John S Young Jr

Date Contributor Update
23 December 2020 00:45:21 Kickapoo Changes to description
Sources

Black Sunday - Michael Hill ---- personal archives - John S Young Jr

Date Contributor Update
23 December 2020 00:13:13 Kickapoo Changes to aircraft associations
Sources

Into The Fire - Duane Schultz

Date Contributor Update
23 December 2020 00:10:26 Kickapoo Changes to person associations and place associations
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personal archives - John S Young Jr

Date Contributor Update
18 December 2020 02:49:19 Kickapoo Changes to markings
Sources

personal archives - John S Young Jr

Date Contributor Update
18 December 2020 02:37:46 Kickapoo Changes to nicknames, markings and description
Sources

personal archives - John S Young Jr

Date Contributor Update
18 December 2020 02:31:04 Kickapoo Changes to description
Sources

personal archives - John S Young Jr

Date Contributor Update
18 December 2020 02:02:48 Kickapoo Changes to description
Sources

personal archives - John S Young Jr

Date Contributor Update
17 December 2020 06:07:00 Kickapoo Changes to nicknames and description
Sources

Black Sunday - Michael Hill

Date Contributor Update
17 December 2020 05:44:30 Kickapoo Changes to nicknames
Sources

Black Sunday - Michael Hill

Date Contributor Update
12 February 2020 11:59:01 Emily Changes to nicknames
Sources

Removed tidy symbols from nickname for clarity

Date Contributor Update
07 November 2019 16:23:16 Kickapoo Changes to nicknames and markings
Sources

Anatomy Of A Disaster -- Gen. Hoyt S. Vandenberg, Jr. ---- Black Sunday -- Michael Hill ----Into The Fire -- Duane Schultz ---- John S. Young, Jr. -- personal archives

Date Contributor Update
07 November 2019 16:20:36 Kickapoo Changes to markings
Sources

Anatomy Of A Disaster -- Gen. Hoyt S. Vandenberg, Jr. ---- Black Sunday -- Michael Hill ----Into The Fire -- Duane Schultz ---- John S. Young, Jr. -- personal archives

Date Contributor Update
08 July 2019 05:58:18 Kickapoo Changes to description and events
Sources

Anatomy Of A Disaster - Gen. Hoyt S. Vandenberg ---- Black Sunday - Michael Hill ---- Together We Served.com ---- Into The Fire - Duane Schultz ---- John S. Young - Personal Archive

Date Contributor Update
08 July 2019 05:40:12 Kickapoo Changes to media associations
Sources

Anatomy Of A Disaster - Gen. Hoyt S. Vandenberg ---- Black Sunday - Michael Hill ---- Together We Served.com ---- Into The Fire - Duane Schultz ---- John S. Young - Personal Archive

Date Contributor Update
01 July 2019 13:24:23 Kickapoo Changes to events
Sources

Anatomy Of A Disaster - Gen. Hoyt S. Vandenberg ---- Black Sunday - Michael Hill ---- Together We Served.com ---- Into The Fire - Duane Schultz

Date Contributor Update
25 December 2018 04:07:40 Kickapoo Changes to description
Sources

Their Finest Hour : Col. John R. Kane and Hail Columbia

Date Contributor Update
25 December 2018 03:55:31 Kickapoo Changes to description
Sources

Black Sunday - Michael Hill

Date Contributor Update
11 October 2018 00:03:18 Kickapoo Changes to unit associations and place associations
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Black Sunday - Michael Hill

Date Contributor Update
28 February 2018 10:37:50 Kickapoo Changes to unit associations
Sources

U.S. Air Force Archives

Date Contributor Update
28 February 2018 10:35:05 Kickapoo Changes to person associations
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Together We Served - U.S. Air Force Archives

Date Contributor Update
28 February 2018 10:25:36 Kickapoo Changes to unit associations
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Together We Served - Operation Tidal wave

Date Contributor Update
03 February 2018 12:28:19 Kickapoo Changes to description
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b24bestweb.com ~ 'Little Chief Big Dog'

Date Contributor Update
03 February 2018 12:07:04 Kickapoo Changes to description
Sources

"Operation Tidal Wave"

Date Contributor Update
03 February 2018 12:02:45 Kickapoo Changes to description
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"Together We served" "Operation Tidal Wave"

Date Contributor Update
14 January 2018 01:23:14 Kickapoo Changes to manufacturer and person associations
Sources

" Into The Fire " by Duane Cole Part III Chap 6 p. 104

Date Contributor Update
12 December 2017 14:02:30 ED-BB Changes to production block number and description
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Added details about the name "Grumpy" (source 11 November 2003 e-mail from Scott Flood, great-nephew of 41-11825 crew chief Charles Wilfred Brann)

Date Contributor Update
06 April 2015 16:46:55 Al_Skiff Changes to events
Sources

http://www.b24bestweb.com

Date Contributor Update
06 April 2015 16:20:33 Al_Skiff Changes to unit associations
Sources

http://www.b24bestweb.com

Date Contributor Update
06 April 2015 16:08:47 Al_Skiff Created entry with serial number, aircraft type, manufacturer, nicknames, description, events and mission associations
Sources

http://www.b24bestweb.com

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