Skip to main content
Edit entry 

41-11825

B-24 Liberator

This aircraft originally served in the 344th BS as 'HAIL COLUMBIA'. It was 344th CO Col. John R. Kane's personal aircraft until Kane became 98th BG CO and turned it over to Herman "Big-Dog" Lewis. Lewis changed the right side nose art to 'LITTLE-CHIEF BIG-DOG' but retained 'HAIL COLUMBIA' on the left side. Following the death of Lewis in another ship, the airplane was transferred to the 343rd BS where the left side art work was changed to 'GRUMPY' in compliance with the Snow White Squadron directive. Wilfred Brann was the crew chief of 'GRUMPY' in the 343rd. 'LITTLE-CHIEF BIG-DOG' had been removed prior to the Rome mission of July 19, 1943. Just prior to the low level Ploesti mission, 98th Group CO John R. "Killer" Kane had the airplane returned to the 344th BS where a new form of the original 'HAIL COLUMBIA' nose art quickly replaced 'GRUMPY'. According to Scott Flood, great-nephew of the #41-11825's crew chief, Charles Wilfred Brann, the name 'Grumpy' was chosen for Brann, "reflecting his personality : a short, stocky man, rather very gruff and grumpy on the outside." Flood also wrote that it was the name 'Hail Columbia' that 'Grumpy' was changed into for the Ploesti mission. The nine crewmen aboard 'Hail Columbia' for the Ploesti mission were : First Lieutenant Norman Whelan (Navigator), Staff Sergeant Neville C. Benson (Waist Gunner), First Lieutenant Raymond B. Hubbard (Radioman), Second Lieutenant Harold F. Korger (Bombardier), Sergeant Joseph W. LaBranche (Gunner), Technical Sergeant Frederick A. Leard (Waist Gunner), Sergeant William Leo (Gunner), Staff Sergeant Harvey L. Treace (Gunner), Technical Sergeant Fred Weckkessler (Flight Engineer/Top Turret Gunner), and First Lieutenant John S. Young (Co-Pilot) – all received the Distinguished Flying Cross for the mission, except Lt. Whelan, who was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross. #41-11825 crash landed on the island of Cyprus returning from the Ploesti mission and was abandoned, with the entire crew of the 'Hail Columbia' having survived the mission.

Service

Units

  • 344th Bomb Squadron

    344th Bomb Squadron


    Established as a B-24 Liberator heavy bomb squadron and trained by Third Air Force. Deployed to Egypt in June 1942 over South Atlantic Transport Route transiting from Morrison Field, Florida though the Caribbean to Brazil; performed trans-Atlantic...

  • 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. ...

  • 9th Air Force

People

  • John Kane

    Military | Colonel | B-24 Command Pilot - 98th Bomb Group Commander | 98th Bomb Group
    John Riley Kane (January 5, 1907 – May 29, 1996) 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...

  • Harold Korger

    Military | Colonel | Bombardier | 98th Bomb Group
    Lt. Harold Korger was a bombardier in the 344th Bombardment Squadron, 98th Bomb Group, 9th AF on Capt. John Young's crew in a B-24 named 'Kickapoo'. He flew on the famous mission, Operation Tidal Wave, to knock out the oil refineries at Ploesti,...

  • Norman Whalen

    Military | Major | Navigator / Nose Gunner | 98th Bomb Group
    Norman Whalen joined the Army Air Corps in 1941. After graduating from Navigator School in Monroe, Louisiana, he received his commission as a Second Lieutenant and was assigned to the 9th Air force, the 98th Bomb Group, and the 344th Bombing Squadron...

  • John Young

    Military | Major | B-24 Command Bomber Pilot | 376th Bomb Group
    Lieutenant John S. Young from Dallas Texas was a WWII B-24D Liberator bomber pilot with the 9th Air Force, the "Force For Freedom", the 98th Bomb Group the, "Pyramiders", and the 344th Bombing Squadron, based at Cairo, Egypt, Tobruk, and Benghazi,...

Missions

  • Operation Tidal Wave

    1 August 1943
    Operation TIDAL WAVE. B24D 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 B24Ds that took part in the raid 167 managed to attack their targets. 57...

Places

Events

Event Location Date
Crashed Cyprus 1 August 1943

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

Assigned Benghazi, Libya

343rd BS, 98th BG "The Pyramiders", 9th AF.

Survived Ploesti Ploiești, Romania

A veteran of the low-level Ploesti, Rumania mission on August 1,43 she crashed on the island of Cyprus returning from the mission.

Revisions

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
Sources

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
Sources

Together We Served - U.S. Air Force Archives

Date Contributor Update
28 February 2018 10:25:36 Kickapoo Changes to unit associations
Sources

Together We Served - Operation Tidal wave

Date Contributor Update
03 February 2018 12:28:19 Kickapoo Changes to description
Sources

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
Sources

"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
Sources

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

Share