Skip to main content
Edit entry 

41-11768

B-24 Liberator

B-24 liberator #41-11768, 'Kickapoo', of the 344th Bombing Squadron, 98th Bomb Group, 9th Air Force. This was Capt. John S. Young's second regular aircraft after he lost his first B-24 in theater, which was shot down earlier in 1943 in an air fight near the island of Crete. Later in August of '43, for Operation Tidal Wave, the low-level mission against Ploesti, Capt. Young and most of his regular crew on the 'Kickapoo' were assigned by Col. John R. Kane to fly with him in the 98th's lead ship, the B-24, 'Hail Columbia', renamed by Kane for his alma mater, Columbia University. The 'Kickapoo' was reassigned to the 376th Bomb Group's Lt. Robert Nespor and a replacement crew for the mission. But fate dealt Lt. Nespor and his crew a very bad hand when 'Kickapoo''s number 4 engine failed at the worst possible time, on takeoff just after getting airborne for the mission. Lt. Robert Nespor was killed desperately trying to maneuver the 'Kickapoo', his stricken and now burning B-24 back to land, trying heroically to save his valuable ship instead of ditching it in the Mediterranean Sea. After jettisoning all of his bombs over the water, Nespor requested being guided back to the field for an emergency landing, but was forced to abort and circle around, due to conflicting aircraft on the runway. He again made a second approach the field from the West. In doing so, he lost power in his remaining three engines. On short final approach, now on fire and sinking with no power, 'Kickapoo''s wing tip clipped a concrete pole, cartwheeling the plane into the ground where it exploded in flames, killing Lt. Nespor, copilot Lt. John Riley, and all but two of the rest of the crew, who survived despite severe burns. The photo above, of the crew standing in front of 41-11768, shows Capt. John Young on the far right hand side of this photo and his crew, the original crew of 'Kickapoo', which was named by Capt. Young after "Kickapoo Joy Juice" from Al Capp's cartoon, "Dogpatch". Capt. Young was one of the tallest man in the 98th Bomb Group at 6'2". Also pictured are Lt. Norman, "The Baron", Whalen, his navigator, and Lt. Harold Korger, his bombardier, all hand picked by Col. John R. Kane to fly with him in 'Hail Columbia' along with the rest of Young's crew. - John Kane, John Young, and all the men in 'Hail Columbia' survived the Ploesti mission without injury. The 98th Bomb Group sustained 46 percent casualties over White IV.
- Capt. John S. Young - Pilot - Reassigned to 'Hail Columbia' for Ploesti mission
- Lt. Norman M. Whalen - Navigator - Reassigned to 'Hail Columbia' for Ploesti mission - Lt. Harold F. Korger - Bombardier - Reassigned to 'Hail Columbia' for Ploesti mission - Fredrick A. Leard - Waist Gunner - Reassigned to 'Hail Columbia' for Ploesti Mission - William Leo - Tail Gunner - Reassigned to 'Hail Columbia' for Ploesti mission - Raymond B. Hubbard - Radio Operator - Reassigned To 'Hail Columbia' for Ploesti mission - Joseph J. LaBranche - TB - Reassigned to 'Hail Columbia' for Ploesti mission - Harvey L. Treace - Engineer Top Turret - Reassigned to 'Hail Columbia' for Ploesti mission - Nevill C. Bensen - Waist Gunner - Reassigned to 'Hail Columbia' for Ploesti mission - 'Hail Columbia' completed mission, crash landed Cyprus. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- ------- 1st Lt. Robert J. Nespor - Pilot (KIA) - 2nd Lt. John C. Riley - Co Pilot (KIA) Detached Service from 93rd BG
2nd Lt. Russell W. Polivka - Navigator (WIA) D.S. from 93rd BG
T/Sgt. Vaun D. Wenrich - Engineer/Top Turret (KIA) D.S. from 93rd BG T/Sgt. Armand R. Massart - Radio Op (KIA) D.S. from 93rd BG
S/Sgt. George W. Lawlor - Gunner (KIA) D.S. from 93rd BG S/Sgt. Edwin G. Sliwa - Gunner (KIA) D.S. from 93rd BG
S/Sgt. Eugene R. Garner - Gunner (WIA) D.S. from 93rd BG S/Sgt. John P. D'Armour - Gunner (KIA) D.S. from 93rd BG. ~ 'Kickapoo' crashed on takeoff for Ploesti 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...

  • 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 D'Amour

    Military | Staff Sergeant | Gunner | 93rd Bomb Group
    Crew member of B-24 liberator 41-11768 'Kickapoo' of 344th BS, 98th BG, 9th AF. Crashed shortly after take-off for the August 1, 43 low-level Ploesti, Romania mission. She lost an engine just after getting airborne and then caught fire while banking...

  • Eugene Garner

    Military | Staff Sergeant | Gunner | 93rd Bomb Group
    Crew member B-24 liberator 41-11768 'Kickapoo' of 344th BS, 98th BG, 9th AF. Crashed shortly after take-off for the August 1, 43 low-level Ploesti, Romania mission. She lost an engine just after getting airborne and then caught fire while banking back...

  • 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 graduated from Bombardier School at Midland Field in 1942 and was commissioned a 2nd Lt. In February...

  • George Lawlor

    Military | Staff Sergeant | Gunner | 93rd Bomb Group
    Crew member B-24 liberator 41-11768 'Kickapoo' of 344th BS, 98th BG, 9th AF. Crashed shortly after take-off for the August 1, 43 low-level Ploesti, Romania mission. She lost an engine just after getting airborne and then caught fire while banking back...

  • Armand Massart

    Military | Technical Sergeant | Radio Operator | 93rd Bomb Group
    Crew member B-24 liberator 41-11768 'Kickapoo' of 344th BS, 98th BG, 9th AF. Crashed shortly after take-off for the August 1, 43 low-level Ploesti, Romania mission. She lost an engine just after getting airborne and then caught fire while banking back...

  • Robert Nespor

    Military | First Lieutenant | Pilot | 93rd Bomb Group
    Lt. Nespor was a B-24 command bomber pilot of the 330th BS, 93rd Bomb Group, 9th AF. He was reassigned to fly the B-24 Liberator #41-11768, 'Kickapoo', of the 344th BS, 98th BG, 9th AF for Operation Tidal Wave, the Ploesti oil refineries mission. He...

  • Russell Polivka

    Military | Second Lieutenant | Navigator | 93rd Bomb Group
    Navigator B-24 liberator 41-11768 'Kickapoo' of 344th BS, 98th BG, 9th AF. Crashed shortly after take-off for the August 1, 43 low-level Ploesti, Romania mission. She lost an engine just after getting airborne and then caught fire while banking back...

  • John Riley

    Military | Second Lieutenant | Co Pilot | 93rd Bomb Group
    Co Pilot B-24 liberator #41-11768 'Kickapoo' of 344th BS, 98th BG, 9th AF. Crashed shortly after take-off for the August 1, 43 low-level Ploesti, Romania mission. She lost an engine just after getting airborne and then caught fire while banking back...

  • John Riley

    Military | Second Lieutenant | Pilot B-24D
    Lt. John Riley lost his life, as one of the first casualties of "Operation Tidal Wave" on August 1st, 1943, one of the biggest, most important, and most daring air raids of WWII, coming in at tree top level to destroy the Germans' Romanian oil...

  • Edwin Sliwa

    Military | Staff Sergeant | Gunner | 93rd Bomb Group
    Crew member B-24 liberator 41-11768 'Kickapoo' of 344th BS, 98th BG, 9th AF. Crashed shortly after take-off for the August 1, 43 low-level Ploesti, Romania mission. She lost an engine just after getting airborne and then caught fire while banking back...

Show more

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...

Events

Event Location Date
Crashed Benghazi, Libya 1 August 1943

Crashed shortly after take-off for the August 1, 43 low-level Ploesti, Romania mission. She lost No 4 engine just after getting airborne, after jettisoning all bombs at sea, Kickapoo was guided back for an emergency landing. Due to a conflicting aircraft on the runway, 1st Lt Nespor was forced to approach the field from the West. In doing so a wing tip smashed into a concrete pole and burst into flames, killing Nespor and all but two of the crew.

Revisions

Date Contributor Update
03 December 2018 09:08:24 Kickapoo Changes to description
Sources

Black Sunday - Michael Hill

Date Contributor Update
15 November 2018 14:20:16 Kickapoo Changes to description
Sources

Black Sunday - Michael Hill

Date Contributor Update
15 October 2018 23:07:56 Kickapoo Changes to description
Sources

Black Sunday - Michael Hill - The Dallas Morning News

Date Contributor Update
15 October 2018 03:11:04 Kickapoo Changes to description
Sources

Black Sunday - Michael Hill The Dallas Morning News

Date Contributor Update
15 October 2018 03:08:43 Kickapoo Changes to description
Sources

Black Sunday - Michael Hill The Dallas Morning News

Date Contributor Update
15 October 2018 03:00:55 Kickapoo Changes to markings and description
Sources

Black Sunday - Michael Hill The Dallas Morning News

Date Contributor Update
10 October 2018 23:49:23 Kickapoo Changes to description
Sources

Black Sunday - Michael Hill

Date Contributor Update
10 October 2018 23:47:48 Kickapoo Changes to description
Sources

Black Sunday - Michael Hill

Date Contributor Update
10 October 2018 23:35:32 Kickapoo Changes to description
Sources

Black Sunday - Michael Hill

Date Contributor Update
10 October 2018 23:24:25 Kickapoo Changes to description
Sources

Black Sunday - Michael Hill

Date Contributor Update
10 October 2018 23:05:03 Kickapoo Changes to description
Sources

Black Sunday - Michael Hill

Date Contributor Update
08 April 2018 05:49:02 Kickapoo Changes to description
Sources

Kickapoo and it's original crew. Capt. John S. Young from Dallas, Texas is on the far right.

Date Contributor Update
10 March 2018 08:48:41 Kickapoo Changes to description
Sources

Burning Hitler's Black Gold by Robert Sternfels

Date Contributor Update
10 March 2018 08:44:11 Kickapoo Changes to description
Sources

Burning Hitler's Black Gold by Robert Sternfels

Date Contributor Update
11 February 2018 15:21:19 Kickapoo Changes to description
Sources

Operation Tidal Wave

Date Contributor Update
11 February 2018 15:10:27 Kickapoo Changes to nicknames
Sources

Operation Tidal Wave

Date Contributor Update
15 January 2018 13:43:12 Kickapoo Changes to description
Sources

Air Force - Together We Served

Date Contributor Update
15 January 2018 13:42:17 Kickapoo Changes to description
Sources

Air Force - Together We Served

Date Contributor Update
15 January 2018 13:41:21 Kickapoo Changes to description
Sources

Air Force - Together We Served

Date Contributor Update
15 January 2018 13:39:47 Kickapoo Changes to description
Sources

Air Force - Together We Served

Date Contributor Update
15 January 2018 13:37:29 Kickapoo Changes to description
Sources

Air Force - Together We Served

Date Contributor Update
15 January 2018 13:36:09 Kickapoo Changes to description
Sources

Air Force - Together We Served

Date Contributor Update
15 January 2018 13:34:59 Kickapoo Changes to description
Sources

Air force - Together We Served

Date Contributor Update
15 January 2018 13:33:02 Kickapoo Changes to description
Sources

Air force - Together We served

Date Contributor Update
15 January 2018 13:31:15 Kickapoo Changes to description
Sources

Air Force - Together We Served

Date Contributor Update
15 January 2018 13:23:02 Kickapoo Changes to description
Sources

Air Force - Together We Served

Date Contributor Update
15 January 2018 13:22:05 Kickapoo Changes to description
Sources

Air Force - Together We Served

Date Contributor Update
15 January 2018 13:21:24 Kickapoo Changes to description
Sources

Air Force - Together We Served

Date Contributor Update
15 January 2018 13:20:42 Kickapoo Changes to description
Sources

Air Force - Together We Served

Date Contributor Update
15 January 2018 13:19:58 Kickapoo Changes to description
Sources

Air Force - Together We Served

Date Contributor Update
15 January 2018 13:19:03 Kickapoo Changes to description
Sources

Air Force - Together We Served

Date Contributor Update
15 January 2018 13:18:17 Kickapoo Changes to description
Sources

Air Force - Together We Served

Date Contributor Update
15 January 2018 13:17:33 Kickapoo Changes to description
Sources

Air Force - Together We Served

Date Contributor Update
15 January 2018 13:16:50 Kickapoo Changes to description
Sources

Air Force - Together We Served

Date Contributor Update
15 January 2018 13:15:46 Kickapoo Changes to description
Sources

Air Force - Together We Served

Date Contributor Update
15 January 2018 13:14:56 Kickapoo Changes to description
Sources

Air Force - Together We Served

Date Contributor Update
15 January 2018 13:13:50 Kickapoo Changes to description
Sources

Air Force - Together We Served

Date Contributor Update
15 January 2018 13:13:03 Kickapoo Changes to description
Sources

Air Force - Together We Served

Date Contributor Update
15 January 2018 13:11:46 Kickapoo Changes to description
Sources

Air Force - Together We Served

Date Contributor Update
15 January 2018 13:10:45 Kickapoo Changes to description
Sources

Air Force - Together We Served

Date Contributor Update
15 January 2018 13:09:35 Kickapoo Changes to description
Sources

Air Force - Together We Served

Date Contributor Update
15 January 2018 13:07:56 Kickapoo Changes to description
Sources

Air Force - Together We Served

Date Contributor Update
15 January 2018 13:06:53 Kickapoo Changes to description
Sources

Air Force - Together We Served

Date Contributor Update
15 January 2018 13:05:25 Kickapoo Changes to description
Sources

Air Force - Together We Served

Date Contributor Update
15 January 2018 13:03:08 Kickapoo Changes to description
Sources

Air Force - Together We Served

Date Contributor Update
15 January 2018 13:01:30 Kickapoo Changes to description
Sources

Air Force - Together We Served

Date Contributor Update
15 January 2018 12:57:39 Kickapoo Changes to description
Sources

Air Force - Together We served

Date Contributor Update
15 January 2018 12:53:43 Kickapoo Changes to description and events
Sources

Air Force - Together We Served

Date Contributor Update
14 January 2018 01:09:24 Kickapoo Changes to description and events
Sources

" Into the Fire " by Duane Schultz Part III Chap 6 p. 104, 105

Date Contributor Update
14 January 2018 00:59:56 Kickapoo Changes to description
Sources

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

Date Contributor Update
13 January 2018 15:02:31 Kickapoo Changes to manufacturer
Sources

The Consolidated Vultee Aircraft Co. in Fort Worth, Texas built the B-24D, named "Kickapoo".

Date Contributor Update
18 October 2017 23:24:38 Kickapoo Changes to markings
Sources

41-11768 B-24D Kickapoo

Date Contributor Update
18 October 2017 22:16:34 Kickapoo Changes to description
Sources

41-11768 This photo is the original crew of the Kickapoo. The Kickapoo was named by Capt. John S. Young from Dallas, Texas after "Kickapoo Joy Juice" from Al Capp's cartoon, Dogpatch. Capt. Young is on the far right hand side of this photo. He was the tallest man in the 98th Bomb Group at 6'3". Also pictured are Lt. Norman "The Baron" Whalen, his navigator, and Lt. Harold Korger, his bombardier. All three were hand picked by Col. John R. Kane to fly with him in the Hail Columbia for the mission over Ploesti, Rumania. All three men survived the mission and the war, as did Col. Kane.

Date Contributor Update
18 October 2017 22:10:29 Kickapoo Changes to events
Sources

41-11768 This photo is the original crew of the Kickapoo. The Kickapoo was named by Capt. John S. Young from Dallas, Texas after "Kickapoo Joy Juice" from Al Capp's cartoon, Dogpatch. Capt. Young is on the far right hand side of this photo. He was the tallest man in the 98th Bomb Group at 6'3". Also pictured are Lt. Norman "The Baron" Whalen, his navigator, and Lt. Harold Korger, his bombardier. All three were hand picked by Col. John R. Kane to fly with him in the Hail Columbia for the mission over Ploesti, Rumania. All three men survived the mission and the war, as did Col. Kane.

Date Contributor Update
18 April 2015 14:11:47 Al_Skiff Created entry with serial number, aircraft type, production block number, manufacturer, nicknames, description, events, unit associations, mission associations and media associations
Sources

http://www.findagrave.com / http://usaafdata.com

Share