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2nd Lt. John Clark Riley from the 8th Air Force, and the 93rd Bomb Group was assigned to fly as a replacement copilot with his command pilot, Lt. Robert Nespor, in John Young's regular airplane, Kickapoo, for the large Ploesti mission. Kickapoo suffered a catastrophic failure of it's number 4 engine on takeoff for the mission and crashed in flames, killing Lt. Nespor, John Riley, and all but two of their replacement crew - killed in action, 8 KIA, 2 WIA - RTS. They were the first of over three hundred casualties on Operation Tidal Wave, before the mission had even started. August 1, 1943.



  • 8th Air Force

    8th Air Force

    Eighth Air Force Bomber Command became the Eighth Air Force on February 1944, it oversaw bombardment of strategic targets in Europe until 1945. ...

  • 9th Air Force
  • 93rd Bomb Group

    93rd Bomb Group

    93rd Bombardment Group (Heavy) was activated 1-March-1942 at Barksdale Field, Louisiana. On 15-May-1942 the Group moved to Ft. Myers, Florida to continue advanced flight training and also to fly anti-submarine patrols over the Gulf of Mexico; they...


  • John Riley

    Military | Second Lieutenant | B-24 Co-Pilot
    2nd Lt. John Clark Riley was a B-24D pilot in the 9th Air Force, the 93rd Bomb Group, and the 330th Bomb Squadron at Benghazi, Libya, in the Mediterranean theater (MTO) during WWII. Lt. Riley and his command Pilot Robert Nespor from the 98th Bomb...

  • John Young

    Military | Major | B-24 Command Pilot
    Lt. John S. Young was born and raised in Dallas, Texas. Bored with college at SMU in Dallas, and knowing the country was headed for war, he joined the Army Air Force early in 1941 and began training as an aviation cadet. He was known as "Johnny" or ...


  • 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...


  • Lete

    Military site : airfield


Date Contributor Update
05 September 2021 11:26:35 Kickapoo Changes to caption, unit associations, person associations, place associations, aircraft associations and mission associations

Black Sunday - Michael Hill

Date Contributor Update
04 January 2021 17:39:52 Al_Skiff Created entry with caption, unit associations and person associations

USAAF Photo.