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Addison E Baker

Military

Col. Addison Baker was the Commanding Officer of the 93rd Bomb Group, 8th Air Force from May 17, 1943 to August, 1943. Baker's Bomb Group, the 93rd, was one of three bomb groups from the Eighth Air Force in Britain that were sent to Benghazi, Libya to the 9th Air Force especially for Operation Tidal Wave to Ploesti. Col. Baker was killed in action on the raid on the Ploesti oil refineries, August 1, 1943.
Col Baker took to the air for the mission piloting the B-24 Liberator, 'Hell's Wench' (#42-40994). Baker led the 93rd, as the second formation in the five-group mission of 177 aircraft. Co-piloting his aircraft was a volunteer and former member of the 93d Bomb Group, Major John L. Jerstad. When Baker's force reached the target area, the mission leader's plane, 'Teggie Ann' turned east at their first initial point and flew towards Bucharest instead of north to Ploesti. Col. Baker and second in command of the 93rd, Col Walter Stewart in 'Utah Man' immediately broke radio silence and attempted to warn the mission commander, General Uzal Ent, of this error, but when they failed to respond and turn back to Ploesti, Baker and Jerstad broke formation and led the remainder of the force back to the correct IP, and turned back toward Ploesti, maintaining his formation to bomb his target as best he could. Although he was now attacking late and from the wrong direction, Col, Baker continued to lead and hold formation, as lead ship, for the 93rd and the following groups, as his plane, 'Hell's Wench' was quickly hit hard by the deadly and accurate ground flak. As he approached their target, Baker jettisoned his bombs as both of 'Hell's Wench's wings were hit, began leaking fuel, and quickly became engulfed in flames. At almost the same time, Baker and Jerstad had to break formation and pull up to avoid mid-air collisions with bombers from Col. John Kane's 98th lead group, now arriving in the target area from the opposite direction. With his aircraft failing now and almost totally engulfed in flames, Baker and Jerstad desperately tried to gain some altitude so that his crew could escape his burning plane by parachute. But their luck had run out, and their efforts were too late to save 'Hell's Wench', as it lost speed in the climb, rolled over, crashed, and exploded in flames at White I, the Columbia Aquilla Refinery, killing Baker, Jerstad, and all of the other nine crewmen aboard.

- Col. Addison Baker's body was never recovered, he was given a memorial site in Florence American Cemetery and Memorial, Florence, Italy. Col. Baker and his copilot, Major John Jerstad, were both posthumously awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor for their bravery, leadership, determination, and sacrifice over Ploesti, Romania.

~ For his distinguished military career in combat, Col. Baker was also awarded The Distinguished Service Cross, The Silver Star, The Distinguished Flying Cross, The Purple Heart, The Air Medal with 2 Oak Leaf Clusters, a Presidential Unit Citation, The American Defense Medal, The European African Middle Eastern Campaign Medal with a silver combat star, and The WWI Victory Medal.

Service

People

  • Addison Baker

    Military | Lieutenant Colonel | Air Group Commander / Command Pilot | 376th Bomb Group
    Col. Addison Baker was the Commanding Officer of the 93rd Bomb Group, 8th Air Force from May 17, 1943 to August, 1943. Baker's Bomb Group, the 93rd, was one of three bomb groups from the Eighth Air Force in Britain that were sent to Benghazi, Libya to...

  • Keith Compton

    Military | General | B-24 Command Pilot - Squadron Commander - Commanding Officer | 376th Bomb Group
    Keith Karl Compton (December 9, 1915 – June 15, 2004) was an American Air Force Lieutenant General who was Vice Commander in Chief, Strategic Air Command. He flew as Command Pilot with Gen. Uzal Ent on Operation Tidal Wave in the B-24D, 'Teggie Ann'...

  • Uzal Ent

    Military | Major General | Commanding General | 376th Bomb Group
    Uzal Girard Ent was an American Army Air Force officer who served as the commander of the 9th Air Force and subsequently the 2nd Air Force during World War II. He flew as mission commander on the Aug 1, 1943, Ploesti oil refinery raid...

  • John Jerstad

    Military | Major | Pilot | 376th Bomb Group
    Killed in Action (KIA) during Ploesti raid 1 August 1943 Held formation and bombed target after B-24 #42-240994 'Hell's Wench' was badly damaged. ...

  • 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...

  • John Palm

    Military | First Lieutenant | Pilot | 376th Bomb Group
    B-24

  • Robert Sternfels

    Military | Major | B-24 Command Bomber Pilot | 98th Bomb Group
    Lt. Robert Sternfels was a B-24D command bomber pilot in WWII in the 9th Air Force, the 98th Bombing Group, the Pyramiders, and the 345th Bombing Squadron, who flew the famous B-24D bomber, 'The Sandman' on the mission Operation Tidal Wave to bomb the...

  • Walter Stewart

    Military | Colonel | Pilot | 93rd Bomb Group
    In 1941, Stewart was a 24 year-old, U.S. Army Air Force cadet at the University of Utah. "We were pulling guns around with horses as a plane flew overhead. Jack Adamson, who had been my mission companion, said to me, `There's a war coming.' Later that...

  • John Young

    Military | Major | B-24 Command Pilot | 98th Bomb Group
    Lieutenant John S. Young from Dallas Texas was a B-24D Liberator bomber pilot with the 9th Air Force, 98th Bomb Group and the 344th Bombing Squadron, based at Cairo, Egypt, Tobruk, and Benghazi, Libya, in the Mediterranean theatre 1942-3. ...

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Units served with

  • 8th Air Force

    8th Air Force

    Command

  • 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...

  • 93rd Bomb Group

    93rd Bomb Group

    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...

  • Headquarters (93rd Bomb Group)
  • 9th Air Force

Aircraft

  • 41-24226 'Utah Man' 'Joisey Bounce'

    B-24 Liberator
    Assigned to Col. Walter T. Stewart of the 330 Bomb Squadron, 93rd Bomb Group, 8th Air Force, USAAF for the mission to bomb the refineries at Ploesti Ag 11 1943. Col. Stewart took command of the 93rd Bomb Group after the Group Leader, Col. Addison...

  • 42-40994 'Hell's Wench'

    B-24 Liberator
    On August 1, 1943, the B-24D bomber 'Hells Wench', Serial # 42-40994, of the 93d Bomb Group, one of three groups from the Eighth Air Force sent from England to Benghazi, Libya to help the Ninth Air Force, for the largest air mission, so far, in WWII,...

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...

Associated Place

Events

Event Location Date
Born Chicago, Illinois 1 January 1907
Died 1 August 1943
Buried

Commemorated on the Wall of the Missing, Florence American Cemetery.

Revisions

Date Contributor Update
17 July 2019 19:38:40 Kickapoo Changes to biography
Sources

Black Sunday - Michael Hill ---- Wikipedia - Addison E Baker

Date Contributor Update
17 July 2019 19:30:43 Kickapoo Changes to biography and unit associations
Sources

Black Sunday - Michael Hill ---- Wikipedia - Addison E Baker

Date Contributor Update
15 July 2019 07:43:40 Kickapoo Changes to biography
Sources

Anatomy Of A Disaster - Gen. Hoyt S. Vandenberg ---- Black Sunday - Michael Hill ---- Into The Fire - Duane Schultz ---- TogetherWeServed.com ---- FindAGrave.com ---- Personal Archives - John S. Young

Date Contributor Update
28 November 2018 08:26:22 Kickapoo Changes to person associations
Sources

Black sunday - Michael Hill

Date Contributor Update
24 November 2018 01:56:11 Kickapoo Changes to biography
Sources

Black Sunday - Michael Hill

Date Contributor Update
24 November 2018 01:42:00 Kickapoo Changes to role, person associations and place associations
Sources

Black sunday - Michael Hill

Date Contributor Update
24 November 2018 01:36:10 Kickapoo Changes to biography
Sources

Black Sunday - Michael Hill

Date Contributor Update
23 November 2018 03:44:39 Kickapoo Changes to biography
Sources

Wings of valor II - The Ploesti Raid

Date Contributor Update
09 November 2014 20:15:44 Lee8thbuff Changes to biography, awards and events
Sources

Lee Cunningham 9-Nov-2014: CO informration: http://www.usaaf.com/8thaf/bomber/93bg.HTM; Decoration/Commemoration: American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC).

Date Contributor Update
27 September 2014 18:02:47 AAM AAM ingest
Sources

Drawn from the records of the National Museum of the Mighty Eighth Air Force, Savannah, Georgia / Freeman, MOH Citation

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