Skip to main content
Edit entry 

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' (Serial #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 turned at their first initial point and flew towards Bucharest instead of Ploesti, off to their right. Baker 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 in 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 they approached their target. Both of 'Hell's Wench's wings were hit and quickly became engulfed in flames, leaking fuel. 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 attempted desperately 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, determination, and sacrifice over Ploesti, Romania.

Service

People

  • Addison Baker

    Military | Lieutenant Colonel | Air Group Commander / Command Pilot | 93rd 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 over the Ploesti oil...

  • John Jerstad

    Military | Major | Pilot | 93rd 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. MOH/ SS/ AM

  • John Kane

    Military | Colonel | Command Pilot | 98th Bomb Group
    John Riley Kane (January 5, 1907 – May 29, 1996) was a colonel in the United States Army Air Forces and later the United States Air Force, who received the U.S. military's highest decoration, the Medal of Honor, in World War II. ...

  • 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 who flew the famous B-24D bomber, 'The Sandman' on the mission Operation Tidal Wave to bomb the oil refineries at Ploesti, Romania, August 1, 1943. After enlisting as an Air Force pilot in...

  • Walter Stewart

    Military | Colonel | B-24 Bomber Command Pilot | 93rd Bomb Group
    Walter Stewart was a B-24 bomber command pilot in WWII in the 8th Air Force, 93rd Bombing 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...

  • John Young

    Military | Major | Command Bomber Pilot | 376th Bomb Group
    Captain John S. Young from Dallas Texas was a WWII B-24D Liberator bomber command pilot with the 9th Air Force, the 98th Bomb Group, and the 344th Bombing Squadron, the Pyramiders, based at Cairo, Egypt, Tobruk, and Benghazi, Libya, in 1942-3. He flew...

Show more

Units served with

  • 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)

Aircraft

  • 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
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

Share