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John Clark Riley


During Operation Tidal Wave on 1 August 1943, Riley and his crew of the 93rd Bomb Group were placed on temporary duty with the 98th Bomb Group. Riley served as Co-pilot aboard B-24 Liberator 'Kickapoo', with a pilot from the 98th Bomb Group. During his takeoff run, 'Kickapoo' had a complete engine failure and fire. The pilot turned out over the sea, jettisoned his bombs, and was trying to make his second approach back into the Lete runway when he lost all power on short final into the runway, sank into a concrete post, hitting it with his left wing, and cartwheeled into the ground in flames killing all but two of the crew.



  • Robert Nespor

    Military | First Lieutenant | Command Pilot | 98th Bomb Group
    . ...

Units served with

  • 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...

  • 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...

  • 98th Bomb Group

    98th Bomb Group

    The 98th trained for bombardment missions with B-24 Liberators during the first half of 1942. ...

  • 330th Bomb Squadron


  • 41-11768 'Kickapoo'

    B-24 Liberator
    ~ B-24D Liberator #41-11768, 'Kickapoo', of the 344th Bombing Squadron, 98th Bomb Group, 9th Air Force. This airplane was Lt. John S. Young's second regular aircraft in the Mediterranean theater after he lost his first B-24, which was shot down...


  • 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

  • Lete

    Military site : airfield


Event Location Date
Born Oklahoma, USA 9 February 1919

Feb. 9, 1919.

Killed in action Benghazi, Libya 1 August 1943

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 toward the field to land, then a wing touched the ground and she smashed into a concrete pole and burst into flames. KIA.

Lived in Oklahoma, USA
Assigned Benghazi, Libya

344th BS, 98th BG, 9th AF.


Date Contributor Update
06 August 2019 13:36:50 Emily Changes to biography, events, unit associations, place associations and media associations

Brought together information from duplicate record added by user Kickapoo from Black Sunday , by Michael Hill

Consolidated Kickapoo's biographies into one narrative, and made corrections and added further information from Ploesti Roster, < a href="">Find a Grave, Sortie Reports for the Ploesti mission held in Roger Freeman's document collection , in which the circumstances of the crash are widely reported, and Fortress Ploesti by Jay Stout.

Date Contributor Update
08 March 2017 15:14:44 general ira snapsorter Changes to events and unit associations

Merged with duplicate entry to include details from:
- the records of the National Museum of the Mighty Eighth Air Force, Savannah, Georgia

Date Contributor Update
18 April 2015 14:59:26 Al_Skiff Created entry with surname, middlename, firstname, suffix, nationality, service number, highest rank, role, biography, events, unit associations, aircraft associations and mission associations
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