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John Clark Riley

Military

Lt. John Clark Riley was a B-24 pilot in the 9th Air Force, the 93rd Bomb Group, and the 330th Bomb Squadron at Benghazi, Libya, in the Mediterranean theater during WWII. Riley and his crew from the 93rd Bomb Group were placed on temporary duty with the 98th Bomb Group for the deadly mission to destroy the German oil refineries at Ploesti, Romania. Lt. Riley was assigned to be the copilot aboard the B-24D Liberator 'KICKAPOO', with Lt. Robert Nespor, from the 98th Bomb Group. During the takeoff run for the mission, their airplane, the 'KICKAPOO' had a complete #4 engine failure and fire. Nespor and Riley, turned their failing bomber out over the sea, jettisoned their bombs, and were trying to make a second approach back into the Lete runway when they lost all power on short final approach to the Lete runway, sank into a concrete post, hitting it with the left wing, and cartwheeled into the ground in flames. Both pilots were badly burned in the crash and died of their injuries. Lt. John C. Riley and Lt. Robert Nespor were posthumously awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross and the Purple Heart for their bravery and sacrifice on the Ploesti mission.

Service

People

  • Robert Nespor

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

  • 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

  • 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

    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

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

  • 330th Bomb Squadron

Aircraft

  • 41-11768 'Kickapoo'

    B-24 Liberator
    The B-24D Liberator #41-11768, '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 and was...

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 B-24s that took part in the raid 167 managed to attack their targets. 57 B...

Associated Place

  • Lete

    Military site : airfield

Events

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.

Revisions

Date Contributor Update
08 September 2019 01:22:52 Kickapoo Changes to biography
Sources

Ploesti - An Anatomy Of A disaster - Gen. Hoyt S. Vandenberg ---- Black Sunday - Michael Hill ---- John S. Young, Jr. - personal archives

Date Contributor Update
08 September 2019 01:18:38 Kickapoo Changes to biography
Sources

Ploesti - An Anatomy Of A disaster - Gen. Hoyt S. Vandenberg ---- Black Sunday - Michael Hill ---- John S. Young, Jr. - personal archives

Date Contributor Update
08 September 2019 01:14:32 Kickapoo Changes to biography
Sources

Ploesti - Anatomy Of A Disaster - Gen. Hoyt S. Vandenberg ---- Black Sunday - Michael Hill ---- John S. Young, Jr. - personal archives

Date Contributor Update
08 September 2019 00:29:11 Kickapoo Changes to biography
Sources

Ploesti - Anatomy Of A Disaster - Gen. Hoyt S. Vandenberg ---- Black Sunday - Michael Hill ---- John S. Young, Jr. - personal archives

Date Contributor Update
08 September 2019 00:28:29 Kickapoo Changes to biography
Sources

Ploesti - Anatomy Of A Disaster - Gen. Hoyt S. Vandenberg ---- Black Sunday - Michael Hill ---- John S. Young, Jr. - personal archives

Date Contributor Update
08 September 2019 00:27:13 Kickapoo Changes to biography
Sources

Ploesti - Anatomy Of A Disaster - Gen. Hoyt S. Vandenberg ---- Black Sunday - Michael Hill ---- John S. Young, Jr. - personal archives

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

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="https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/1120128/john-clark-riley">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
Sources

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
Sources

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

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