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Samuel Robert Neeley

Military

Pilot Lt. Samual Neeley was a B-24 Bomber pilot in the Mediterranean Theater of Operations in WWII. He served in the 9th Air force, the 98th Bomb Group, and the 344th bomb Squadron in North Africa, flying bombing and strafing missions, mostly against the German army in the North African desert, and also against Axis shipping all over the Mediterranean area.

Sam Neeley was killed, (KIA), flying his B-24D, Liberator bomber, he named, RAUNCHY, on Operation Tidal Wave, the bombing mission to destroy the German held oil refineries at Ploesti, Romania,

Neeley and his crew flew in Flight One, the first line abreast wave of the 98th Bomb Group's bombers, just a few planes to the left of his friend, Lt. John Young, flying copilot on the mission in John Kane's lead aircraft, HAIL COLUMBIA, attacking their target, White IV, flying in at tree top level on the far left side of Flight One, the first wave of the 98th Bomb Group's planes. Immediately after his bomb release, as Neeley's B-24 was being hit by flak, one of his wings snagged one of the many barrage balloon cables, which didn't break the cable, but pulled an explosive charge down to the airplane that detonated and blew the wing off, sending the bomber crashing down to the ground, killing Lt. Neeley and most of his crew, instantly. The radio operator and a gunner survived the crash and became POWs in Romania. Some of the crew members' remains were never recovered or identified. 8 (KIA) - 2 (POW). Aug 1, 1943. MACR-169

For his part in the Ploesti mission and for his sacrifice, Lt. Neeley was posthumously awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross and Purple Heart medals.

1st Lt. Samuel Robert “Sam” Neeley
BIRTH : 1921
Scottsbluff, Scotts Bluff County, Nebraska, USA
DEATH : 1 Aug 1943 - Age: 21–22
Ploesti, Prahova, Romania
BURIAL :
Ardennes American Cemetery and Memorial
Neuville-en-Condroz, Arrondissement de Liège, Liège, Belgium
PLOT Plot A Row 39 Grave 43
MEMORIAL ID 56360023

Pilot 1st Lt. Samuel R. Neeley DFC (KIA)
Hometown: Scottsbluff, Nebraska
Squadron: 344th BS - 98th Bomb Group - 9th Air Force
Service # O-728710
Awards: Distinguished Flying Cross, Air Medal with 2 Oak Leaf Clusters, Purple Heart

Target: Ploesti - White IV - The Astra Romano refinery complex
Missing Air Crew Report Details
USAAF MACR-169
Date Lost: 1-Aug-43
Serial Number: 41-11819
Aircraft Model B-24D
Aircraft Letter: G
Aircraft Name: RAUNCHY
Location: Lost near the target, the Astra Romano Refinery complex, Ploesti, Romania
Cause: Barrage balloon cable charge - 8 (KIA), 2 (POW)
RAUNCHY- B-24 - D - CO - 41-11819 - 9 - 98 - 344 ~ G 01-1 N/A. Lost on OPERATION TIDAL WAVE, 1 Aug 43, Ploesti Romania - MACR 169 -

Crew of RAUNCHY :
1st/Lt. Samuel R. Neeley - Pilot
1st/Lt. Joel I. Corn - Navigator
2nd/Lt.Herman H. Henslee - Co Pilot
2nd/Lt. Eugeen L. Rodgen - Bombardier
Sgt. Robert P. Schultz
Sgt.Charles P. Geers - Gunner
Sgt. Earl T. Edelen - Gunner
Sgt. Alfred D. Cason - Gunner

Service

People

  • Herbert Arens

    Military | First Lieutenant | B-24 Command Pilot | 98th Bomb Group
    2nd Lt. Herbert W. Arens was a B-24D command pilot in the 9th Air Force, the 98th Bomb Group, and the 344th Bomb Squadron. He flew the B-24D Liberator bomber, SN 41-11803, named, Rosie Wrecked 'Em, on the mission to destroy the oil refineries at...

  • Neville Benson

    Military | Staff Sergeant | B-24 Waist Gunner | 98th Bomb Group
    SSgt. Neville C. Bensen took part in Operation Tidal Wave, the raid on Ploesti on 1 August 1943. He was a waist gunner in the Element Lead B-24D Liberator, 41-11825, Hail Columbia, piloted by Col. John R. "Killer" Kane and Lt. John S. Young. He...

  • Alfred Cason

    Military | Staff Sergeant (3rd Grade) | B-24 Gunner | 98th Bomb Group
    Sgt. Alfred David Cason was a gunner on the B-24D, Raunchy, flown on Operation Tidal Wave by Lt. Sam Neeley. Both Lt. Neeley and Sgt. Cason were Killed In Action (KIA) over Ploesti when their B-24D, Raunchy, hit a barrage balloon cable explosive. 1...

  • Raymond Hubbard

    Military | First Lieutenant | Radio Operator | 98th Bomb Group
    Lt. Raymond B. Hubbard was assigned to the 9th Air force, the 98th Bombardment Group, and the 344th Bombing Squadron in Libya, North Africa, 1943. He flew in Operation Tidal Wave, the raid on Ploesti on 1 August 1943, flying as a Waist Gunner and Radio...

  • John Kane

    Military | Colonel | Commanding Officer, Command Pilot | 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...

  • Harold Korger

    Military | Colonel | B-24 Bombardier | 98th Bomb Group
    Lt. Harold Francis Korger was a bombardier in the 344th Bombardment Squadron, the 98th Bomb Group, and the 9th Air Force, based in Benghazi, Libya. He flew on the B-24D, Hail Columbia, with Group Leader Col. John R. Kane, on the famous mission,...

  • Royden LeBrecht

    Military | Captain | B-24 Command Pilot | 98th Bomb Group
    Lt. Royden Louis LeBrecht was a B-24D command pilot in the 9th Air force, the 98th Bomb Group, and the 344th Bomb Squadron. He flew his B-24D, he named, The Squaw, on Operation Tidal Wave, the large mission to destroy the German held oil refineries at...

  • James Lindsey

    Military | Flight Officer | B-24D Co-Pilot | 98th Bomb Group
    James Rex Lindsey ...

  • Robert Nespor

    Military | First Lieutenant | B-24 Command Pilot | 98th Bomb Group
    1st Lt. Robert James Nespor, Jr. was a B-24D command bomber pilot in the 9th Air Force, the 98th Bombardment Group, "The Pyramiders", and the 330th Bombing Squadron. For the huge mission to bomb the oil refineries at Ploesti, Romania, on Operation...

  • Norman Whalen

    Military | Major | Navigator / Nose Gunner | 98th Bomb Group
    Norman Mathew Whalen joined the Army Air Corps in 1941. After graduating from Navigator School in Monroe, Louisiana, he received his commission as a Second Lieutenant and was assigned to the 9th Air force, the 98th Bomb Group, and the 344th Bombing...

Show more

Units served with

  • 9th Air Force
  • 98th Bomb Group

    98th Bomb Group

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

  • 344th Bomb Squadron

    344th Bomb Squadron

    Squadron
    The 344th Bombing Squadron was first activated at MacDill Field, Florida as one of the original three squadrons assigned to the 98th Bombardment Group. The 344th soon moved to Barksdale Field, Louisiana, where it began to train as a Consolidated B-24...

Aircraft

  • 42-40402 The Sandman

    B-24 Liberator
    The B-24D Liberator bomber, named, The Sandman, was flown by Lt. Robert Sternfels and his copilot, Lt. Barney Jackson, in the 9th Air Force, the 98th Bomb Group, and the 345th Bomb Squadron, on Operation Tidal Wave, the famous mission to destroy the...

  • 41-11819 Raunchy

    B-24 Liberator
    The B-24D Liberator, Raunchy, 41-11819, was in the 344th Bomb Squadron, the 98th Bomb Group, and the 9th Air Force, based at Benghazi, Libya, North Africa, in early 1943. ...

  • 41-11825 Hail Columbia - Little Chief Big Dog - Grumpy

    B-24 Liberator
    The B-24D, Hail Columbia, 41-11825, was assigned to the 9th Air Force, the 98th Bomb Group, and the 344th Bombing Squadron. It was first assigned to the 344th Squadron's CO, Col. John R. Kane's, personal aircraft until Kane became the 98th Bomb Group's...

  • 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...

Missions

  • Operation Tidal Wave

    1 August 1943
    Operation TIDAL WAVE. B-24D 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...

Associated Place

  • Lete

    Military site : airfield

Events

Event Location Date

Revisions

Date Contributor Update
16 August 2021 21:18:56 Kickapoo Changes to biography
Sources

Details, wording, and punctuation changes for clarity and accuracy - Kickapoo

Date Contributor Update
16 August 2021 21:13:54 Kickapoo Changes to nickname
Sources

Wording, spacing changes - Kickapoo

Date Contributor Update
16 August 2021 21:12:31 Kickapoo Changes to biography
Sources

Wording and punctuation changes for clarity - Kickapoo

Date Contributor Update
06 June 2021 18:15:26 Kickapoo Changes to biography
Sources

American Air Museum In Britain

Date Contributor Update
14 April 2021 00:48:11 decwriter Changes to service number and awards
Sources

NARA files verified his ASN upon entry. His DFC lists his MIA status for the low level Ploesti raid on 1 Aug 1943. He earned at least one bronze star device on the EAME Campaign Medal.

Date Contributor Update
15 February 2021 08:53:16 Kickapoo Changes to biography
Sources

www.b24bestweb.com/raunchy-v1-1.htm

Date Contributor Update
04 February 2021 21:21:04 Kickapoo Changes to biography
Sources

Personal Archives - John S Young Jr

Date Contributor Update
02 February 2021 03:06:22 Kickapoo Changes to biography
Sources

The Great Ground-Air Battle Of 1 August 1943 - James Dugan & Carroll Stewart

Date Contributor Update
02 February 2021 03:03:06 Kickapoo Changes to nickname
Sources

The Great Ground-Air Battle Of 1 August 1943 - James Dugan & Carroll Stewart

Date Contributor Update
02 February 2021 03:01:42 Kickapoo Changes to biography
Sources

The Great Ground-Air Battle Of 1 August 1943 - James Dugan & Carroll Stewart

Date Contributor Update
02 February 2021 02:36:05 Kickapoo Changes to role, biography, awards, person associations, unit associations, place associations, aircraft associations and mission associations
Sources

The Great Ground-Air Battle Of 1 August 1943 - James Dugan & Carroll Stewart

Date Contributor Update
26 January 2021 04:11:43 jmoore43 Changes to service number and role
Sources

Removed "#" from the S/N.
Removed "B-24" from the "Role/job" field.

Date Contributor Update
26 January 2021 04:08:59 jmoore43 Changes to biography
Sources

Added some punctuation to the "Summary biography" to aid clarity.

Date Contributor Update
15 December 2020 12:13:55 Kickapoo Changes to biography and awards
Sources

FindAGrave - 2nd Lt. Samuel Robert Neeley

Date Contributor Update
15 December 2020 11:57:30 Kickapoo Created entry with surname, middlename, firstname, nickname, nationality, service number, highest rank, role and biography
Sources

FindAGrave -- 1st Lt. Samuel Robert Neeley

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