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98th Bomb Group

Group

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

The group was alerted and departed for the Middle East on 15 July 1942, arriving in Palestine in late July 1942. The 98th was initially assigned to the USMEAF (United States Middle East Air Force). However, the USMEAF was dissolved on 12 November 1942. At that time, the 98th came under the 9th Air Force. It flew its first mission to Mersa Matruh, Libya on 1 August 1942, with the aircraft being serviced by Royal Air Force personnel until 98th maintenance personnel arrived in mid-August 1942.

It supported the British Eighth Army in its westward advance from Egypt into Libya and Tunisia. It bombed land targets, air fields, railroad lines, shipping, and harbor installations in North Africa, Sicily, Italy, Crete, and Greece to cut enemy supply lines to Africa and to prepare for the Allied invasion of Sicily and Italy. The 98th earned a Distinguished Unit Citation (DUC) for action against the enemy in the Middle East, North Africa, and Sicily from August 1942 to August 1943. It received a second DUC for participation in a low-level bombing raid on enemy-held oil refineries at Ploesti, Romania, on 1 August 1943. On this raid, of 47 B-24s launched, only 21 returned safely. One, the 'Kickapoo', crashed on takeoff with the loss of all crew members except two. Six planes aborted before reaching the target. Seventeen went down in enemy territory. Two went down at sea. The Group Commander, Col. John R. (Killer) Kane was awarded the Medal of Honor for his leadership. Kane's copilot, Lt. John S. Young, was awarded the Silver Star for his part in the mission.

The 98th was under the command of the Twelfth Air Force in September and October 1943. From 1 November 1943 it was under the Fifteenth Air Force and moved to Italy. It flew many long-range missions to France, Germany, Austria, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, and Romania to bomb enemy heavy industries, airdromes, harbors, oil fields, and communication centers. On another raid on Ploesti on 9 July 1944, Lt. Donald Pucket sacrificed his life trying to save three of his crew members who could not or would not bail out of their doomed B-24. Donald Pucket was awarded the Medal of Honor posthumously for his sacrifice.

In the summer of 1944, the 98th participated in the invasion of southern France, assisted in the Soviet advance into the Balkans, and supported the partisans and guerrillas in Yugoslavia and neighboring countries. It flew a total of 417 missions and earned a total of 15 battle streamers as well as two Presidential Unit Citations.

The group returned to the United States as the war was ending in Europe, where it trained in preparation for movement to the Pacific Theater. It was re-designated the 98th Bombardment Group (Very Heavy) and equipped with Boeing B-29 Superfortresses, but the war with Japan ended before redeployment.

The 98th was inactivated as a group on 10 November 1945. However, the 343rd, 344th, and 345th Squadrons were reassigned to B-29 groups. The 343d Squadron was assigned to the 40th Bomb Group at March Air Force Base, California. and inactivated on 27 November 1946. The 344th was assigned to the 444th Bomb Group at Davis-Monthan Field, Arizona and inactivated on 1 October 1946. The 345th was assigned to the 462nd Bomb Group at McDill Field, Florida and inactivated on 31 March 1946.

Commanding officers
  • Hugo Rush

    Military | Lieutenant Colonel | Commanding Officer | 44th Bomb Group The Flying Eightballs

  • 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...

  • Julian Bleyer

    Military | Colonel | Pilot | 98th Bomb Group
    Pilot B-24 #41-11896 flew on 1st Aug 43 Ploesti oil refinery raid, returning safely to Libya. ...

Structure

Part of
  • 15th Air Force

    15th Air Force

    Command
    The Fifteenth Air Force was one of two Strategic Air forces in Europe, along with the Eighth Air Force. ...

  • 12th Air Force

    12th Air Force

    Command
    The 12th Air Force was established in the USA during the Second World War to provide the Army Air Force component of Operation Torch (the invasion of French North Africa) in 1942. The Air Force initially moved to England for training before...

  • 9th Air Force
Encompassing
  • 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...

  • 343rd Bomb Squadron

    343rd Bomb Squadron

    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...

  • 345th Bomb Squadron

    345th Bomb Squadron

    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...

  • 415th Bomb Squadron

    415th Bomb Squadron

    Squadron
    Established as a B-24 Liberator reconnaissance squadron in early 1942. Engaged initially in antisubmarine patrols over the Gulf of Mexico; redesignated as a heavy bomb squadron and trained by Third Air Force. Deployed to Egypt in June 1942 over South...

Previously was
Not yet known
Became
Not yet known

Stations

Station Location Date
Based Fayid Airbase 11 November 1942 – 9 February 1943
Based Benina Airfield 14 February 1943 – 25 March 1943
Based Berca 26 March 1943 – 4 April 1943
Based Benina Airfield 4 April 1943 – 25 September 1943
Based Lecce Airfield 17 January 1944 – 19 April 1945

Connections

People

  • Luther Bailey

    Military | Staff Sergeant (3rd Grade) | Turret Gunner | 98th Bomb Group
    Obituary for Luther Bailey ...

  • John Bentley

    Military | Staff Sergeant (3rd Grade) | 98th Bomb Group
    Received DFC on 15 July 1944 per General Order 1847

  • Julian Bleyer

    Military | Colonel | Pilot | 98th Bomb Group
    Pilot B-24 #41-11896 flew on 1st Aug 43 Ploesti oil refinery raid, returning safely to Libya. ...

  • Jesse Bowling

    Military | Pilot | 98th Bomb Group
    Jesse C Bowling named his aircraft Ruth Please! after his wife Ruth. Bowling was shot down on 19 February 1945 on a mission over Vienna. Bowling managed to land the aircraft in Zadar.

  • Samuel Caddick

    Military | Pilot | 344th Bomb Group
    Pilot of B-24 Liberator 'Hey Doc' completed 50 missions over Africa and Europe

  • Isaac Canetti

    Military | Second Lieutenant | Co-Pilot | 98th Bomb Group

  • Jerome Casper

    Military | Captain | 98th Bomb Group

  • Joe Chavez

    Military | Sergeant | Radio OPerator / Gunner | 98th Bomb Group

  • George Colchagoff

    Military | Colonel | Pilot | 98th Bomb Group
    Pilot B-24 #41-23733 'Skipper' flew on 1st Aug 43 low level Ploesti oil refinery raid, A/C developed mechanical problems and had to abort the mission. Captain later Colonel, Colchagoff was a career USAAF officer.

  • Robert Courtney

    Military | Second Lieutenant | Bombardier | 98th Bomb Group
    Killed in Action (KIA) on Ploesti raid in B-24 #4240364

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Aircraft

  • 42-52744 'Ding Dong Daddy From Dixie' 'Capricorn'

    B-24 Liberator
    Assigned to 834BS, 486BG, 8AF USAAF. Transferred in Jul-44 to 835BS. May have been transferred briefly to 493rd BG but definitely transferred to MTO 10 Mar 45 by BAD 3 and assigned to 98th BG. Salvaged 27 Apr 45.

  • 42-40402 The Sandman

    B-24 Liberator
    Crew of "The Sandman" on the Ploesti raid: ...

  • 42-40364 Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs

    B-24 Liberator
    Capt. James A. Gunn, Jr. - Pilot (KIA), 2nd Lt. Richard C. Williamson - Co-Pilot (KIA) ...

  • 41-24311 'Hadley's Harem'

    B-24 Liberator
    The B-24D, named 'Hadley's Harem' was Lt. Gilbert Hadley's personal airplane and the one he flew on the mission to destroy Hitler's oil refineries at Ploesti Romania in 1943. ...

  • 41-11819 Raunchy

    B-24 Liberator
    Lost on Ploesti oil refinery raid. 1st Aug 1943. MACR 169. ...

  • 41-11840 The Witch

    B-24 Liberator
    Failed To Return - This aircraft was lost on the low-level Ploesti mission 1 Aug 43. It made a forced landing near the border of Bulgaria and Yugoslavia following a running fight with enemy fighters. Six of the crew became POWs in Bulgaria, the other...

  • 42-40322 Cornhusker

    B-24 Liberator
    Shot down over the Ionian Sea by Bf109G's from JG 27/IV while returning from the August 1,1943 low-level mission to Ploesti,Romania. All 10 crew members were KIA. MACR 178 ...

  • 41-11761 The Squaw

    B-24 Liberator
    B-24 Liberator #4111761 'The Squaw' flew on the 1st Aug 43 Ploesti raid, recovering to Cyprus, piloted by Royden L Lebrecht. On completion of its tour, returned to Fort Worth, TX, USA for a war bond tour.

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

    B-24 Liberator
    This aircraft originally served in the 9th Air Force, the 98th Bomb Group, and the 344th Bomb Squadron as 'HAIL COLUMBIA'. It was 344th's CO Col. John R. Kane's personal aircraft until Kane became the 98th Bomb Group CO and turned it over to Herman ...

  • 41-11896 Nightmare

    B-24 Liberator
    Flew on 1st Aug 43 Ploesti oil refinery raid, pilot Lt Col Julian M Bleyer, returning safely to Libya. Shot down on 3rd Sep 43 mission to bomb Sulmona, Italy marshaling yards, pilot Herman E Stephens - 7 KIA / 3 POW MACR 463

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Citations

Two Distinguished Unit Citations:

Received a DUC for action against the enemy in the Middle East, North Africa, and Sicily from Aug 1942 to Aug 1943. Awarded another DUC for participation in the low-level assault on oil refineries at Ploesti on 1 Aug 1943: although its target had already been attacked by another group, the 98th proceeded through dense smoke and intense flak to bomb its assigned objective.

Revisions

Date Contributor Update
01 July 2019 07:30:58 Kickapoo Changes to description
Sources

Anatomy Of A Disaster - Gen. Hoyt S. Vandenberg ---- Black Sunday - Michael Hill ---- Together We Served.com ---- Into The Fire - Duane Schultz

Date Contributor Update
17 March 2019 23:32:53 Dieterle Changes to stations
Sources

98th Operations Group site.

Date Contributor Update
17 March 2019 23:25:34 Dieterle Changes to stations
Sources

98th Operations Group site.

Date Contributor Update
08 April 2018 06:03:28 Kickapoo Changes to person associations
Sources

Black Sunday by Michael Hill

Date Contributor Update
12 March 2018 13:06:02 Kickapoo Changes to description
Sources

Burning Hitler's black Gold by Robert Sternfels

Date Contributor Update
13 January 2018 23:10:42 Kickapoo Changes to description
Sources

"Into The Fire" by Duane Schultz Part III Chap 6 , page 105 : " Not all of the planes made it [ the takeoff ]. 'The Kickapoo of the 376th lost an engine shortly after getting airborne. With a sickening jolt the Kickapoo hit the runway, smashed into a concrete telephone pole, and exploded.' Only two of the crew survived, one with horrible burns over most of his body."

Date Contributor Update
21 November 2016 04:52:48 466thHistorian Changes to nicknames
Sources

http://www.armyaircorpsmuseum.org/98th_Bombardment_Group.cfm

Date Contributor Update
01 November 2016 13:26:35 466thHistorian Changes to stations
Sources

http://www.armyaircorpsmuseum.org/98th_Bombardment_Group.cfm

Date Contributor Update
01 November 2016 03:22:28 466thHistorian Changes to stations
Sources

http://www.armyaircorpsmuseum.org/98th_Bombardment_Group.cfm

Date Contributor Update
01 November 2016 03:03:40 466thHistorian Changes to aircraft associations and commanding officers associations
Sources

http://www.armyaircorpsmuseum.org/98th_Bombardment_Group.cfm

Date Contributor Update
01 November 2016 02:58:02 466thHistorian Changes to motto, insignia and citations
Sources

http://www.armyaircorpsmuseum.org/98th_Bombardment_Group.cfm

Date Contributor Update
01 November 2016 02:32:36 466thHistorian Created entry with type, category, name, description, air forces, aircraft types, unit encompassing associations, aircraft associations and media associations
Sources

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/98th_Operations_Group

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