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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 an Oak Leaf Cluster to his Distinguished Flying cross 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 D. 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.

US Air Force Combat Units of World War II Description

Constituted as 98th Bombardment Group (Heavy) on 28 Jan 1942. Activated on 3 Feb 1942 Trained with B-24’s. Moved to the Mediterranean theater, Jul- Aug 1942, and served in that area until the end of the war. Assigned to Ninth AF in Nov 1942, to Twelfth AF in Sep 1943, and to Fifteenth AF in Nov 1943.

Entered combat in Aug 1942. Bombed shipping and harbor installations in Libya, Tunisia, Sicily, Italy, Crete, and Greece to cut enemy supply lines to Africa. Also hit airdromes and rail facilities in Sicily and Italy. 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. Col John R Kane, group commander, received the Medal of Honor for leading the 98th to complete this attack despite the hazards of oil fires, delayed-action bombs, and alerted defenses.

Afterward the group flew many long-range missions to Italy, France, Germany, Austria, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, and the Balkans to bomb such strategic targets as industries, airdromes, harbors, and communications, and engaged primarily in such operations until Apr 1945.

1st Lt Donald D Pucket, one of the group’s pilots, was awarded the Medal of Honor for action during a mission against oil refineries at Ploesti on 9 Jul 1944: just after bombing the target, Lt Pucket’s plane was crippled by antiaircraft fire and crew members were wounded; he calmed the crew, administered first aid, surveyed the damage, and, realizing it was impossible to reach friendly territory, gave the order to abandon ship; refusing to desert three men who were unable to leave the bomber, Lt Pucket stayed with the plane that a few moments later crashed on a mountainside.

In addition to strategic operations, the 98th also flew interdictory and support missions. Aided Allied forces at Anzio and Cassino. Participated in the invasion of Southern France. Assisted the Russian advance in the Balkans. Returned to the US, Apr-May 1945.

Commanding officers
  • Frank Robinson

    Military | Colonel | Commanding Officer | 44th Bomb Group The Flying Eightballs
    Commanding Officer 44th Bomb Group 1-April-1942 to 4-January-1943.

  • Hugo Rush

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

  • 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...

  • Julian Bleyer

    Military | Colonel | Pilot | 98th Bomb Group
    Assigned to 343BS, 98BG, 9AF USAAF. Pilot B-24 41-11896 flew on 1-Aug-43 Ploesti oil refinery raid, returning safely to Libya. ...

Structure

Part of
  • US Army Middle East Air Force

    US Army Middle East Air Force


    US Army Middle East Air Force (USAMEAF) was activated on 28 June 1942 in Cairo, Egypt. It brought together several units which had been operating the area including the HALPRO Detachment, and Lewis Brereton's 9th Bomb Squadron. ...

  • IX Bomber Command
  • 5th Bomb Wing

    5th Bomb Wing

    Wing
    The 5th Air Division (5th AD) originated on 19 October 1940 at McChord Field, Washington. Its initial mission was air defense of the northwest United States with three bombardment groups (12th, 17th and 39th) flying early B-17 Flying Fortresses (B-17C...

  • 47th Bomb Wing
Encompassing
  • 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...

  • 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...

  • 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

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...

Stations

Station Location Date
Assigned 9th Air Force November 1942
Based Fayid 11 November 1942 – 9 February 1943
Based Benina 14 February 1943 – 25 March 1943
Based Berca 26 March 1943 – 4 April 1943
Based Benina 4 April 1943 – 25 September 1943
Assigned 12th Air Force September 1943
Based Lecce 17 January 1944 – 19 April 1945
Assigned 15th Air Force

Connections

People

  • Joseph Altemus

    Military | First Lieutenant | Navigator | 98th Bomb Group
    Assigned to 343BS, 98BG, 9AF USAAF. Goddard crew. 10 x combat missions. Failed to Return (FTR) Regensburg 22-Feb-44 in B-24 42-73138; fighters / flak, explosion starboard side of fuselage. Killed in Action (KIA). MACR 2726 ...

  • 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...

  • Robert Austin

    Military | First Lieutenant | Bombardier | 98th Bomb Group
    Assigned to 344BS, 98BG, 9AF USAAF. Failed to Return (FTR) Ploesti in B-24 41-24198; Killed in Action (KIA). MACR 166 Awards: PH.

  • Clement Badeau

    Military | Technical Sergeant | Flight Engineer / Top Turret | 98th Bomb Group
    Assigned to 343BS, 98BG, 9AF USAAF. Underwood crew member, B-24 41-11921 'Northern Star' 'Doc', flew on the 1-Aug-43 Ploesti raid. The aircraft successfully bombed the target and returned safely to Benghazi, Libya despite being intercepted by enemy...

  • Luther Bailey

    Military | Staff Sergeant (3rd Grade) | Turret Gunner | 100th Bomb Group
    Obituary for Luther Bailey ...

  • William Banks

    Military | First Lieutenant | Pilot | 98th Bomb Group
    Assigned to 344BS, 98BG, 9AF USAAF. Flew on 1st Aug 43 Ploesti oil refinery raid in B-24 42-40208 'Sad Sack'. 50 x combat missions. ETD Awards: SS, DFC, AM, WWII Victory, EAME.

  • Francis Beatty

    Military | Staff Sergeant | Tail Gunner | 98th Bomb Group
    Assigned to 343BS, 98BG, 9AF USAAF. Crew member of B-24 41-11921 'Northern Star' 'Doc', flew on the 1-Aug-43 Ploesti raid. The aircraft successfully bombed the target and returned safely to Benghazi, Libya despite being intercepted by enemy fighters...

  • Theodore Beaudry

    Military | Technical Sergeant | Radio Operator | 98th Bomb Group
    Flew on 1st Aug 43 Ploesti oil refinery raid, the B-24, 42-41007 'Margie A Virgin', was shot up pretty bad, and upon landing somewhere in Europe, caught fire with 6 members of the former DOPEY CREW: Gooden, Perkins, McNeil, Beaudry, Cox, and Cochrane,...

  • Francis Beauregard

    Military | Staff Sergeant | Gunner | 98th Bomb Group
    Took part in Operation Tidal Wave, the raid on Ploesti on 1 August 1943, flying in B-24 Liberator 41-11896.

  • Thomas Bennett

    Military | Captain | Pilot | 491st Bomb Group
    Took part in Operation Tidal Wave, the raid on Ploesti on 1 August 1943, flying in B-24 Liberator 42-40082.

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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
    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...

  • 42-40364 The Pink Elephant - Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs

    B-24 Liberator
    The Pink Elephant, 42-40364, was in the 9th Air Force, the 98th Bomb Group, who called themselves, "The Pyramiders", and the 343rd Bomb Squadron. First named, The Pink Elephant, 42-40364, was the second B-24D, that was later renamed, "Snow White and...

  • 41-24198 The Vulgar Virgin - Hell From Heaven - Shoot You're Faded

    B-24 Liberator
    - The B-24D, 41-24198, named, The Vulgar Virgin, flown by Capt. Wallace Taylor, in the 9th AF, the 98th BG, and the 344th BS, based in Benghazi, Libya, should not be confused with Lt. Claude A. Turner's B-24D, 42-40608, also named, The Vulgar Virgin...

  • 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. As Hadley was approaching his target refinery, code named, "White IV",...

  • 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. ...

  • 41-11840 The Witch

    B-24 Liberator
    The aircraft, 41-11840, named, The Witch, was in the 9th Air Force, the 98th Bomb Group, and the 343rd Bomb Squadron left. It deployed for duty in the Mediterranean Theater of Operations in July, 1942. It's pilot, Lt. Glade Jorgenson, played a...

  • 42-40655 Four Eyes - Damfino

    B-24 Liberator
    The B-24D bomber, 42-40655, named, Four Eyes, and, Damfino, flown by Lt. Donald J. Hadcock, was assigned to the 343rd Bombing Squadron, the 98th Bomb Group, and the 9th Air Force. ...

  • 42-40322 Cornhusker

    B-24 Liberator
    The B-24D, Cornhusker, in the 9th Air Force, the 98th Bomb Group, and the 415th Bomb Squadron, flew on Operation Tidal Wave, the large mission destroy the German held oil refineries at Ploesti Romania. It was shot down over the Ionian Sea by Bf-109G...

  • 41-11886 Lil Joe

    B-24 Liberator
    The B-24D, named, Lil Joe, 41-11886, was flown by Pilot Lt. Lindley Hussey on Operation Tidal Wave to destroy the oil refineries at Ploesti, Romania, Lil Joe was shot down and lost on the Ploesti oil refinery mission. On approach to it's target, Lil...

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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
03 April 2021 23:18:37 decwriter Changes to description
Sources

Added middle initial for Lt. Pucket.

Date Contributor Update
02 April 2021 09:27:26 Kickapoo Changes to description
Sources

Personal Archives - John S. Young , Jr

Date Contributor Update
16 September 2020 01:47:57 decwriter Changes to description
Sources

NARA files verified decorations to Ploesti raiders.

Date Contributor Update
26 September 2019 14:23:05 Emily Changes to us air force combat units of world war ii description and commanding officers associations
Sources

Air Force Combat Units of World War II

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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