First Name
John Simmons
Young, Jr.
I am John S. Young, Jr. - I am an aircraft mechanic for a west coast United States airline for nearly thirty years. - Capt. John S. Young from Dallas, Texas, was a WWII B-24D command B-24 bomber pilot with the 9th Air Force, the 98th Bomb Group, and the 344th Bombing Squadron, the Pyramiders, from Texas, and based for combat at Cairo, Egypt, and Benghazi, and Tobruk, Libya, in 1942-3. His personal airplane for much of his time in combat was a Consolidated B-24D, he named, 'Kickapoo'. He flew many missions from 1942 to '43 against targets of opportunity, Axis shipping in the Mediterranean Sea, and against enemy ports and port facilities in Italy, Crete, Greece, and Sicily. - Finally, for his very last combat mission starting in June and July of 1943, he helped plan and flew copilot on one of the lead aircraft on the desperate and suicidal mission to attempt to destroy the Romanian oil refineries at Ploesti, Romania, and to try to change the direction of the war. Capt. Young was picked by the 98th Bombing Group's commander, Col. John R. (Killer) Kane to replace the Ploesti mission commander, Major General Uzal Ent, to fly as Kane's copilot in the 98th Bomb Group's lead airplane, 'Hail Columbia', along with Lt. Norman Whalen, my father's navigator, and Lt. Harry Korger, his bombardier, and the rest of the 'Kickapoo''s regular crew. Upon takeoff for the Ploesti mission, the 'Kickapoo' suffered multiple engine failures and crashed in flames shortly after, killing all but two of the replacement crew members, including the 27 year old pilot, Lt. Robert Nespor. Everyone on the 'Hail Columbia' survived the Ploesti mission and escaped the target area to crash land their badly damaged plane on the British airbase at Nicosia, Cyprus, even though the 98th Bomb Group suffered 46 per cent casualties over the target. Lt. Robert Sternfels in the B-24 named 'The Sandman', landed safely behind 'Hail Columbia' and gave Col. Kane and Capt. Young a ride back to Benghazi in his airplane the next day. Capt. Young, Col. Kane, and Lt. Sternfels all survived the Ploesti mission and the war. For his part in the Ploesti mission, Capt. John Young was awarded the Silver Star. He also received the Bronze Star, the Air Medal with several Oak Leaf Clusters, and the Distinguished Flying Cross with five Oak Leaf Clusters, for his many combat missions in the Mediterranean theater of WWII. ----- John Young died in 1983. -- John S. Young, Jr.
Member since
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