Command Pilot Pete Hughes' and Copilot Ronald Lee Helder's B-24D, 42-40753, that Lt. Helder called, Ole Kickapoo. SN, 42-40753, crashed & burned at the Prahova dry riverbed valley at Campina, Romania, after flying through a wall of flames approaching their target refinery at Campina, Romania. The two pilots, Lt. Hughes, Lt. Helder, and all but two of their crew, were killed in action ( KIA) in this crash on Operation Tidal Wave. For his actions on the Ploesti mission, Lloyd Hughes was awarded the nation's highest honor, The Congressional Medal of Honor, posthumously. For his actions on the mission, Lt. Ronald Helder was awarded the nation's second highest honor, the Distinguished Service Cross, also posthumously, for his own valor, sacrifice and absolute determination to attack and bomb his target refinery at Campina, Romania, without any consideration for his own life and safety. August 1, 1942.
B-24D - Ole Kickapoo Crashed at the Prahova dry river bed, Campina, Romania - Pilot 2nd Lt. Lloyd "Pete" Hughes and all but two of his crew KIA - Operation Tidal Wave 1 Aug 1943
B-24D - Ole Kickapoo - 42-40753. - Left to Right Standing : Lt. Lloyd Hughes and Lt. Ron Helder in front of Number 4 Engine. And Crew - kneeling. 1943
The B-24D, 42-40753, was a Consolidated B-24D bomber from the 389th Bombardment Group, of the 8th Air Force, and the 564th Bomb Squadron from England. It's Command Pilot on Operation Tidal Wave, was 2nd Lt. Lloyd Hughes, and his crew. They flew on Operation Tidal Wave to destroy the Germans' oil refineries at Ploesti, and were lost bombing, Target Red, at Campina, Ploesti. Both pilots and all but two of the crew were killed in action (KIA) in the crash of their B-24. Lt. Lloyd "Pete" Hughes was posthumously awarded the Medal Of Honor for his leadership, skill, and determination to continue leading others behind him on his bomb run in order to bomb his target. He continued on his approach to his target after, even after having his airplane hit by two devastating flak rounds that tore open fuel tanks in his bomb bay and left wing. Streaming geysers of fuel from his wing and fuselage, and knowing that flying through any flames ahead of him to the Campina Refinery area, would set his plane on fire, Hughes elected to continue flying toward his target, ignoring his safety and his life. Minutes later, he flew straight through a wall of flames higher than his airplane's altittude inside a box of flames coming from the already burning oil tanks between Hughes and his target. His Liberator bomber was "turned into a blowtorch" as described by his friend, General Philip Ardery, flying slightly behind Hughes in his own B-24. Still, Hughes flew on, as his friend, Gen. Ardery, watching from behind in wonder, as Lt. Hughes, now was set aflame by the wall of fire he flew right through, and his plane began streaming long sheets of flames from the burning gasoline vapor streams behind him. Ignoring his own danger, Hughes continued on his bomb run until he and his bombardier dropped their bombs spot onto their target at the Campina Refinery. Pulling away from the target now still burning fiercely, Hughes attempted to pull his plane up into a climb to allow his crew enough altitude to try to bail out, and, then, appeared to try to slow his burning airplane and bring it down for a crash landing. It looked as if he just might be able to land in the dry river bed valley of the Prahova River ahead of him, when, suddenly, the left wing blew off, and the plane cartwheeled into the ground. Of the ten men aboard his B-24, Pete Hughes and five others were killed instantly,(KIA). Two more made it out of the burning wreckage, but died of their wounds within days (KIA). And two others survived the crash and their injuries, and lived on to became prisoners of war (POW). Pete Hughes left a young grieving wife and family for the sacrifice he made for them, and his country, and for freedom. Pete Hughes' crewmen, living and dead, were all awarded the second highest medal their country could give them, Distinguished Service Cross medals, for their bravery and the extreme sacrifices they also made for their families and their countrymen.
B-24D - 42-40753 ~ Lt. Lloyd Hughes Command Pilot And Crew 1943:
~ Pilot : 2Lt Lloyd H. Hughes, Jr. KIA; Congressional Medal of Honor posthumously
~ Co-Pilot : 2Lt Ronald L. Helder. KIA; Distinguished Service Cross posthumously
~ Navigator : 2Lt Sidney A. Pear. KIA (died of wounds August 6, 1943, surgery
hospital in Campina, Rumania); Distinguished Service Cross posthumously
~ Bombardier : John A. McLoughlin. KIA (died of wounds on August 3, 1943, surgery
hospital in Campina, Rumania; Distinguished Service Cross posthumously
~ Engineer/Top Turret Gunner : T/Sgt Joseph E. Mix. KIA; Distinguished Service Cross
~ Radio Operator : T/Sgt Louis N. Kase. KIA; Distinguished Service Cross
~ Waist Gunner : S/Sgt Malcolm C. Dalton. KIA; Distinguished Service Cross
~ Waist Gunner: S/Sgt Edmond H. Smith. POW; Distinguished Service Cross
~ Tail Gunner: S/Sgt Thomas A. Hoff. POW; Distinguished Service Cross
~ Tunnel Gunner: Sgt Avis K. Wilson. KIA; Distinguished Service Cross posthumously
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...
The B-24D Liberator, 42-40629, The Scorpion, in the 8th Air Force, the 389th Bombardment Group, and the 565th Bomb Squadron, flew on Operation Tidal Wave, the bombing mission on the oil refineries, piloted by Lt. Kenneth M. Caldwell and Col. Jack Wood...
The 389th Bomb Group, known in more familiar terms as "the Sky Scorpions", flew strategic bombing missions in B-24 Liberators from Hethel, England. They also sent detachments to join bases in North Africa at Benghazi No. 10, Libya, between 3 July 1943...
Military | Major General | Pilot | 389th Bomb Group
Silver Star/ 2 DFCs/ 4 Air Medals/ Croix de Guerre.
Military | First Lieutenant | Navigator | 96th Bomb Group
Military | Staff Sergeant | Waist Gunner | 389th Bomb Group
Assigned to 564BS, 839BG, 8AF USAAF. TDY to 9AF USAAF. Failed to Return (FTR) Ploesti raid in B-24 42-40753 'Ole Kickapoo' 1-Aug-43, Killed in Action (KIA). MACR 157.
Awards: DFC, AM, PH.
Military | Lieutenant Colonel | B-24 Command Pilot | 389th Bomb Group
After completing his training as a bomber pilot at Biggs Field in Texas, Major Jack Deiterle's 566th Bomb Squadron in the 389th Bomb Group, was established at Hethel Field in Norwich early in 1943. Dieterle was a command pilot on the B-24D, The Little...
Military | Second Lieutenant | B-24D Co-Pilot | 389th Bomb Group
2nd Lt. Ronald Lee Helder was a B-24 pilot in the 8th Air Force, the 389th Bomb Group, and the 564th Bombing Squadron in WWII. He flew as Co-pilot with his friend, Command Pilot Lt. Lloyd H. Hughes, in the B-24D Lt. Helder called, Ole Kickapoo,...
Military | Staff Sergeant | Tail Gunner | 389th Bomb Group
Assigned to 564BS, 389BG, 8AF USAAF. TDY to 9AF USAAF. Failed to Return (FTR) Ploseti raid in B-24 42-40753 'Ole Kickapoo' 1-Aug-43; A/C downed by flak and subsequent fire. One of two survivors from the crash. Prisoner of War (POW) MACR 157
Military | Second Lieutenant | B-24 Command Pilot | 389th Bomb Group
Lloyd Herbert Hughes Jr., better known to his friends, as "Pete," flew his fifth mission, as pilot of a B-24D Liberator bomber in an attack against the Axis oil refineries in Ploesti, Romania. He was killed August 1, 1943 when his plane was severely...
Military | Colonel | B-24 Bomb Group Commanding Officer / B-24 Command Pilot | 98th Bomb Group
John Riley Kane 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 leadership, courage, and heroism for...
Military | Technical Sergeant | Radio Operator | 389th Bomb Group
Assigned to 564BS, 389BG, 8AF USAAF. TDY to 9AF USAAF. Failed to Return (FTR) Ploesti raid in B-24 42-40753 'Ole Kickapoo' 1-Aug-43; Killed in Action (KIA) MACR 157
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...
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...
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