Ernest Victor Martin


Object Number - UPL 15216 - SSgt. Ernest V. Martin - Waist gunner of the B-24D, 42-40316, "Snake Eyes". Flew on the Ploesti raid. KIA. Aug 1, 1943

Waist gunner Staff Sgt. Earnest Martin, flew on the B-24D, #42-40316, Snake Eyes, Operation Tidal Wave, and was killed in action after being hit by flak splinters over his target, KIA. He was awarded the DSC and PH medals posthumously.

ACTUAL CITATION from General Order No. 86, Headquarters Ninth U.S. Air Force, 11 September 1943

SECTION III...Awards to the 345th Bombardment Squadron

Paragraph 1. By direction of the President, under the provisions of the Act of Congress approved 9 July, 1918 (Bull. W.D. 43., 1918), and in accordance with authority delegated by the War Department, a Distinguished Service Cross is awarded to each of the following-named enlisted men:

Ernest V. Martin, 32271998, Staff Sergeant, 345th Bombardment Squadron, 98th Bombardment Group, (On DS from the 389th Bombardment Group). For distinguished service, extraordinary heroism, and gallantry in action while participating in operations against the Ploesti Oil Refineries of Roumania on 1 August 1943. As armorer-gunner on one of the heavy bombardment aircraft that took part in this raid, Sergeant Martin exhibited heroism and valor of the very highest order. After a long and exhausting flight through enemy territory, the planes entered the target area, which was one of the most heavily defended regions in the world. As they flew into it at an altitude of 200 feet, they were met by a point blank barrage of anti-aircraft fire from powerful ground concentrations. In addition to this, they were opposed by barrage balloons, fighter planes, and the smoke and flame which arose from the burning oil in the target area. Yet, Sergeant Martin, despite these hazards, continued valiantly and expertly to man his gun, damaging the flak batteries with his accurate fire. His courageous devotion to duty reflects great and lasting credit not only upon himself, but upon the service to which he belonged. (This award is made posthumously)

Next of kin: Mrs. Iva Martin (Mother) Pleasantville, New Jersey.


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Units served with

  • Unit Hierarchy: Squadron
  • Air Force: Ninth Air Force Twelfth Air Force Fifteenth Air Force
  • Type Category: Bombardment
Three airmen of the 389th Bomb Group stand with a B-24 Liberator used as a Flight Assembly Ship. Image via Tim Bivens. Handwritten caption from Bivens: 'My friend remembers it being named "Bucksheesh Benny" that it was used to fly Jack Benny around USA shows. Says it flew in North Africa with Benny and was eventually assigned to 389th as a hack and later as a form-up ship. He thinks it was originally with another group (possibly 376th or 98th).' Handwritten caption on reverse: '389th BG Form-up ship.'
  • Unit Hierarchy: Group
  • Air Force: Ninth Air Force Twelfth Air Force Fifteenth Air Force
  • Type Category: Bombardment


  • Military/Civilian/Mascot: Military
  • Nationality: American
  • Unit: 98th Bomb Group 345th Bomb Squadron
  • Service Numbers: 17061565 / O-728554
  • Highest Rank: Major
  • Role/Job: Pilot
  • Military/Civilian/Mascot: Military
  • Nationality: American
  • Unit: 98th Bomb Group 345th Bomb Squadron
  • Service Numbers: 33237890
  • Highest Rank: Staff Sergeant
  • Role/Job: Gunner


  • Aircraft Type: B-24 Liberator
  • Nicknames: - Snake Eyes
  • Unit: 98th Bomb Group 345th Bomb Squadron


  • Date: 1 August 1943
  • Official Description: 177 B-24’s, of IX Bomber Command (including Heavy Bombers on loan from Eighth AF) are dispatched to bomb oil refineries at Ploesti and nearby Campina. The operation (TIDALWAVE) is costly, 54 planes and 532 airmen being lost, but damage to the targets...


Event Location Date Description


Atlantic City, NJ 15 August 1921 Son of Iva Martin.


13 July 1942 Camden, New Jersey


Wounded In Action WIA

1 August 1943 Waist gunner of B-24 #42-40316 'Snake Eyes' flew on 1st Aug 43 Ploesti raid, wounded on raid. Died 5 days later. KIA


Benghazi, Libya 6 August 1943 Waist gunner of B-24 #42-40316 'Snake Eyes' flew on 1st Aug 43 Ploesti raid, died as a result of wounds from raid.



Benghazi, Libya 6 August 1943 Assigned to 345th BS, 98th BG, 9th AF.


Pleasantville, NJ, USA Pleasantville New Jersey, USA.


Beverly National Cemetery Beverly, Burlington CountyNJ Beverly National Cemetery Beverly, Burlington County New Jersey, USA.


Date23 Apr 2023 21:34:32

Capitalized the words "Waist Gunner" in the "Role/job" field.


Date24 Mar 2022 06:35:21
ChangesChanges to nickname

Black Sunday-Ploesti - Michael Hill

Date24 Mar 2022 06:34:25
ChangesChanges to role and biography

Black Sunday-Ploesti - Michael Hill

Date26 Feb 2022 20:35:26
ChangesChanges to biography, awards and events

Added/corrected actual citation for the DSC to SSgt Martin verbatim. Roumania was spelled this way in the citation.
Of note, there was a ASN typo error in the citation on General Order No. 86. The citation is correct for SSgt Martin, but the ASN entered in error is 33237890 and belonged to SSgt Barner F. Clemens. Under Paragraph 3, SSgt Clemens is referenced with ASN 32271998 (Martin's ASN) and received a DFC for the mission. Both Martin and Clemens were on the crew with Lt Hilary M. Blevins as the pilot.

Date15 Dec 2020 19:20:56
ChangesChanges to middlename, events and person associations
Date20 May 2015 12:06:20
ChangesChanges to biography and events

Merged with duplicate record to include information from:
- the records of the National Museum of the Mighty Eighth Air Force, Savannah, Georgia;
- Ploesti (Book)

Date19 Apr 2015 19:05:38
ChangesCreated entry with surname, middlename, firstname, nationality, service number, highest rank, role, biography, events, unit associations, aircraft associations, mission associations and media associations

Ernest Victor Martin: Gallery (1 items)