John Simmons Young

Military

Object Number - UPL 46483 - Capt. John S. Young - from Dallas, Texas - In the 9th Air Force - the 98th Bomb Group - and the 344th Bomb Squadron. Lt. Young was assigned to...

Lt. John S. Young was born and raised in Dallas, Texas. He was bored with college at SMU in Dallas, and knowing the country was headed for war, he enlisted in the U.S. Army Air Force early in 1941 and began training as an aviation cadet. He was known as "Johnny" and "Big John" by his friends, his fellow cadets and, later, his fellow pilots and air crewmen.

After earning his pilot's wings and finishing advanced flight training, 2nd Lieutenant John Young was stationed at Morrison and Barksdale Fields, Louisiana, taking advanced bomber training from the 3rd Air Force, as a B-24 Liberator bomber pilot. On one of his early training missions out of Barksdale, Young and his crew bombed and sank one of several German submarines caught on the Gulf of Mexico's water's surface and sunk by the 98th Bomb Group's pilots. After Young's 344th Bomb Squadron finished training by the Third Air Force, and were established as a B-24 Liberator heavy bombardment squadron, along with the rest of the 98th Bomb Group, they deployed to Cairo, Egypt, in June,1942, over the South Atlantic Transport Route, transiting from Morrison Field, Florida, though the Caribbean, to Brazil, and flew the trans Atlantic crossing from Brazil to Liberia, then, transited east across central Africa to Sudan. Lastly, the 98th Bomb Group reformed with their ground echelon, which traveled by ship around the Cape of Good Hope, to Egypt, joining with their air echelon in British Palestine.

The 344th Bomb Squadron was assigned to the newly formed 9th Bomber Command, in North Africa, operating from airfields in Tunis, Tunisia, Cairo, Egypt, Tobruk, and Benghazi, Libya, supporting the British Eighth Army in the Western Desert Campaign to drive the German army out of North Africa. Later, they also staged long range strategic bombardment missions on enemy military and industrial targets in Sicily, Italy, and the Southern Balkans, including, eventually, attacking and bombing the German held oil refineries at Ploești, Romania, in August, 1943.

Lt. Young flew on the famous mission to Ploesti, Romania, assigned to fly with Group Commander Col. John R. "Killer" Kane, as Kane's copilot in Kane's element lead aircraft, Hail Columbia. Kane's 98th Bombardment Group, the 389th Bomb Group, and the 44th Bomb Group, following him, led by Col. Leon Johnson, all took heavy losses flying into and through Ploesti's intense ground defenses, yet, they all attacked and bombed their targets, including the Astra Romana oil refinery, code named, "White IV", The Steaua Romano refinery at Campina, Ploesti, "Target Red", and "White V", the Columbia Aquila refinery, where Col. Addison Baker was shot down and killed.

From the time the 98th Bomb Group arrived in North Africa in 1942, the Group's B-24 squadrons, including John Young's 344th Bomb Squadron, bombed and strafed German and Italian Army land and sea targets, troops, tanks, and trucks, in the North African desert. They also attacked and bombed Axis shipping in the Mediterranean Sea, in the ocean harbors and enemy naval ships, installations, enemy ports, and port facilities in Libya, Sicily, Italy, Crete, and Greece, to cut the enemy's supply lines to the MTO, and to prepare for the Allied invasions of Sicily and Italy. Flying for the British, the 98th's B-24Ds flew out, mostly in small groups, from their bases, unescorted, often outnumbered and were attacked by both Italian and German fighters. Strangely, the American flyers noticed that the Italian fighter pilots were not, so much, as interested in fighting with the American bombers, as the Germans were. Young observed that the Italian fighter pilots he encountered in the air, would often dive past the American B-24s, with their heads down, not looking, aiming, or shooting at the American bombers, but, sometimes, waving at them. On one occasion, while flying low over some ships anchored in an Italian harbor, Young felt his bombardier, who hated the Germans, toggle two bombs, on his own, right into a German hospital ship with big red crosses on it, and blew it up, just as they overflew it. Young knew that ship was off limits, and he had been warned not to bomb it. He fully expected to be court martialed when he returned to Benghazi. However, several days later, when he was asked about the bombing and told the intelligence people what happened, they told him they had learned that the ship had been running arms and supplies to the Germans. So, instead of being reprimanded, Young and his crew were commended for his bombardier's sinking it.

On April 3, 1943, after a bombing mission over Naples, Italy, Lt. Young and a flight of several other Liberator bombers were leaving the target area, one of Young's B-24's engines failed, as they often did because of the primitive and harsh operating conditions, in the heat, and, especially, in the desert sand of North Africa. As he began falling behind the other B-24s, now with only three working engines, Young had to drop out of his formation just off the island of Crete. Separated from his flight, and alone, Young's B-24 and his crew were attacked by two squadrons of German fighter planes, with a total of eight mixed German Focke Wulf FW-190 and ME-109 fighters, all looking to shoot down a lone straggler American bomber. As the German fighters flew in for the kill, Young and his copilot rolled their Liberator bomber over into a steep diving turn toward the relative safety at the British held island of Malta, while their gunners opened up on the German fighters with their .50 cal. guns. Now, it was a fight for their lives, in a running gun battle over the ocean, eight against one. Using a trick he learned from the British Short Stirling bomber pilots Young had talked to in England, Lt. Young and his copilot held their huge B-24D in a steep, power off, spiraling corkscrew descent to get their plane down to the Mediterranean water's surface as quickly as possible, and to throw off the German fighter pilots' as they tried to shoot the American bomber on the way down, and to rob them of their vertical plane of attack once he reached the ocean's surface. It took the two pilots working together, to manhandle and maneuver their heavy Liberator bomber. Approaching the water's surface, the pilots firewalled the throttles on their three good engines, trying to make a run back to the safety at the island of Malta, with all eight of the German fighters in trail, making gunnery runs on their crippled Liberator.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         For morale reasons, and, mostly, because he just disliked military protocol, 2nd Lt. Young ignored most of what he felt were the nonessential military protocols and rules, and insisted that his crewmen not salute him or call him by anything but his first name, or the nicknames they gave him, insisting, "As far as l am concerned, we're in this fight together as equals." And, as such, he would, sometimes, go out in the desert heat of the middle of the day and work with his gunner/mechanics, SSgt. Treace, TSgt. Leard, his crew chief, TSgt. Weckesser, and the others, as they worked on his plane. But he confided, "They let me work with them, but, I was, mostly, in their way."

As the German fighters continually bore down on his B-24, raking it with their 20mm cannons, Young's top turret gunner, Tech Sergeant Fred Weckesser and the other gunners timed and called his defensive turns, called, "breaks", for him over the intercom, "Fighter 8 o'clock, Johnny, break left !" "Two high, three and four o'clock, Big John, roll right !", so the two pilots could roll their big bomber into steep turns into the approaching fighters, holding their B-24 just above the water's surface, to force the faster, but less maneuverable, German fighter planes, at the B-24's slower speeds and tighter turning radius, into overshooting Young's B-24D Liberator, as he continued to make his plane as difficult a moving target for them, as possible, and put his gunners continually in position to make passing shots at the fighters as they flew over and past his tighter turning bomber. Once clear, after the fighters flew past, Young and his copilot shoved for the island of Malta in a desperate run for safety, knowing very well how ditching their B-24 in the open water was almost certainly a dead man's maneuver, as the ocean would collapse the B-24s' thin non structural corrugated bomb bay doors, which would buckle and let the ocean water hit the aft bomb bay bulkhead, which would break the back of the airplane into two pieces causing the disastrous heavy impact usually severely injuring or killing the crew. The defensive tactics worked well enough for the ten or fifteen minutes of the air fight, that Young's gunners were able to shoot down three of the German fighters, and damaged two others. When Norman Whalen, Young's excellent navigator and nose gunner, from Denton,Texas, hit one of the FW 190s squarely with rounds from his .50 cal. nose gun he blew it out of the sky in a loud explosion and let out a war whoop on the intercom, "...the equal of any Texas cowboy." Young wrote, later, "I almost felt like we were home in Texas, when l heard Whalen yell !" That last explosive kill seemed to take the fight out of the remaining German pilots, running low on fuel, or, maybe, they just decided they had had enough bad medicine for one day, after seeing three of their friends shot down, and two more of the German fighters damaged, and not likely to make it home, the Germans disengaged to the applause of the American fliers, all of whom knew, very well, they had just survived a fight that they shouldn't have.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         But the German fighter pilots' 12.5mm machine guns and 20mm cannons had taken a toll on their B-24 bomber, now, badly damaged with only two and a half or three running engines, damaged, failing, trailing smoke and streams of gasoline, that could catch fire at any time, Young and his copilot were able to nurse their big plane all the way back to Malta, close enough to ditch the plane in the shallow water just off one of the island's beaches. Even though ditching a B-24 was usually a disastrous  maneuver in a B-24, everyone got out safely and swam to shore, probably because they were in such shallow water. For his actions on that flight, Young was awarded the Silver Star medal, and he and his entire crew were all awarded their first Distinguished Flying Crosses for valor, determination, and flying skill, in shooting down three German fighters, damaging two others, and successfully defending their airplane against eight, quite determined, enemy fighter pilots.

Not long after that air fight, the rumors of the coming mission to bomb the German held oil refineries at Ploesti, Romania, turned into an announcement, in mid 1943. John Young and his crew had successfully fought through, and survived 27 combat missions, with over 300 combat hours logged. Like many of the 98th Bomb Group's men, he had flown more missions than the Army Air Force's 25 mission requirement to earn a trip home. But, given the desperate situation of the Allied forces at that time in the war, the destruction of the oil refineries became viewed as a mission critical to changing the direction of the war. So, Young and his crew were held over by their Group Commander Col. Kane, along with all of the pilots and crewmen in the 98th Bomb Group, as were the crews and planes of the 376th, the 93rd, and the 389th Bomb Groups, all on loan to the 9th Bomber Command from the 8th Air Force in Britain, and had been brought down to North Africa for the mission. Lt. Young was invited by Col. Kane to participate in the planning and training for the mission. Also, before the mission, Young and his crew were twice chosen to fly their long ranged B-24D, Liberator from North Africa north to Britain and back, transporting military equipment and government VIPs back to Benghazi in preparation for the mission. After returning from his second ferry flight to Britain, Young figured out that the top secret individual he had transported back to Benghazi was Winston Churchill. He had suspected as much before it was later confirmed to him that it was Churchill because, as he said, the back of his B-24 "smelled like cigar smoke" after the trip back to Benghazi. Churchill wrote in his biography how he nearly froze his feet in the freezing temperatures in the back of Young's B-24 at the high altitudes they had to fly, over the European Alps, to get back to Libya.

Last minute staffing changes for security reasons before the Ploesti mission, prevented the Ploesti Mission Commander, General Uzal Ent, from flying in Kane's plane. Ent was moved to Col. Keith Compton's lead B-24D, Teggie Ann, and several other colonels and generals were grounded for being security risks if they were shot down and caught by the Germans. Ent, who was also well known as a dangerously incompetent pilot, was reassigned to fly in the mission commander's cockpit observer seat, in, the B-24,Teggie Ann. Kane assigned John Young, to fly as his copilot in his B-24D, 41-11825, which  Kane renamed (for the second time), Hail Columbia, (formerly named, Grumpy), this time, renamed especially for the Ploesti mission, and was now designated one of the mission's five element lead airplanes. This reassignment proved fortunate for Lt. Young, who's regularly assigned airplane, Kickapoo and his regular crew, because Kane asked all of them to fly with him in, Hail Columbia, including, Lt. Norman, "The Baron", Whalen, Young's exceptional navigator, Lt. Harry Korger, his bombardier, and the rest of, Kickapoo's, regular crew, including Staff Sergeant Neville C. Benson, waist gunner, First Lieutenant Raymond B. Hubbard, Radioman, Staff Sergeant Joseph W. LaBranche, Gunner, Technical Sergeant Frederick A. Leard, Waist Gunner, Sergeant William Leo, Gunner, Staff Sergeant Harvey L. Treace, Gunner, Tech Sergeant, Fred Weckesser, Flight Engineer and Top Turret Gunner, all of whom were known as seasoned and exceptionally skilled airmen. Young often said after the war that Col. Kane designated him as, Hail Columbia's, command pilot on the Ploesti mission, and that Kane flew much of the mission as his copilot. Apparently, Col. Kane had asked his copilot, Lt. Young to take control of, Hail Columbia, in the commander's left seat as pilot in command, for the startup for the long mission, flying as command pilot, while forming up over the Mediterranean Sea until they approached Ploesti, when Col. Kane switched places with his copilot, to take the airplane commander's left seat position to become the command pilot on, Hail Columbia to aim and fire the extra four, fixed, forward firing .50 caliber machine guns installed in, Hail Columbia's, nose. Evidently, the plan was, for the "Killer" to take command of his plane on the run into their targets so he could be fresh for flying the bomb run into, and over, Ploesti's target area, and to lead two of his element's three Bomb Groups, the 98th and the 44th Bombardment Groups, on their approaches into their initial points (IPs) to their assigned targets.

As planning and training for the Ploesti mission progressed, and the day of the mission approached, the men of the 98th Bomb Group's morale was suffering. After having been told, initially, that the mission to Ploesti was going to be a milk run, the men gradually learned from British intelligence, what the specific defensive horrors at Ploesti really were : high concrete flak towers throughout the city, hundreds of hidden light and heavy flak guns, up to, and including, the dreaded German 20, 40, and 88mm anti aircraft guns, with barrage balloons spread out in large rings around the city, with cables and explosive charges hanging from them, designed to cut the American bombers to pieces and/or to blow them up. There were German and Romanian fighter planes and pilots, assigned to Ploesti, trained and on guard, waiting to defend the city. The men already knew that their own B-24 bombers were flying fire traps in combat, and that they would be flying without any protection from fighter escorts, into the heavily defended target area at very low levels,10 to 20 feet off the ground, pulling up to bomb at no more than 200 to 250 feet, just high enough to clear the refineries' smoke stacks and other obstacles in their way. They also knew that getting hit by the explosions and splinters from the large caliber explosive flak gun shells at 20 to 250 feet above the ground, would rule out much hope of crash landing or escaping from their airplanes, especially, if the planes caught fire, or, if the pilots lost their flight controls and control of their planes, as they often did, due to the deadly effect of the flak rounds. After a year of living in the North African desert heat, the men were sick with dysentery and other desert diseases. They were physically and mentally worn out, and war weary, after months of constant combat missions and living in the hot harsh hot primitive conditions in the desert. For over a year, they had been strafing and bombing Italian and German army troops, trucks, and tanks, on land, and bombing axis ships at sea, and in the Italian and Sicilian sea ports. But, now, instead of being able to look forward to going home after having completed their 25 mission requirement, they were training to fly a longer and more deadly mission than they had ever flown to this point, against a target, so well defended and dangerous, that the mission became viewed by the men as suicide. Some of the men felt betrayed by their commanders and even by the the Army Air Force, itself. One pilot, reportedly, stood up in one of the mission briefings and angrily told the mission commanders, "We've flown all over North Africa, Sicily, Italy, Greece, and the Mediterranean. We've flown every tough mission and done everything you've asked of us. But, I'll be damned if I will fly my men into certain slaughter at Ploesti !" "You can bet my plane will be turning back with mechanical trouble on the flight over !" And, it was reported that he and several other pilots of the 98th Bomb Group's crews did turn back from the mission.

The pilots and flying officers in the 98th Bomb Group, and others, as well, were showing symptoms of combat stress and fatigue. Many of those who had survived combat, had been lost due to dysentery and other desert sicknesses. The officers became involved in drunken fighting at night over in Benghazi, sometimes inflicting serious injuries on themselves and the Australian and British military personnel they found there. Drunken 98th pilots were injured by crashing their captured German motorcycles, racing with each other on the desert roads and the airfield runways at night. Several pilots nearly killed themselves in landing accidents on the three airbase's runways. The final broken straw was when several alcohol impaired American pilots ground looped and crashed one of the German twin engine JU-88 light bombers, left behind on base by the Germans when they left, and were rebuilt into flying condition by the American aircraft mechanics. These, and the other events, convinced the Ploesti mission planners and commanders that something had to be said and done, or the mission could be compromised. Or it might even fail. 

So, on the last of the evening mission briefings, Gen. Lewis Brereton called the flying officers of each of the five bomb groups together, separately, for individual final briefings, and for a closing speech about the mission. After the tech briefings, Brereton added to the 98th Bomb Group's officers a final speech that went something like this : " Now, I want talk to you about a very serious problem that can affect the success of this mission. You already know how tough this mission is going to be. I can't change that or soft pedal what you will face over your targets. What I can do is to tell you to stop worrying about living past this mission. If that's not clear enough, get this straight, and get it straight, right now. Get it into your heads that you are probably not going to survive the mission to Ploesti. Put your hopes and dreams for the future and seeing your families and loved ones again, behind you, and forget about them. Stop worrying about living past tomorrow, because you're not going to live past tomorrow. In fact, you're already dead men ! You died and were dead men three years ago when you signed up to fight this war. If you can't accept that, if you can't accept what you have to do tomorrow and what the consequences will be, then, you will not be able do your jobs, and you will not be able to accomplish this difficult and critical mission, which is critical to winning the war for the people back home that you love, and that you are fighting for. They are depending on you to destroy your targets at Ploesti and win the war. So think about them and what the consequences for them will be if you fail tomorrow, and we lose this war ! After a short pause, Brereton continued, "You all have some time this evening and tonight. Take that time and think hard about what I just said. Arrange your personal items on your bunks so they can be sent home if you don't return from the mission. Write your wives and families tonight and tell them whatever you need to say to them before we fly tomorrow. But, if you can't accept what I just told you, if you can't make peace with it and do your job tomorrow, then, come and see me before morning, and I will see that you are relieved of your duties for the mission, and we will find someone who can ! Finally, I want to make it absolutely clear again to all of you, how critically important this mission is to the war effort. If it is a success, it can change the direction of the war. If it fails, it could cost us the war. But, if all of you do your jobs and bomb your targets tomorrow, it will be worth it even if we lose every airplane !"

Then, after each briefing to the flying officers of the five bomb groups, they were dismissed. It was reported that before morning a few officers did take Brereton up on his offer and asked to be relieved from flying the mission. But, there were many other officers, like Col. Ted Timberlake, and other staff flying officers, who hated having been prohibited from flying the mission because the last thing they, wanted was to be viewed by their men as cowards. Even so, many more men, enlisted, noncoms, and officers, some of whom were not even on regular combat flying status, wanted to fly on the Ploesti mission so much that they stowed away on various airplanes and flew the mission as extras. At least, one pilot tried to go, but was so sick with dysentery, he finally had to stand down and stay home. But, what none of the men knew, then, was that before the next day would be over, 446 of them would be injured, captured, crippled, maimed, missing, or dead, starting with the replacement crewmen flying Lt. John Young's regular B-24D, Kickapoo.

Col. John Kane wrote about Brereton's speech to the 98th Group's officers, in his autobiography about the war and the mission. He wrote how serious and quiet the men were, and how pale and shocked many of them looked as they filed out of the briefing area. The desert stars were bright that night over the desert, as always. But, the mood was dark over the three airbases at Benghazi. Few men slept very well that night, especially since the mechanics were replacing and test running many of the B-24s' big Pratt & Whitney Double Wasp engines, all throughout the night. But, if there had been any doubt about their status before, now there was none. Like so many other men involved in fighting this desperate war for the survival of the free nations, the men knew they were being asked to give up everything for this mission, whatever the cost.

Both Kane and John Young had been in on the intelligence, the planning, and the training for the mission, from the beginning. They both knew how steep the odds against them were going to be over Ploesti. Later that night, Col. Kane walked out alone to his regular thinking place, out on the Lete Air Base flight line, and sat for a long time, by himself under the desert stars beside his beloved B-24D, Hail Columbia, almost as if he felt this would be the last time he would have with this special airplane that he felt had saved his life more than once. He had earned his own Silver Star in, Hail Columbia, in an air fight with a German ME-110 fighter, similar to the air fight Johnny Young had in his battle with German fighters over Crete. He was among those convinced he would not survive the Ploesti mission. So were, pretty much, the rest of Kane's crewmen from Johnny Young's plane, Kickapoo, including John Young, who would be their copilot on, Hail Columbia, for this last mission. Also, their bombardier, Lt. Harold Korger, and Navigator, Lt. Norm Whalen, Lt. Raymond Hubbard, their radio operator, and the gunners, Staff Sergeants Leard, LaBranch, and Tech Sgt. Weckesser, many of whom, wrote as much to their families that night. Kane wrote farewell letters to his wife and to his parents. Johnny Young wrote his goodbyes to his parents. He had no one else to say goodbye to. Weeks earlier, his mother had written him that his high school sweetheart in Dallas had gone back east to college and married the grandson of wealthy Texas oil wildcatters, the Slicks and the Urschels. Even with the desert stars shining so brightly, the night was pretty black for the men of the 8th and 9th U.S. Army Air Forces, at Benghazi, the 98th Bombardment Group, and for the men of the other three bomb groups assigned to fly to Ploesti, and an especially dark one for Lt. John Young. Even before he had left the United States and deployed to North Africa, he had held onto the hope that, somehow, he would survive the war and return home and marry his high school sweet heart back in Texas. But, he knew things were not well when she stopped answering his letters. He considered the irony that an oil man had taken his future wife after he had gotten so close to his release and a trip home. And, now, a desperate fight for oil would take his life. Still, he knew he had to let go of whatever hopes and dreams he had for any kind of life or future. He accepted that he had to forget and stop thinking about all of those things he had hoped for, just as General Brereton had warned. The reality of the war, the difficult deadly mission they faced, and General Brereton's pointed speech, had ended them. John Kane, John Young, and all of their crewmen, knew that to hope for something better than the finality of this last mission, would be a distraction they could not afford. Young kept to himself that night and resigned himself to whatever would come. He knew his friend, John Kane, had picked him as his copilot because of Kane's respect for Young's flying skill and the aggressiveness and determination he had demonstrated in combat. He knew Col. Kane both depended on him, and had honored him, by asking him to fly with him on what might be their very last mission. Young also knew his own crewmen, and all of the men in his own 98th Bomb Group, the 389th, and the 44th and 389th Bomb Groups following them, also, depended on, Col. Kane, himself, and Norman Whalen, their element's lead navigator, to lead the planes following them, to their initial points and to get them as close as they could to their waypoints and to their targets at Ploesti. He knew, how he and Col. Kane had to fly their airplanes into and through a five or ten mile solid wall of anti aircraft flak gun emplacements just to get to their own targets and accomplish their mission. He was determined he would not let his commander and his crewmen down. He had heard Col. Kane tell his officers and the men of the 98th, the 44th, and the 389th Bomb Groups the same thing Col. Addison Baker told his men in the 93rd Bomb Group. Kane and Baker, both, promised their men, " Follow me and stay with me. I promise you I will lead you to your targets, or I will die trying !" Young had also made up his mind that he intended to do the same. As he put it, simply, "The night before the mission, after Brereton's speech, Col. Kane came to me and asked me, 'How are you doing, Johnny ?' I told him, 'Colonel, I'm fine.' He asked me how I felt about the mission. I told him, 'Killer, we've got a tough job to do, and we're going to do it !' And I could see in his eyes, he believed me. All he said was, 'Okay, Johnny, l'll see you in the morning.' " Later that night Young wrote to his parents what he thought about the coming mission. "I believe the mission will be worth it", he wrote, "even if I don't come home. Sincerely, Your son, Johnny "

The next morning, in the mass take off for Ploesti, things went bad early for, Young's plane, Kickapoo, and it's replacement pilots and crew. Young's close friend from the 98th's 344th Bombardment Squadron, Command Pilot Lt. Bob Nespor and his Copilot Lt. John Clark Reilly, borrowed from the 93rd Bomb Group, crashed, Kickapoo, on takeoff and were killed, with all, but only two, who survived the crash, both their navigator, Lt. Russel Polivka and one of their replacement gunners, Gunner SSgt. Eugene Garner, both, somehow, crawled out of the burning wreckage, and survived the crash, and their burns with eight men killed in action and two men wounded in action, but returned to service in 1944 after long recoveries. Like all of the B-24s on the mission, Kickapoo, was grossly overloaded on takeoff with 500, and 1000 pound bombs, incendiary bombs, ammunition, extra gasoline in two extra 400 gallon gasoline tanks in it's bomb bays. Each B-24 needed all four of their Pratt & Whitney radial engines running at full war emergency power just to be able to reach takeoff speed and start a shallow climb out of ground effect, with all of the extra weight they were carrying. An engine failure on take off, with even one engine, especially a critical outboard one, could be disastrous. But, after it's long takeoff roll, just after it broke ground and was beginning to climb, Kickapoo's #4 engine failed, seized up, and caught fire, another victim of the Libyan desert's sand and heat. It's two young replacement pilots, John Clark Reilly and Command Pilot, Bob Nespor, began a slow turn out over the ocean and jettisoned their bombs. They probably should have bailed out or ditched in the shallow water just off the beach at Lete airbase. Nespor could have taken either of those options, but he had already made the decision to try to save his valuable airplane, and began maneuvering for an approach back to Lete's runway. He had to abort his first approach and go around for another one because of all the red dust in the air, and to miss the planes still taking off for the mission. As Nespor attempted a second approach, his right wing became completely enveloped in flames, and his remaining engines began to fail. On short final approach back to Lete, losing power from his remaining three engines, Bob Nespor, John Riley, and, Kickapoo, sank to the runway, hit the ground hard, bounced, drifted off the center line, and hit a concrete telephone pole with their left wing tip, causing the plane to cartwheel off to the left side off the runway, crashing into the desert, opening the full wing gas tanks in a huge fireball. Lt. Nespor was badly burned and died from his burns two weeks later. The fireball also killed Copilot John Riley and the rest of the crew, except for the two survivors, Lt. Polivka, their navigator, and Staff Sgt.Garner, both badly burned, but escaped the crash's wreckage Both men gradually recovered from their burns, and returned to service in 1944. The pilots and men taking off behind them, including John Kane, John Young, and those forming up above them, saw the flames and smoke plumes over Lete air base from Kickapoo's, crash wreckage. They knew that the men in that fire would not likely be returning home to their loved ones. Kickapoo, and it's replacement crewmen were the very first casualties of the Ploesti mission before it had even started, with 9 men killed (9 KIA) and 2 badly wounded (2 WIA-RTS). But they would not be the last. The crash of the, Kickapoo, was a bad omen for what was to come.

After climbing away from Benghazi, and during the long flight over the Mediterranean Sea north and east to Romania, Col. Kane and Lt. Young in, Hail Columbia, led their three bomb groups across the Mediterranian Sea and on into Romania and the Ploesti area. They had already lost sight of the third part of their element, Col. Jack W. Wood, and the 389th Bomb Group's "Sky Scorpions", had fallen behind Kane before they all closed in on Ploesti. The 389th Bomb Group had not removed their ball turrets, as the other groups had done, to reduce the weight and drag of the bottom turrets that slowed their planes and were not needed for this low level mission.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                As the 44th and 98th Bomb Groups approached their first initial points coming into Ploesti, the situation ahead had deteriorated and had become even more chaotic and deadly than they could have imagined. Coming down out of the mountains, flying very low, down to 10 to 50 feet above the Danube River Valley approaching Ploesti, the two bomb groups began taking light and heavy anti aircraft cannon fire from Ploesti's outlying flak guns. And, in turn, the airplane gunners began shooting their fixed and flexible .50 caliber guns at the enemy flak guns ahead of, to the sides of, and behind them.

As they flew toward Ploesti, Col Kane and Lt. Young both saw scattered rain clouds and cells throughout the area and what appeared ahead of them, what, at first, looked like a thunderstorm with heavy rain clouds and lightening over Ploesti in the distance. But it was, in fact, their principal target, the Astra Romano Refinery complex, already exploding and on fire, pouring flames and boiling black smoke into the sky, as it was being attacked and bombed by the rogue planes that had broken away from their Group Leader, K.K. Compton, in his lead B-24D, Teggie Ann, who had inexplicably, turned away from his targets after his first IP at Targoviste. These 93rd and 376th Bomb Groups' airplanes, had come in from the South and West, and were bombing the 98th's assigned targets ahead of Col. Kane and the other pilots, who were trying to comprehend what they were seeing. What previously looked like dark thunderstorm clouds and lightning over Ploesti from farther away, were the explosions and fires over the already fiercely burning and exploding oil tanks of Kane's assigned target, White IV. The flashes that had looked like lightning from farther away, were caused by the explosions and towering flames along with the Germans' green tracer flak rounds streaming up into the sky. And what had looked like dark thunder clouds, at first, was actually the boiling smoke from the exploding and burning oil tanks.

As the planes of the 98th Bomb Group flew in closer, John Kane, looking intently ahead, out of his forward and side windscreens, and concentrating hard ahead, so as not to miss his ground checkpoints leading to his target, he was also trying to make sense of what he was seeing, and said to himself, as much as to his young copilot, " Holy Hell, Johnny, the mission's a bust ! ". But, Young, Col. Leon Johnson, the leader of the 44th Bombing Group in, Suzie Q, behind him, Lt. Robert Sternfels, the pilot of his B-24D, The Sandman, in the 98th's 345th Bomb Squadron, three flights behind, Hail Columbia, and all of the pilots of the planes following them, could now see clearly, what they were facing up ahead. The attacking 93rd Bomb Group's B-24s were flying,  right down on the deck, but flying directly toward them from the west and northwest, closing fast, some on fire, trailing flames, gasoline and hydraulic vapor, and smoke, also flying down low 20, to 200, to 250 feet altitudes, after bombing the 98th's assigned targets at White IV, the Astra Romano, and White V, the Columbia Aquila refineries. Kane's element's pilots all could now see what the full effects of the German anti aircraft defenses were, already blowing the 93rd's and 376th's planes out of the sky. Ahead there were huge oil tank fires, bomb, and secondary, explosions obscuring their view, in each direction and over their assigned target areas. All of this was caused by the 93rd Bomb Group's leader, Col. Addison Baker, Major Ramsey Potts, and Lt. John Palm, along with Col. Walter Stewart, and the planes from the 376th Bomb Group, also ahead of them, all of whom were strafing and bombing White IV, White V, and the area around it, blocks of which were already on fire with walls of flames shooting hundreds of feet into the air with huge explosions from the delayed action fuses of the 500 and 1000 pound bombs exploding ahead of the 98th and the 44th Bomb Groups, just as Col. John Kane's entire element of two bomb groups began a slow coordinated formation turn into their heavily compromised targets. Their throttles were pushed to their maximum war emergency power stops, flying down at 50 feet above the ground at nearly 250 miles an hour.

Southeast of them and also heading straight for them, was Maj. Walter Travis Stewart in his B-24D, Utah Man, who had just taken over leading the 93rd Bomb Group after his Group Leader, Col. Addison Baker and his copilot, Major John Jerstad in their B-24D, Hell's Wench, were shot down and killed ahead of him just minutes before, crashing in an explosion of flames into Ploesti's Columbia Aquila refinery, as the Kane's leading Flight 1, of his 98th Group were making ready to bomb his targets at White IV. But, Major Walter Stewart, in his B-24D, Utah Man, and the rest of the 93rd's planes following him, converged with, and flew right through the 98th's formation, all at the same low altitude in the chaos created by a catastrophically wrong turn away from Ploesti that had been ordered earlier by Mission Commander, Gen. Uzal Ent, and loyally executed by his command pilot, Col. Keith K. Compton, in their B-24D, Teggie Ann, leading both the 93rd and the 376th Bomb Group's formations south and east toward Bucharest and away from Ploesti !

Still, Col. Kane in, Hail Columbia, Col. Leon Johnson, in his plane, Suzie Q, and the rest of the 98th Bomb Group's "Pyramiders", with Col. Jack Wood and the 389th's "Sky Scorpions" north of Ploesti now heading north for the city of Campina, all without discussion or hesitation, continued following their attack plans, the 389th into the refinery complex at Campina, "Target Red", and the 44th into White V's walls of smoke, flames, and explosions, over the thunder of the flak guns all around and south of Ploesti. These men were all quite determined to bomb their targets, just as Kane and Col. Baker had promised to lead them there, the day and the night before. Col. Addison Baker, and his copilot, Major John Jerstad, and their crew, were among the first of those who did "die trying" when their bomber, Hell's Wench, took direct hits from the deadly flak guns, caught on fire, pitched up into a climb and, then, crashed into the ground, instantly killing everyone still on board their plane.

All of this chaos was caused, partly, because south and east of Ploesti, Mission Commander Gen. Ent had deliberately failed to order Keith Compton to fly north  toward Ploesti at his first IP outside the city. Instead of staying on course to bomb his assigned targets, Ent had already decided the defenses over the targets were too formidable and ordered his pilot, Col. Compton, to turn southeast toward Bucharest, and refused to answer the desperate radio calls that they had made a wrong turn, from Ramsey Potts, and Maj. Walter Stewart in, Utah Man, just behind him in the 93rd Bomb Group, even ignoring the calls on his own interphone from his navigator, Capt. Harold Wicklund, warning Compton and Ent that they had made a disastrously wrong turn away from Ploesti !

Col. Addison Baker, behind them, had also seen the wrong turn and quickly decided to break formation and take his planes to bomb Ploesti on his own, just like he had said he would ! He deliberately led part of the 93rd Bomb Group's planes, who followed him, and turned back north toward the refineries at Ploesti. Walter Stewart and Ramsey Potts were also both in shock and disbelief at what they had just seen Ent and Compton do and, also, disobeyed their attack plan orders to stay with Ent and Compton and, also, turned back north and west following Col. Baker, all of them were  determined to attack Ploesti on their own initiative, in spite of Compton's wrong turn, away from their targets.

But Col. Compton with General Ent, in, Teggie Ann, twenty minutes after having turned toward Bucharest, and leading the 376th planes that were still following them, were circling around Ploesti east of the city, instead of attacking their targets. They could see off to the west, thousands of the German flak tracer rounds streaming into the sky, the smoke, explosions, and the fires from the bombs dropped by the 93rd, the 44th, and the 98th Bomb Groups. And they could see their friends' planes being shot down, burning, exploding, and crashing into the ground in flames, south of, Ploesti's refinery area.

Major Norman Appold in the B-24, G.I. Jennie, his wingman, Lt. John Palm, piloting Brewery Wagon, and two other ships from the 376th Bomb Group's formation had also seen the mistaken turn that Compton and Ent had made and had quickly decided that they, too, would bomb Ploesti on their own. So they, also, disobeyed their attack plan orders to stay with their assigned formation, and also left the 376th Bomb Group's main formation led by Col. Compton, and turned their planes back to the northwest, with a four plane section, looking for targets to bomb. On their run into the refinery area, they decided to attack Target White II, the Concordia Vega Refinery, Col. Addison Baker's assigned target. After bombing White II, Major Appold's surviving planes, along with Major Potts and the 93rd's planes, now fleeing the area, also passed right through John Kane’s 98th and the 44th Bomb Groups still heading for White IV. The confusion resulted in more ongoing moments of terror and violent maneuvering as three layers of formations of B-24 bombers from the 98th, the 44th, the 93rd, and Major Appold's planes from the 376th Bomb Group, all desperately maneuvered their airplanes vertically, pulling up, or pushing their yokes forward and down, to avoid mid air collisions with each other's planes, as the converging planes all flew through Col. Kane's formation from two different directions in the mad confusion of the broken mission that Operation Tidal Wave had become.
                                                                                                                                                                                                Lt. John Palm was also one of the rogue pilots from the 376th Bomb Group, who had elected to turn away from his element leader, and Bucharest toward Ploesti, and was heading for targets of opportunity at tree top level. But he never made it that far. He took a number of direct flak hits and had to release his bombs just to keep his crippled and sinking ship in the air, when he suffered another direct 88mm explosive flak hit on, Brewery Wagon's, nose, instantly killing his navigator and his bombardier up front, destroying his flight control cables, and taking out two engines. Now, with his plane descending, on fire, and he himself seriously wounded with his right leg blown almost completely off, and being attacked by two ME-109s, Palm crash landed, Brewery Wagon, his failing B-24D, into an open field, to be captured alive, along with three other surviving crew members.

Col. Jack Wood, leading the 398th's "Sky Scorpions", and Lt. Lloyd "Pete" Hughes had fallen behind Kane before their run into Ploesti, but all of them found and bombed their targets north of Ploesti at Campina, Romania, including Target Red, the Steaua Romano refinery, with Col. Wood losing four of his group over their targets. Pete Hughes had his B-24's wings and fuselage set aflame after flying right through a wall of fire between himself and Target Red after taking two direct flak hits on his airplane approaching his target, north of Ploesti. Hughes ran out of luck after flying right through a wall of flames, which turned his plane into a blow torch of flames, before bombing his refinery. Unfazed, he continued on, his plane enveloped inflames, and bombed his target before he trying to crash land his burning B-24 in the Prahova River dry valley. But, before he could do so, his left wing folded, crashing his plane into the ground in a fireball, instantly killing him and all but two of his crew, who, somehow, crawled out of the flaming bomber badly burned, but survived. For his bravery, his leadership, and his absolute determination to bomb his target, Lt. Lloyd "Pete" Hughes was posthumously awarded the Medal Of Honor. He had deliberately given everything he had, including his life, to accomplish his mission.

Col. John Kane and John Young, leading the 98th and the 44th Bomb Groups, and their followers, made their final sweeping formation turn into their final bomb run, and began making more large sweeping formation turns, weaving back and forth, individually and in groups, flying around and between the oil fires, explosions, and smoke pouring skyward in their way, as they pressed home their attack, looking for the waypoints to their targets at the Astra Romano refinery complex. All this time, the lead planes' pilots and gunners were strafing the flak guns ahead of them with their .50 cal. machine guns, and the four extra fixed .50 cal. guns installed in the noses of their planes, which John Kane operated in, Hail Columbia, destroying every flak gun he could hit in front of him. His top turret had been modified for Fred Weckesser, to fire his two .50 cal. guns forward, as well. The waist gunners and tail gunner were also shooting at flak guns out of the sides and the back of their B-24s. All this time, Col. Kane and Lt. Young were working hard just to keep their airplane flying. Kane wrote that it took all of his and Young's combined arm strength to manhandle Hail Columbia's yokes and rudder pedals, to maneuver and turn between and around the obstacles ahead of them, while trying to control the vibrating monster that their shot up B-24 had become in White IV's rough air, boiling with flames and explosions around and under them, in and out of the huge updrafts and the wake turbulences from the 93rd's airplanes flying over and under them, and, yet, still managing to avoid all of the other American B-24 bombers flying through their formation. At the same time, Kane and Young could see the enemy's flak rounds crossing in front of them from all directions and could hear and feel the splinters hitting their plane. They could see their friends, including Col. Baker and Major Jerstad, who  crashed off to their front, their right sides, and behind them, with others, like Lt. Sam Neeley and his crew in the B-24D, Raunchy, who flew into a wall of smoke, but never came out of it, blown up by a barrage balloon cable's explosive charge to the left of them. They saw planes catching on fire simply by flying through the 300 foot high flames and being blown up from both the flak rounds and the explosions from the 93rd's delayed action bombs exploding under them, with other planes crashing into the oil tanks and the refinery buildings on the ground. As the 93rd's delayed action bombs began exploding under and in front of them. Norm Whalen, was firing his nose mounted .50 cal. gun at the flak guns ahead of him, and watching all of this out of his forward nose position, wrote later, "I thought I was going to die right there. I thought we all were. I never thought any of us could make it out of there alive !" Then, just like Pete Hughes had done, Kane flew his plane right through one of the huge columns of boiling flames that he couldn't avoid, which reached up even higher than his airplane's 250 feet of altitude and burned his left arm resting on his left side sliding window sill. Yet, somehow, the flames did not ignite the gasoline leaking from, Hail Columbia's, wings or the gasoline fumes inside it's bomb bay and fuselage. By some kind of a miracle, Kane, Young, and Harry Korger were all able to visually locate, line up on Korger's target, and drop their bombs on the Astra Romano refinery complex. Just then, Hail Columbia, took a direct flak round hit with a loud explosion in it's number 4 outboard engine, destroying it and knocking it partly off it's mounts. Kane called to his copilot, " Feather it, Johnny !", to secure the dead engine and feather the engine's propeller, which Young did. Then, their number 3 engine's propeller was hit and holed by a small caliber round, and it started vibrating and shaking the plane. The number 2 engine's propeller on the left side was also hit and damaged. Things were quickly going bad for Kane and his crew. One engine was out, and two more engines were shaking the whole ship, with propeller damage. And, coming out of White IV, they were now heading into the heaviest of the flak areas, south of Ploesti, that had just killed Col. Addison Baker, Major Jerstad, and their crews. Kane had been flying his engines at war emergency power, for much longer than the placarded five minutes. Copilot Young pulled the three good engines' throttle levers back slightly, out of their war emergency power detents. Kane yelled at him, "What are you doing, Johnny?" to which Lt. Young yelled back, "We've got to save the engines, Killer, or we'll lose 'em !", to which Kane, thinking moment to moment, yelled back, "Damn it, make them save our asses first, then, we'll save them !", and slammed the three good engines' throttle levers forward, back to full war emergency power. This was noted as some of the "good advice" Young wrote about that he wrote that he always got from  Kane. By that time, several of, Hail Columbia's, gunners had been hit by flak splinters and were wounded and bleeding, but not seriously so. As they began leaving the refinery area behind them, the 98th Bomb Group's planes had been flying through the destruction around the greater Ploesti area for a very long half hour. They lost 67 percent of their Group's B-24s over White IV.

In contrast, after having been in the area for over 20 minutes, Col. Compton, Gen. Ent, in, Teggie Ann, and the main force of the 376th Bomb Group who obeyed their attack plan and stayed with their element leader, finally, dropped their bombs harmlessly over the hills north of Ploesti and headed southwest for home, undamaged and intact.

But not so intact were the men and the planes of the other bomb groups, and the rogue planes from the 93rd and the 376th Bombing Groups led by Major Appold, Major Potts, and John Palm, that had all been decimated by the German defenses over their targets. As these remnant survivors were still trying to escape the area alive, they were attacked by the high flying German and Romanian fighters, who dove down on them and shot down several more of the American bombers. Kane and Young had to make defensive turns to throw off the German fighter planes' aim, and they did avoid being hit by any of them. Several other straggler planes, including Robert Sternfels' plane, The Sandman, Col. Walter Stewart in, Utah Man, Lt. Gilbert "Gib" Hadley in, Hadley's Harem, and later, Lt. Royden LeBrecht and his undamaged plane, The Squaw, all joined up with John Kane with his skilled and meticulous lead navigator, Lt. Norman Whalen, who started navigating the slower group of survivors south, all the way out of Ploesti, through Turkey, over the Pindus Mountains, down to the Aegean Sea, then, all the way to the British airbase at Nicosia on the Greek island of Cyprus, where those planes that were still flying, landed safely.

As the group was approaching Cyprus just after dark and just before they got to Cyprus, Lt. Gib Hadley lost the fight with his damaged, failing, shot up B-24, Hadley's Harem, just after they all reached the Aegean Sea and flew past the Turkish coast in the darkness, toward safety at Cyprus. But, low on gas and engine oil, Hadley realized he couldn't make it to Cyprus and radioed a goodbye to Col. Kane and his friends in the other stragglers from the 98th Bomb Group's planes, and turned back toward the Turkish coast. He was killed descending when he crashed into the sea in the dark, trying to set up to ditch his plane in the ocean just off the coast. After surviving the chaos and destruction at Ploesti, escaping the south Ploesti flak area, and getting so close to safety, Lt. Gilbert "Gib" Hadley lost his fight to live. He was trapped in his crashed and sinking B-24, with his copilot and bombardier, both killed earlier by flak. Seven other crewmen escaped from, Hadley's Harem, and swam to shore. The rest of the planes still with Kane, made it to the British air base at Cyprus and landed safely. Kane and Young crash landed and destroyed, Hail Columbia, after hitting a ditch the British built running across the airbase's runway threshold. Somehow, minus Gilbert Hadley and three of his officers killed by flak and the crash into the sea, they had all survived the mission to Ploesti. Robert Sternfels gave Col. Kane a ride to Cairo, and several days later, back to Benghazi in, The Sandman, after the mission.
                                                                                                                                           After the Ploesti mission, John Young and his crew, flew back to Britain, and, later, from there, back to Fort Worth, Texas, in the B-24D, The Blue Streak, along with Capt. Walter Stewart and his crew flying the B-24D, Bomerang, with Lt. Royden LeBrecht and crew flying his plane, The Squaw, for a nationwide war bond tour, telling Americans about their desperate deadly mission over Ploesti. After returning to America, Lt. John Young was promoted to Captain. He reunited in Dallas with his high school sweetheart, who was divorced by then, and married her. He continued to serve as a flying officer in the Army Air Corps until he was honorably discharged from the Army in 1945 with the final rank of Major.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            During his two years in combat, Lt. John S.Young was awarded the following medals and citations :  -  The Distinguished Flying Cross with three Oak Leaf Clusters  -  The Air Medal with two Oak leaf Clusters  -  The Silver Star with one Oak Leaf Cluster  -   A Distinguished Unit Citation with one Oak Leaf Cluster to the entire 98th Bomb Group from President Roosevelt  - The American Theater Campaign Medal  -  the EAME Campaign Medal with one silver service star and one bronze service star, for combat in Sicily, Egypt-Libya, the Air Offensive-Europe, Algeria-French Morocco, Tunisia,   Naples-Foggia,  Rome-Arno,  and Air Combat-Ploesti, Roumania.   -   Major John S. Young was honorably discharged from Federal Service in the Army of the United States  30 Sept 1945.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 After returning to civilian life, Major John Young became an officer and a vice president of the First National Bank in Dallas,Texas, for many years, and later became the owner and president of the Herrin Motor Freight Trucking Company in Dallas.   John Young died in 1983.

Connections

See how this entry relates to other items in the archive by exploring the connections below.

Units served with

  • Unit Hierarchy: Squadron
  • Air Force: Ninth Air Force Twelfth Air Force Fifteenth Air Force
  • Type Category: Bombardment
  • Unit Hierarchy: Group
  • Air Force: Ninth Air Force Twelfth Air Force Fifteenth Air Force
  • Type Category: Bombardment

People

  • Military/Civilian/Mascot: Military
  • Nationality: American
  • Unit: 98th Bomb Group 344th Bomb Squadron
  • Highest Rank: First Lieutenant
  • Role/Job: Pilot
  • Military/Civilian/Mascot: Military
  • Nationality: American
  • Unit: 98th Bomb Group 344th Bomb Squadron
  • Highest Rank: Staff Sergeant
  • Role/Job: Waist Gunner
  • Military/Civilian/Mascot: Military
  • Nationality: American
  • Unit: 93rd Bomb Group 330th Bomb Squadron
  • Service Numbers: 36146758
  • Highest Rank: Staff Sergeant
  • Role/Job: Gunner
  • Military/Civilian/Mascot: Military
  • Nationality: American
  • Unit: 98th Bomb Group 344th Bomb Squadron
  • Service Numbers: O-661482
  • Highest Rank: First Lieutenant
  • Role/Job: B-24D Pilot
  • Military/Civilian/Mascot: Military
  • Nationality: American
  • Unit: 98th Bomb Group 344th Bomb Squadron
  • Service Numbers: 10675358 / O-?
  • Highest Rank: Captain
  • Role/Job: CoPilot

Aircraft

  • Aircraft Type: B-24 Liberator
  • Nicknames: - The Blue Streak - Florine JuJu - Liberandos - Teggie Ann
  • Unit: 376th Bomb Group 514th Bomb Squadron Halverson Detachment
  • Aircraft Type: B-24 Liberator
  • Nicknames: - Kickapoo
  • Unit: 98th Bomb Group 344th Bomb Squadron
  • Aircraft Type: B-24 Liberator
  • Nicknames: - Raunchy
  • Unit: 98th Bomb Group 344th Bomb Squadron
  • Aircraft Type: B-24 Liberator
  • Nicknames: - Hail Columbia - Little Chief Big Dog - Grumpy
  • Unit: 376th Bomb Group 98th Bomb Group 344th Bomb Squadron
  • Aircraft Type: B-24 Liberator
  • Nicknames: - Ubangi Bag
  • Unit: 98th Bomb Group 344th Bomb Squadron

Missions

  • 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...

Places

Revisions

Date23 Jan 2023 18:23:22
ContributorKickapoo
Sources

Army of the United States   -   Certificate of Service    -   This is to certify that Captain John S. Young, 0-725 567, Air Corps honorably served in active Federal Service in the Army of the United States -  from 21 May 1942  to  30 September 1945  -  Decorations and citations  :   Distinguished Unit Citation Badge with 1 Oak Leaf Cluster  -  Distinguished Flying Cross with 2 Oak Leaf Clusters  -  Air Medal with 3 Oak Leaf Clusters  -  Silver Star with 1 Oak Leaf Cluster -  American Theater Campaign Medal  -  European - African - Middle Eastern -  Campaign Medal with 1 silver service star and 1 bronze service star - WWII Victory Medal

Date23 Jan 2023 18:15:08
ContributorKickapoo
Sources

Army of the United States   -   Certificate of Service    -   This is to certify that Captain John S. Young, 0-725 567, Air Corps honorably served in active Federal Service in the Army of the United States -  from 21 May 1942  to  30 September 1945  -  Decorations and citations  :   Distinguished Unit Citation Badge with 1 Oak Leaf Cluster  -  Distinguished Flying Cross with 2 Oak Leaf Clusters  -  Air Medal with 3 Oak Leaf Clusters  -  American Theater Campaign Medal  -  European - African - Middle Eastern -  Campaign Medal with 1 silver service star and 1 bronze service star - WWII Victory Medal

Date23 Jan 2023 17:56:06
ContributorKickapoo
Sources

Army of the United States   -   Certificate of Service    -   This is to certify that Captain John S. Young, 0-725 567, Air Corps honorably served in active Federal Service in the Army of the United States -  from 21 May 1942  to  30 September 1945

Date22 Jan 2023 15:47:38
ContributorKickapoo
Sources

Army of the United States - Certificate of Service - Decorations

Date22 Jan 2023 04:42:24
ContributorKickapoo
Sources

Army of the United States Certificate of Service and Discharge  -  Capt. John S. Young O-725 567  -   from 21 May 1942  to  30 September 1945,  Air Corps  -  Subject :  Decorations  -  Capt. John S. Young.                                                                                   ----    Corrected several spelling and word errors.  -   Kickapoo

Date22 Jan 2023 04:04:50
ContributorKickapoo
Sources

Army of the United States Certificate of Service and Discharge  -  from 21 May 1942  to  30 September 1945   -  Subject :  Decorations  -  Capt. John S. Young

Date22 Jan 2023 03:59:42
ContributorKickapoo
Sources

Army of the United States Certificate of Service and Discharge  -  from 21 May 1942  to  30 September 1945   -  Subject :  Decorations  -  Capt. John S. Young

Date22 Jan 2023 03:35:53
ContributorKickapoo
Sources

Army of the United States Certificate of Service and Discharge  -  from 21 May 1942  to  30 September 1945   -  Subject :  Decorations  -  Capt. John S. Young

Date22 Jan 2023 03:33:40
ContributorKickapoo
Sources

Army of the United States Certificate of Service and Discharge  -  from 21 May 1942  to  30 September 1945   -  Subject :  Decorations  -  Capt. John S. Young

Date22 Jan 2023 03:27:57
ContributorKickapoo
Sources

Army of the United States Certificate of Service and Discharge  -   from 21 May 1942  to  30 September 1945   -  Subject :  Decorations  -  Capt. John S. Young

Date22 Jan 2023 03:24:54
ContributorKickapoo
Sources

Army of the United States Certificate of Service and Discharge  -  from 21 May 1942  to  30 September 1945   -  Subject :  Decorations  -  Capt. John S. Young

Date22 Jan 2023 03:14:53
ContributorKickapoo
Sources

Army of the United States Certificate of Service  -  Capt. John S. Young O725 567 Air Corps  -  Citations And Awards Of Medals      -       Military Record and Report of Separation  -  from 21 May 1942   to   30 September 1945

Date21 Jan 2023 04:39:37
ContributorKickapoo
Sources

The Ploesti Raid - Through The Lens - Roger A. Freeman     ----    The Great Ground-Air Battle of 1 August 1943   -   James Dugan & Carroll Stewart   ----  Personal Archives -  Kickapoo    ----    Black Sunday-Ploesti  -  Michael Hill

Date18 Jan 2023 08:42:14
ContributorKickapoo
Sources

Black Sunday-Ploesti   -  Michael Hill    ----    The Great Ground-Air Battle of 1 Aug 1943  -  James Dugan - Carroll Stewart    ----   Kickapoo  -  Personal Archives

Date11 Dec 2022 21:17:46
Sources

The Ploesti Raid Through The Lens - Roger Freeman                                                        ---  Into The Fire - Duane Schultz                                                                                        ---  Personal Archives - KickapooJoyJui

Date11 Dec 2022 21:12:59
Sources

The Ploesti Raid Through The Lens - Roger Freeman                                                        ---  Into The Fire - Duane Schultz                                                                                        ---  Personal Archives - KickapooJoyJuice

Date11 Dec 2022 21:06:03
Sources

The Ploesti Raid Through The Lens - Roger Freeman  ---  Into The Fire - Duane Schultz ---- Personal Archives - KickapooJoyJuice

Date11 Dec 2022 21:01:39
Sources

The Ploesti Raid Through The Lens - Roger A. Freeman                                                Into The Fire - Duane Schultz                                                                                    Personal Archives - KickapooJoy Juice

Date11 Dec 2022 20:56:23
Sources

The Ploesti Raid Through The Lens - Roger A. Freeman                                                Into The Fire - Duane Schultz                                                                                    Personal Archives - KickapooJoy Juice

Date11 Dec 2022 20:41:53
Sources

The Ploesti Raid - Through The Lens   -  by Roger Freeman                                               ----    Into The Fire - Duane Schultz                                                                                     ----     Personal Archives & Papers  -   KickapooJoyJuice

Date21 May 2022 04:45:01
ContributorKickapoo
Sources

Black Sunday-Ploesti - Michael Hill ------- Personal Archives - Kickapoo

Date21 May 2022 04:42:51
ContributorKickapoo
Sources

Black Sunday-Ploesti - Michael Hill ------- Personal Archives - Kickapoo

Date13 May 2022 22:45:24
ContributorKickapoo
Sources

Black Sunday-Ploesti - Michael Hill ---- Air Force Magazine - Nov 1944 - Over The Target - Capt. John S. Young

Date8 May 2022 20:14:06
ContributorKickapoo
Sources

Black Sunday-Ploesti - Michael Hill ---- Air Force Magazine - Nov 1944 - Over The Target - Capt. John S. Young

Date8 May 2022 20:01:55
ContributorKickapoo
Sources

Black Sunday-Ploesti - Michael Hill ---- Air Force Magazine - "Over The Target" - Capt. John S. Young

Date8 May 2022 19:56:52
ContributorKickapoo
Sources

Black Sunday-Ploesti - Michael Hill. - "Air Force Magazine" - Over The Target - Capt. John S. Young

Date5 May 2022 04:23:25
ContributorKickapoo
Sources

Black Sunday-Ploesti - Michael Hill ------- Personal Archives - Kickapoo

Date30 Apr 2022 09:13:18
ContributorKickapoo
Sources

Black Sunday-Ploesti - Michael Hill ----- Personal Archives - Kickapoo

Date30 Apr 2022 09:09:29
ContributorKickapoo
Sources

Black Sunday-Ploesti - Michael Hill ----- Personal Archives - Kickapoo

Date28 Mar 2022 22:47:49
ContributorKickapoo
Sources

Black Sunday-Ploesti - Michael Hill

Date28 Mar 2022 22:36:23
ContributorKickapoo
Sources

Black Sunday-Ploesti - Michael Hill

Date11 Mar 2022 23:44:47
ContributorKickapoo
Sources

Black Sunday-Ploesti - Michael Hill

Date10 Feb 2022 10:32:14
ContributorKickapoo
Sources

Details added. - Kickapoo

Date19 Jan 2022 13:57:37
ContributorKickapoo
Sources

Details added, wording, spelling, punctuation changes. - Kickapoo

Date31 Dec 2021 01:42:47
ContributorKickapoo
Sources

Spelling changes, wording, details added. - Kickapoo ---- Black Sunday-Ploesti - Michael Hill ---- Into The Fire - Duane Shultz

Date21 Oct 2021 09:20:45
ContributorKickapoo
Sources

The Great Ground-Air Battle Of 1 August 1943 - James Dugan & Carroll Stewart ----- "He brought Us Home" - Capt. John S. Young

Date19 Oct 2021 05:00:20
ContributorKickapoo
Sources

Added details, word spacing, punctuation. - Kickapoo

Date14 Oct 2021 02:04:32
ContributorKickapoo
Sources

Personal Archives - Kickapoo

Date13 Oct 2021 22:44:59
ContributorKickapoo
Sources

Detail fact changes for accuracy, punctuation, and spelling changes. - Personal Archives - Kickapoo

Date3 Sep 2021 20:02:36
ContributorKickapoo
Sources

Personal archives. - Kickapoo

Date1 Sep 2021 15:29:41
ContributorKickapoo
Sources

Mostly, personal memories and archives. - Kickapoo

Date6 Aug 2021 17:55:24
ContributorKickapoo
Sources

Wording and factual changes - Personal Archives - Kickapoo

Date6 Aug 2021 17:40:19
ContributorKickapoo
Sources

Black Sunday - Michael Hill ---- The Great Ground-Air Battle Of 1 August 1943 - James Dugan & Carroll Stewart ---- Personal Archives - Kickapoo

Date26 Jul 2021 07:22:43
ContributorKickapoo
Sources

Black Sunday - Michael Hill

Date21 Jul 2021 16:34:52
ContributorKickapoo
Sources

Spelling changes - Kickapoo

Date21 Jul 2021 16:15:32
ContributorKickapoo
Sources

Wording, punctuation, and spelling of aircraft names, and other details changed for accuracy and clarity - John S Young Jr

Date17 Jul 2021 15:03:38
ContributorKickapoo
Sources

Wording changes for clarity and accuracy - John S Young Jr

Date24 Jun 2021 09:38:24
ContributorKickapoo
Sources

Minor wording changes - John S Young Jr

Date17 Jun 2021 18:07:51
ContributorKickapoo
Sources

Punctuation and wording changes for accuracy and clarity - John S Young Jr

Date1 Jun 2021 08:32:23
ContributorKickapoo
Sources

Personal Archives - John S Young Jr

Date1 Jun 2021 08:15:35
ContributorKickapoo
Sources

Personal Archives - John S Young Jr

Date15 May 2021 23:48:11
ContributorKickapoo
Sources

Personal Archives - John S Young Jr --- Black Sunday - Michael Hill

Date15 May 2021 23:42:37
ContributorKickapoo
Sources

Personal Archives - John S Young Jr --- Black Sunday - Michael Hill

Date15 May 2021 23:26:12
ContributorKickapoo
Sources

Personal Archives - John S Young Jr --- Black Sunday - Michael Hill

Date11 May 2021 13:34:02
ContributorKickapoo
Sources

Personal Archives - John S Young Jr

Date11 May 2021 13:19:37
ContributorKickapoo
Sources

Personal Archives - John S Young Jr

Date7 May 2021 01:29:09
ContributorKickapoo
Sources

Best Web - B-24 - 'Bomerang'

Date4 May 2021 12:45:17
ContributorKickapoo
Sources

Black Sunday - Michael Hill ---- Personal Archives - John S Young Jr ---- The Great Ground-Air Battle Of August 1, 1943 - James Dugan & Carroll Stewart

Date15 Mar 2021 09:00:24
ContributorKickapoo
Sources

The Great Ground-Air Battle of August 1, 1943 - James Dugan & Carroll Stewart

Date23 Feb 2021 10:50:13
ContributorKickapoo
Sources

Black Sunday - Michael Hill ---- Personal Archives - John S Young Jr

Date23 Feb 2021 10:46:56
ContributorKickapoo
Sources

Black Sunday - Michael Hill ---- Personal Archives - John S Young Jr

Date23 Feb 2021 10:41:24
ContributorKickapoo
Sources

Black Sunday - Michael Hill ---- Personal Archives - John S Young Jr

Date23 Feb 2021 10:24:47
ContributorKickapoo
Sources

Black Sunday - Michael Hill ---- Personal Archives - John S Young Jr

Date18 Feb 2021 19:34:30
ContributorKickapoo
Sources

The Great Ground -Air Battle Of 1 August 1943 - James Dugan & Carroll Stewart ---- Personal Archives - John S Young Jr

Date4 Feb 2021 21:16:29
ContributorKickapoo
Sources

The Great Ground-Air Battle Of 1 August 1943 - James Dugan & Carroll Stewart ------ Black Sunday - Michael Hill ~ Personal Archives - John S Young Jr

Date2 Feb 2021 00:28:30
ContributorKickapoo
Sources

Into The Fire - Duane Schultz

Date26 Jan 2021 10:00:24
ContributorKickapoo
Sources

Personal Archives - John S Young Jr

Date23 Jan 2021 09:14:11
ContributorKickapoo
Sources

Personal Archives - John S Young Jr

Date23 Jan 2021 09:07:59
ContributorKickapoo
Sources

Personal Archives - John S Young Jr

Date23 Jan 2021 08:46:50
ContributorKickapoo
Sources

Personal Archives - John S Young Jr

Date23 Jan 2021 08:19:18
ContributorKickapoo
Sources

Personal Archives - John S Young Jr

Date10 Jan 2021 17:45:01
ContributorKickapoo
Sources

Personal Archives - John S Young Jr

Date1 Jan 2021 13:17:35
ContributorKickapoo
Sources

personal archives - John S. Young Jr ---- Lt. Lloyd H. Hughes - Wikipedia

Date31 Dec 2020 06:08:26
ContributorKickapoo
Sources

personal archives - John S Young Jr

Date28 Dec 2020 13:19:48
ContributorKickapoo
Sources

personal archives - John S Young Jr ---- The Great Ground-Air battle Of 1 August 1943 - James Dugan & Carroll Stewart

Date26 Dec 2020 11:23:41
ContributorKickapoo
Sources

personal archives - John S Young Jr ---- The Great Ground-Air battle Of 1 August 1943 - James Dugan & Carroll Stewart

Date26 Dec 2020 11:11:57
ContributorKickapoo
Sources

personal archives - John S Young Jr ---- The Great Ground-Air battle Of 1 August 1943 - James Dugan & Carroll Stewart

Date26 Dec 2020 11:06:30
ContributorKickapoo
Sources

personal archives - John S Young Jr ---- The Great Ground-Air battle Of 1 August 1943 - James Dugan & Carroll Stewart

Date26 Dec 2020 10:54:40
ContributorKickapoo
Sources

personal archives - John S Young Jr ---- The Great Ground-Air battle Of 1 August 1943 - James Dugan & Carroll Stewart

Date23 Dec 2020 10:44:04
ContributorKickapoo
Sources

personal archives - John S Young Jr

Date23 Dec 2020 10:21:32
ContributorKickapoo
Sources

personal archives - John S Young Jr

Date23 Dec 2020 10:18:59
ContributorKickapoo
Sources

personal archives - John S Young Jr

Date23 Dec 2020 09:51:02
ContributorKickapoo
Sources

personal archives - John S Young Jr

Date23 Dec 2020 00:03:23
ContributorKickapoo
Sources

personal archives - John S Young Jr

Date22 Dec 2020 23:15:33
ContributorKickapoo
Sources

Ploesti The Great Ground-Air Battle Of August 1 1943 - James Dugan & Carroll Stewart ---- Into The Fire - Duane Schultz Persoanl archives - John S Young Jr

John Simmons Young: Gallery (25 items)