B-24D - Lt. Russell W. Polivka, photo left, navigator, and SSgt. Eugene R. Garner, gunner, on the right. Both escaped the fatal crash of the B-24D, KICKAPOO, badly burned but recovered. This was the first crash and casualties of the Ploesti mission. The B-24D, KICKAPOO was Lt. John S. Young's regular airplane until the mission to Ploesti when he and his crew were reassigned to fly with Col. John Kane and his lead B-24D, HAIL COLUMBIA. KICKAPOO crashed in flames on takeoff for the Ploesti mission at Lete Air Base, Benghazi, Libya, killing the entire replacement crew, except Lt. Russell W. Polivka, navigator, and SSgt. Eugene R. Garner, one of the gunners, both badly burned by the flames of the burning aircraft. Aug 1 1943
Military | Staff Sergeant | Gunner
Crew member SSgt. Eugene Robert Garner flew on Operation Tidal wave and was one of two survivors of the crash of the B-24D, KICKAPOO, on takeoff for the Ploesti mission. He was assigned as part of a replacement crew for the B-24D, KICKAPOO, from the...
Military | Second Lieutenant | Navigator
Lt. Russell W. Polivka was a navigator, and part of the replacement crew assigned to the B-24D Liberator, 41-11768, KICKAPOO, of 344th Bomb Squadron, the 98th Bomb Group, and the 9th Air Force, for Operation Tidal Wave over Ploesti, Romania. Flown by...