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John B McCormick

Military

Shot down 18 November 1943 in B-24 #42-40787 'Vagabond King'. Plane crashed into North Sea. Killed in Action (KIA).

Pilot 1/Lt John B. McCormick, MIA/KIA
Hometown: Dewitt NY
Squadron: 565th BS 389th Bomb Group
Service # O-661952
Awards: Silver Star, Distinguished Service Cross, Air Medal with Oak Leaf Cluster, Purple Heart

Target: Oslo, Norway
Missing Air Crew Report Details
USAAF MACR#:
Date Lost: 9-May-44
Serial Number:42-40787
Aircraft Model B-24H-15-CF
Aircraft Letter: V
Aircraft Name: Vagabond King
Location: North Sea
Cause: FW-190's over the North Sea -- 10 KIA
Notes: Apparently hit by friendly or enemy fire and was forced to ditch. His body was not recovered.

Captain John McCormick was a Ploesti Raider having flown the "Vagabond King" in "Operation Tidal Wave" where he was awarded the Silver Star.

McCormick appears in the Ploesti raid roster and on the Missing air crew report as 1st Lieutenant. However he is listed as Captain on the Cambridge wall of the missing. Captain McCormick may have been promoted posthumously.

Service

People

  • William Budai

    Military | Staff Sergeant | Ball Turret Gunner | 389th Bomb Group
    Born in Toledo, Ohio in 1921, he enlisted in the Army in Aug. 1942. Despite surviving the harrowing Ploesti raid in August 1943, he was shot down on 18 November 1943 while a gunner on the B-24 "Vagabond King" (42-40787). He was killed when his plane...

  • Enrico Chelini

    Military | Second Lieutenant | Observer | 389th Bomb Group
    Shot down 18 November 1943 in B-24 #4240787 'Vagabond King. ' Plane crashed into North Sea. Killed in Action (KIA).

  • Marvin Mendlesohn

    Military | Lieutenant | Navigator | 389th Bomb Group
    Took part in Operation Tidal Wave, the raid on Ploesti on 1 August 1943, flying B-24 Liberator 42-40787. Shot down 18 November 1943 in B-24 42-40787 'Vagabond King. ' Plane crashed into North Sea. Killed in Action.

  • Marvin Mosco

    Military | Lieutenant | Bombardier | 389th Bomb Group
    Took part in Operation Tidal Wave, the raid on Ploesti on 1 August 1943, flying B-24 Liberator 42-40787. Shot down 18 November 1943 in B-24 42-40787 'Vagabond King. ' Plane crashed into North Sea. Killed in Action (KIA).

  • Gerald Murphy

    Military | Staff Sergeant | Right Waist Gunner, Waist Gunner | 389th Bomb Group
    Took part in Operation Tidal Wave, the raid on Ploesti on 1 August 1943, flying B-24 Liberator 42-40787. Shot down 18 November 1943 in B-24 #4240787 'Vagabond King. ' Plane crashed into North Sea. Killed in Action (KIA).

  • Lewis Raines

    Military | Staff Sergeant | Left Waist Gunner, Waist Gunner | 389th Bomb Group
    Shot down 18 November 1943 in B-24 #4240787 'Vagabond King. ' Plane crashed into North Sea. Killed in Action (KIA).

  • Alfred Rossi

    Military | Staff Sergeant | Radio Operator Gunner | 389th Bomb Group
    Took part in Operation Tidal Wave, the raid on Ploesti on 1 August 1943, flying B-24 Liberator 42-40787. Shot down 18 November 1943 in B-24 42-40787 'Vagabond King'. Plane crashed into North Sea. Killed in Action (KIA).

  • Kenneth Scott

    Military | Staff Sergeant | Tail Gunner | 389th Bomb Group
    Shot down 18 November 1943 in B-24 #4240787 'Vagabond King. ' Plane crashed into North Sea. Killed in Action (KIA).

  • Charles Tourison

    Military | Second Lieutenant | Co-Pilot | 389th Bomb Group
    Shot down 18 November 1943 in B-24 #4240787 'Vagabond King. ' Plane crashed into North Sea. Killed in Action (KIA).

Show more

Units served with

  • 389th Bomb Group

    389th Bomb Group

    Group
    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...

  • 565th Bomb Squadron

Aircraft

  • 42-40787 "Vagabond King"

    B-24 Liberator
    B-24D Liberator #42-40787 "Vagabond King" was in the 565th Bombing Squadron, the 389th Bombing Group, the 8th Air Force. It flew on 1st Aug, 1943 on Operation Tidal Wave, to destroy the oil refineries at Ploesti, Romania, piloted by John B McCormick....

Missions

  • Operation Tidal Wave

    1 August 1943
    Operation TIDAL WAVE. B24D 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 B...

  • VIII Bomber Command 132

    18 November 1943
    The German airfield of Oslo/Kjeller, Norway is the target for a force of 102 B-24s from 2nd Bomb Division that included: 44BG (34); 93BG (20); 389BG (26); and 392BG (22). 82 aircraft are effective on the target. 9 aircraft Failed to Return (FTR) 61KIA...

Associated Place

  • Hethel

    Military site : airfield
    Construction of Hethel airfield began in 1941, and was finished in late 1942. The number of hardstandings was increased from the planned 36 to 50 in 1942, in order to accommodate a full heavy bomb group. The 320th Bomb Group occupied the base for ten...

  • Berca

    Military site : airfield

Events

Event Location Date
Born Syracuse, New York
War Experiences Related in Journals Ploesti, Romania 1 August 1943

Concerning the Ploesti Mission:

"The last bombs of Tidal Wave were deposited on the powerhouse and boiler of Steaua Romana by Vagabond King, piloted by John McCormick. Toledoan William J. Budai was a waist gunner on this ship. The ship took a beating from anti-aircraft fire over the target, but they barreled through the smoke and flames. Vagabond King bombed amidst exploding kettles and the crumble and crash of a high smokestack. McCormick thought 'from an esthetic point of view, the best thing was incendiaries flickering up and down in the smoke like fireflies.' Looking back, his tail gunner saw the 45 second delay bombs exploding and commented 'they didn't give us much time for a getaway.' After dropping their bombs and assessing the damage, McCormick remarked that he didn't know whether the crew would make it back. 'Our plane was in bad shape. We got into formation at the treetops with another wounded ship and three good ones that stayed outside to protect us, and got a heading into Cyprus'."

Dan Masters, "Dragged Through the Mouth of Hell: Toledo's Contribution to Operation Tidal Wave, August 1, 1943," Northwest Ohio History Journal, Vol. 84, No. 1 (October 6, 2016).

Killed in action 18 November 1943

Revisions

Date Contributor Update
15 January 2021 22:15:19 jmoore43 Changes to biography
Sources

Added some punctuation to the "Summary biography" to aid clarity.

Date Contributor Update
05 September 2020 20:40:52 decwriter Changes to service number, biography and awards
Sources

NARA files verified Silver Star for 1 August 1943 Ploesti low level mission and Air Medal with 1 oak leaf cluster. The lowest decoration received by any flier for the Ploesti raid was a DFC, but a member could not receive dual recognition for the same act. There is no DSC or DFC file for Capt McCormick on file with NARA, yet he shows as a recipient of the DSC on the WWII valor.defense.gov website. Without personnel files to confirm the decorations and general orders, his story will remain a mystery.

Date Contributor Update
25 October 2019 11:31:22 general ira snapsorter Changes to biography, events and media associations
Sources

Ploesti Sortie Reports, 389th Bomb Group

Date Contributor Update
28 June 2019 22:12:06 Dieterle Changes to place associations
Sources

The 389th flew out of Hethel after returning from Benghasi. Richard Dieterle

Date Contributor Update
03 May 2019 04:35:06 Kickapoo Changes to biography and awards
Sources

Find A Grave

Date Contributor Update
17 March 2019 21:02:49 Dieterle Changes to person associations
Sources

Following the list of crew members lost on the Vagabond King 18 Nov. 1943 at the 42-40787 Aircraft page.

Date Contributor Update
17 March 2019 20:49:26 Dieterle Changes to events
Sources

Richard Dieterle, adding more material from Dan Masters, "Dragged Through the Mouth of Hell: Toledo's Contribution to Operation Tidal Wave, August 1, 1943," Northwest Ohio History Journal, Vol. 84, No. 1 (October 6, 2016).

Date Contributor Update
17 March 2019 20:43:12 Dieterle Changes to place associations, aircraft associations and mission associations
Sources

Following results set out at the W Budai Person page, and the 42-40787 Aircraft page.

Date Contributor Update
27 September 2014 18:15:43 AAM AAM ingest
Sources

Drawn from the records of the National Museum of the Mighty Eighth Air Force, Savannah, Georgia / MACR 2885

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