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Philip Pendleton Ardery


Silver Star/ 2 DFCs/ 4 Air Medals/ Croix de Guerre.
Was command pilot on 1 Aug '43 raid on Ploesti in B-24 42-40773.

He was given a reserve commission of 1st Lt in the Infantry in July of 1940. He entered active duty in in September of 1940 and he applied to flight training with the Air Corp in April of 1941. He was assigned to fly B-24 aircraft in late 1941 early in his service he flew antisubmaine patrols between California and Hawaii and served as an instructor pilot in Texas.

By August of 1942 he was a Captain and Squadron Commander of the 564th Bomb Squadron. By November of 1943 he was promoted to Major. By the end of the war he was a Lt Col. He completed 30 missions including 4 on D Day and returned to the US.

In 1946 he helped form the Kentucky Air National Guard and was its first commander at the rank of Colonel. During his time with the Air Guard he flew a number of aircraft including the F-51 fighter and the F-86. His unit the (123rd Fighter Group) was deployed to England during the Korean War. He was promoted to the rank of Brigadier General USAFR in 1955 and served as AF Liason to the Air Guard. He was promoted to Major General USAFR in April 1962 at the same time Barry Goldwater received his Major General rank.

He officially retired from the Air Force in 1974. His last assignment was in the office of Air Force Information at the Pentagon. He is also the author of several books including "Bomber Pilot".



  • Milton Arnold

    Military | Brigadier General | Wing Commander | 389th Bomb Group
    Overseas 1942 to establish ATC Atlantic Ferry Route as staff meteorologist; assisted in planning secret route for Allied Chiefs' Casablanca Conference, January 1943. Commander of the 389th Bomb Group. SS/ DFC/ AM w/ 2 Oak Leaf Cluster

  • John Brooks

    Military | Brigadier General | Pilot | 355th Fighter Group
    Led 17 B-24s on the low level attack at Ploesti whilst with the 389th Bomb Group. ...

  • Paul Burton

    Military | Lieutenant Colonel | Command Pilot, Pilot, Mission | 389th Bomb Group
    Shot down 22 April 1944 in B-24 #4263963. Prisoner of War (POW). POW

  • Kenneth Caldwell

    Military | Major | B-24D Co-Pilot - Command Pilot | 389th Bomb Group
    Lt. Kenneth M. Caldwell from the 8th Air Force, the 389th Bombardment Group, and the 565th Bomb Squadron took part in Operation Tidal Wave, the raid on Ploesti with Col. Jack W. Wood, observing, on 1-Aug-43, flying the B-24D, 42-40629, named, THE...

  • Adelbert Cross

    Military | Lieutenant Colonel | Command Pilot | 389th Bomb Group
    Took part in Operation Tidal Wave, the raid on Ploesti on 1 August 1943, flying B-24 Liberator 42-40733.

  • Jack Dieterle

    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...

  • Frank Elliott

    Military | Lieutenant Colonel | Squadron Commander - Command Pilot - Pilot | 466th Bomb Group
    Brigadier General Frank B. Elliott was born in Washington, D.C., in 1917. He graduated from Lehigh University in Bethlehem, Pa., with a degree in chemical engineering in 1940. ...

  • Frank Ellis

    Military | Colonel | Pilot | 389th Bomb Group
    21 Sept 43 en route from Hethel to Tunisia, landed with low fuel and only 2 engines working in B24 42-40701. All crew returned. ...

  • Edward Fowble

    Military | First Lieutenant | Pilot | 389th Bomb Group
    Foble was piloting B-24 42-40687 on a training flight on 25 June 1943 when he was involved in a mid-air-collision with B-24 42-40774 "Heaven Can Wait" piloted by 1st Lt Harold James. Fowble managed to land the aircraft at Hethel. ...

  • James Hodges

    Military | Major General | Commanding General
    Major General James P Hodges served as Commanding General of the 2nd Air Division from 13 September 1942 to 1 August 1944. He retired 30 September 1951. His son, James P Hodges II, served as a fighter pilot with the 56th Fighter Group.

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Units served with

  • 389th Bomb Group

    389th Bomb 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...

  • 564th Bomb Squadron


  • 42-63963 Round Trip Ticket

    B-24 Liberator
    Top Turret Gunner T/Sgt Lewis E. Bagwell, POW Joppa, AL ...

  • 42-40773

    B-24 Liberator
    B-24 Liberator 42-40773 '773' 564th BS, 389th BG, 8th AF, flew on 1st Aug 43 Ploesti oil refinery raid piloted by Capt Edward L Fowble, returning safely to Libya. ...

  • 42-40753

    B-24 Liberator
    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

    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...

  • 8th Air Force 252

    8 March 1944
    The VKF ballbearing factory at Berlin/Erkner is the primary target for 623 heavy bombers despatched by all three Air Divisions. Fighter opposition and anti-aircraft fire are intense. There are so many formation attacking that some divert to other...

Associated Place

  • Berca

    Military site : airfield


Event Location Date
Born Lexington, Kentucky 6 March 1914
Biography 6 March 1914 – 26 July 2012

From the "Richmond Register": "Maj. Gen. Philip Pendleton Ardery was a man of many talents, a combat hero of World War II, a lawyer, citizen-soldier, author and humanitarian.

He was the first wing commander of the Kentucky Air National Guard when it was formed in 1947. Ardery’s devotion to service, integrity and persistence established the foundation for the contemporary Kentucky Air National Guard

He was born March 6, 1914, in Lexington and grew up on a Bourbon County farm.

After earning a degree in English literature from the University of Kentucky in 1935, Ardery obtained a law degree from Harvard.

He returned to Kentucky and began practicing law in Frankfort, but the venture was short-lived. In 1940, when Europe was engulfed in war, he enlisted in the U.S. Army Air Corps as a private. Ardery graduated as 1st Captain of the Flying Cadet Corps at Kelley Field in San Antonio, Texas, in April 1941 and was assigned as a flight instructor at Goodfellow Field in San Angelo, Texas.

He later commanded the 564th Bomb Squadron (H) beginning in February 1943, joining the 389th Bomb Group (H) based in Norwich, England, that June.

From airfields in North Africa, he flew B-24s on many missions across the Mediterranean, including the first low-level raid on oil refineries at Ploesti, Romania. The Ploesti oilfields were among the most heavily defended targets in Europe. Of a total force of 178 B-24s in the raid, only 88 managed to return to Benghazi, Libya. Personnel losses included 310 airmen killed, 108 captured and 78 interned in Turkey. For his actions, Ardery was awarded the Silver Star.

From England and North Africa, Ardery flew raids during the winter of 1943-44, leading up to the invasion of Normandy. He also led the 2nd Combat Bomb Wing on the first daylight bombing of Berlin in March 1944 and flew on the first mission of D-Day, June 6, 1944. His memoir of the war, “Bomber Pilot,” was published in 1978.

Discharged from active duty in 1945, Ardery was given command of the 123rd Fighter Wing of the newly formed Kentucky Air National Guard. He and his unit were called to active duty during the Korean War. The 123rd was relocated to England, where he served as wing-base commander of the NATO Air Force, Royal Air Force Station Manston, 1951-52.

After being decommissioned, Ardery continued to command the 123rd, which sometimes included air groups in other states, as well as Kentucky’s, and was based at Louisville’s Standiford Field. He was promoted to brigadier general in April 1962 and retired from the military as a major general in 1965.

After Ardery left the military, he co-founded the law firm of Brown, Ardery, Todd & Dudley in June 1959. It merged with Brown, Eldred & Bonnie, and Marshall, Cochran, Heyburn & Wells in 1972 to form Brown, Todd & Heyburn, then Kentucky’s largest law firm.

Ardery retired from legal practice in 1979 but remained active in his community. In the early 1980s, he became an advocate for mental health. With Barry Bingham Sr., publisher of the Courier-Journal, Bosworth Todd and Dr. Herb Wagemaker, Ardery founded the Schizophrenia Foundation of Kentucky in 1981.

This foundation gave rise to Wellspring, which now provides housing, care and rehabilitation for people with mental illness at 19 sites throughout Jefferson and neighboring counties.

Philip Ardery died July 26, 2012, at his Louisville home. He was 98 years old.

Enlisted Cave Hill Cemetery 7 September 1940

Enlisted as Aviation Cadet Fort Knox, Kentucky.

Died Louisville, Kentucky 26 July 2012


Date Contributor Update
23 September 2020 00:31:27 decwriter Changes to middlename, service number, awards and events

NARA files verified SS, DFC w/1 oak leaf clusters, AM w/3 oak leaf clusters. His official photo shows his awards during World War II and after.

Date Contributor Update
22 September 2020 22:03:13 jmoore43 Changes to biography

Corrected a typo in the "Summary biography" - “commission ” was misspelled.

Date Contributor Update
18 October 2019 11:02:22 general ira snapsorter Changes to biography and aircraft associations

Ploesti Sortie Reports, 389th Bomb Group

Date Contributor Update
10 July 2019 17:30:22 Kickapoo Changes to awards

Richmond Register - Philip Ardery Of Kentucky Was A War Hero

Date Contributor Update
10 July 2019 17:26:16 Kickapoo Changes to awards

Richmond Registry - Philip Ardery of Kentucky

Date Contributor Update
24 January 2019 01:02:17 Dieterle Changes to person associations

Philip Ardery, Bomber Pilot: A Memoir of World War II (Lexington: The University Press of Kentucky: 1978) passim.

Date Contributor Update
23 January 2019 23:27:26 Dieterle Changes to person associations

Philip Ardery, Bomber Pilot: A Memoir of World War II (Lexington: The University Press of Kentucky: 1978) passim.

Date Contributor Update
23 January 2019 23:02:47 Dieterle Changes to person associations

Identity of Ted Timberlake with Edward J. Timberlake.

Date Contributor Update
23 January 2019 20:36:57 Dieterle Changes to person associations and mission associations

Philip Ardery, Bomber Pilot: A Memoir of World War II (Lexington: The University Press of Kentucky: 1978) Chapter 4.

Date Contributor Update
23 January 2019 16:01:06 Dieterle Changes to events

Paul Foote, "Philip Ardery of Kentucky was an Aviation Hero of WWII," Richmond Register, Oct 28, 2013.

Date Contributor Update
08 July 2017 17:59:17 JoCarter Changes to highest rank, biography and awards

Photo group research

Date Contributor Update
27 September 2014 18:21:30 AAM AAM ingest

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