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William O Wood


SSgt. Willam O. Wood was Killed In Action (KIA) during Operation Tidal wave onboard the B-24D Liberator, Hell's Wench, 42-40994. 1 Aug 43.

Sgt. Wood was dispatched to North Africa in 1943 with the 93rd Bomb Group to take part in Operation Tidal Wave as part of the crew of the B-24D Liberator, Hell's Wench, 42-40994, on 1 August 1943. On reaching the target area, the 93rd Bomb Group led by Col Addison Baker and Major John Jerstad, were following their element leader, Col. K.K. Compton in the Lead B-24D, Teggie Ann, who was ordered by the mission leader, General Uzal Ent, to deliberately turn southeast away from, instead of toward Ploesti, at the wrong IP, and to head for Bucharest. The pilots in the 93rd and 376th Bomb Groups, following Compton, stunned and in disbelief by what they just saw Compton do, immediately broke radio silence and repeatedly attempted to warn Compton about his disastrously wrong turn away from Ploesti, as did Compton's own navigator, Harold Wicklund, on Teggie Ann's intercom ! But when they saw they had failed to get Compton to respond, a number of pilots, including Col Baker and Maj. Jerstad, Lt. Walter Stewart in Utah Man, broke formation, on their own, and led the remainder of the force, who were following them, out of synch, now, and unable to follow their individual attack plans, back toward Ploesti, which would, by itself, prove disastrous, by flying over the heaviest of the flak concentrations south of Ploesti.

Now heading north and west toward targets of opportunity, Hell's Wench, took several direct flak hits, setting the entire plane on fire. Baker jettisoned his bombs as both wings were hit, and the aircraft became engulfed in flames. At almost the same time, the aircraft had to break formation and pull up to avoid mid-air collisions with bombers from the 98th Bomb group, arriving, correctly, in their assigned target area at White IV, from the opposite direction.

Despite Baker's and Jerstad's efforts to gain altitude, Hell's Wench, lost speed in the climb, stalled, rolled over, crashed, and exploded in flames, killing everyone aboard, including SSgt. William Wood. KIA. 1 Aug 1943.



  • George Allen

    Military | Staff Sergeant | B-24 Gunner | 93rd Bomb Group
    SSgt. George Allen was killed in action on 1 August, 1943, during Operation Tidal Wave onboard the B-24D Liberator, Hell's Wench, 42-40994. ...

  • Addison Baker

    Military | Lieutenant Colonel | Commanding Officer 93rd Bomb Group - B-24 Command Pilot | 93rd Bomb Group
    Lieutenant Colonel Addison Baker was the Commanding Officer of the 93rd Bomb Group from May 17, 1943. He was killed in action (KIA) over Ploesti during Operation Tidal Wave on 1 August, 1943. ...

  • Charles Bennett

    Military | Technical Sergeant | B-24 Top Turret Gunner | 93rd Bomb Group
    TSgt. Charles Bennet was killed in action on Operation Tidal Wave onboard his assigned B-24D Liberator bomber, Hell's Wench, 42-40994. ...

  • John Carroll

    Military | Technical Sergeant | Radio Operator | 93rd Bomb Group
    TSgt. John Carrol was killed in action (KIA) on Operation Tidal Wave onboard the B-24D Liberator, Hell's Wench, 42-40994. ...

  • Edgar Faith

    Military | Staff Sergeant | B-24 Waist Gunner | 93rd Bomb Group
    Killed in action on 1 August 1943 during Operation Tidal wave onboard B-24 Liberator, Hell's Wench, 42-40994. ...

  • John Jerstad

    Military | Major | B-24 Command Pilot | 376th Bomb Group
    Major John Jerstad was Killed In Action (KIA) on Operation Tidal Wave onboard the B-24D Liberator, Hell's Wench. ...

  • George Reuter

    Military | First Lieutenant | Navigator | 93rd Bomb Group
    KIA over Ploesti, Romania Aug 1 1943: I grew up knowing him as "Uncle Bud". He was known as "Bud" to his family. He had two sisters, and twin brothers. He was the second oldest child of my great grandparents. ...

  • Morton Stafford

    Military | Staff Sergeant | Gunner | 93rd Bomb Group
    Killed in action on 1 August 1943 during Operation Tidal wave onboard B-24 Liberator, Hell's Wench, 42-40994. ...

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Units served with

  • 93rd Bomb Group

    93rd Bomb Group

    The 93rd Bombardment Group (Heavy) was activated 1 Mar 42 at Barksdale Field, Louisiana. On 15 May 42. the Group moved to Ft. Myers, Florida, to continue advanced flight training and also to fly antisubmarine patrols over the Gulf of Mexico. They...

  • 328th Bomb Squadron


  • 42-40994 Hell's Wench

    B-24 Liberator
    The B-24D, 42-40994, Hell's Wench, was shot down and crashed, over Ploesti, Romania, on Operation Tidal Wave. All crewmen were Killed In Action - 10 KIA. Aug 1, 1943 ...


  • 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...


Event Location Date
Born Georgia
Died 1 August 1943


Date Contributor Update
08 October 2021 10:16:21 Kickapoo Changes to nickname, role and biography

Into The Fire - Duane Schultz

Date Contributor Update
27 August 2019 16:06:33 Emily Changes to biography, awards, events, place associations and mission associations

Ploesti Sortie Reports, 93rd Bomb Group


Date Contributor Update
27 September 2014 18:28:34 AAM AAM ingest

ABMC MACR 331 / Drawn from the records of the National Museum of the Mighty Eighth Air Force, Savannah, Georgia