Lt. Sam Neeley's B-24D, "Raunchy", and it's crew. Pilot Lt. Sam Neeley is in the front row, second from right, smiling. Lt. Neeley and most of his crew were killed (KIA), over Ploesti, after "Raunchy" snagged a barrage balloon cable on their right wing, pulling an explosive charge on the cable down, which detonated on contact with the wing and blew the wing off, crashing the airplane into the ground. Lt. Neeley and seven of his crewmen were killed in the crash. 8 (KIA). Two crewmen, SSgt Schiffmacher and SSgt Allen, survived the crash and were captured wounded. 2 (WIA) (POW). August 1, 1943 1
B-24D - Raunchy - Mechanics /Gunners crewmen. 1943
Pilot Lt. Samual Neeley was a B-24 Bomber pilot in the Mediterranean Theater of Operations in WWII. He served in the 9th Air force, the 98th Bomb Group, and the 344th bomb Squadron in North Africa, flying bombing and strafing missions, mostly against the German army in the North African desert, and also against Axis shipping all over the Mediterranean area.
Sam Neeley was killed, (KIA), flying his B-24D, Liberator bomber, he named, RAUNCHY, on Operation Tidal Wave, the bombing mission to destroy the German held oil refineries at Ploesti, Romania,
Neeley and his crew flew in Flight One, the first line abreast wave of the 98th Bomb Group's bombers, just a few planes to the left of his friend, Lt. John Young, flying copilot on the mission in John Kane's lead aircraft, HAIL COLUMBIA, attacking their target, White IV, flying in at tree top level on the far left side of Flight One, the first wave of the 98th Bomb Group's planes. Immediately after his bomb release, as Neeley's B-24 was being hit by flak, one of his wings snagged one of the many barrage balloon cables, which didn't break the cable, but pulled an explosive charge down to the airplane that detonated and blew the wing off, sending the bomber crashing down to the ground, killing Lt. Neeley and most of his crew, instantly. The radio operator and a gunner survived the crash and became POWs in Romania. Some of the crew members' remains were never recovered or identified. 8 (KIA) - 2 (POW). Aug 1, 1943. MACR-169
For his part in the Ploesti mission and for his sacrifice, Lt. Neeley was posthumously awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross and Purple Heart medals.
1st Lt. Samuel Robert “Sam” Neeley
BIRTH : 1921
Scottsbluff, Scotts Bluff County, Nebraska, USA
DEATH : 1 Aug 1943 - Age: 21–22
Ploesti, Prahova, Romania
Ardennes American Cemetery and Memorial
Neuville-en-Condroz, Arrondissement de Liège, Liège, Belgium
PLOT Plot A Row 39 Grave 43
MEMORIAL ID 56360023
Pilot 1st Lt. Samuel R. Neeley DFC (KIA)
Hometown: Scottsbluff, Nebraska
Squadron: 344th BS - 98th Bomb Group - 9th Air Force
Service # O-728710
Awards: Distinguished Flying Cross, Air Medal with 2 Oak Leaf Clusters, Purple Heart
Target: Ploesti - White IV - The Astra Romano refinery complex
Missing Air Crew Report Details
Date Lost: 1-Aug-43
Serial Number: 41-11819
Aircraft Model B-24D
Aircraft Letter: G
Aircraft Name: RAUNCHY
Location: Lost near the target, the Astra Romano Refinery complex, Ploesti, Romania
Cause: Barrage balloon cable charge - 8 (KIA), 2 (POW)
RAUNCHY- B-24 - D - CO - 41-11819 - 9 - 98 - 344 ~ G 01-1 N/A. Lost on OPERATION TIDAL WAVE, 1 Aug 43, Ploesti Romania - MACR 169 -
Crew of RAUNCHY :
1st/Lt. Samuel R. Neeley - Pilot
1st/Lt. Joel I. Corn - Navigator
2nd/Lt.Herman H. Henslee - Co Pilot
2nd/Lt. Eugeen L. Rodgen - Bombardier
Sgt. Robert P. Schultz
Sgt.Charles P. Geers - Gunner
Sgt. Earl T. Edelen - Gunner
Sgt. Alfred D. Cason - Gunner
Military | Staff Sergeant | Waist Gunner | 98th Bomb Group
SSgt. Neville C. Bensen took part in Operation Tidal Wave, the raid on Ploesti on 1 August 1943. He was a waist gunner in the Element Lead B-24D Liberator, 41-11825, Hail Columbia, piloted by Col. John R. "Killer" Kane and Lt. John S. Young. He...
Military | Staff Sergeant (3rd Grade) | Gunner | 98th Bomb Group
Gunner Sgt. Alfred D. Cason DFC MIA/KIA
Military | First Lieutenant | Radio Operator | 98th Bomb Group
Lt. Raymond B. Hubbard was assigned to the 9th Air force, the 98th Bombardment Group, and the 344th Bombing Squadron in Libya, North Africa, 1943. He flew in Operation Tidal Wave, the raid on Ploesti on 1 August 1943, flying as a Waist Gunner and Radio...
Military | Colonel | Commanding Officer, Command Pilot | 98th Bomb Group
John Riley Kane (January 5, 1907 – May 29, 1996) was a colonel in the United States Army Air Corps and later the United States Air Force. He received the U.S. military's highest decoration, the Congressional Medal of Honor in World War II, for his...
Military | Colonel | Bombardier Navigator | 98th Bomb Group
Lt. Harold Korger was a bombardier in the 344th Bombardment Squadron, 98th Bomb Group, 9th Air Force. He flew on the famous mission, Operation Tidal Wave, Aug 1, 1943, to knock out the oil refineries at Ploesti, Romania. ...
Military | Captain | B-24 Command Pilot | 98th Bomb Group
Lt. Royden Louis LeBrecht was a B-24D command pilot in the 9th Air force, the 98th Bomb Group, and the 344th Bomb Squadron. He flew his B-24D, he named, The Squaw, on Operation Tidal Wave, the large mission to destroy the German held oil refineries at...
Military | First Lieutenant | B-24 Command Pilot | 98th Bomb Group
1st Lt. Robert James Nespor, Jr. was a B-24D command bomber pilot in the 9th Air Force, the 98th Bombardment Group, "The Pyramiders", and the 330th Bombing Squadron. For the huge mission to bomb the oil refineries at Ploesti, Romania, on Operation...
Military | Major | Navigator / Nose Gunner | 98th Bomb Group
Norman Whalen joined the Army Air Corps in 1941. After graduating from Navigator School in Monroe, Louisiana, he received his commission as a Second Lieutenant and was assigned to the 9th Air force, the 98th Bomb Group, and the 344th Bombing Squadron...
Military | Major | B-24 Command Pilot | 98th Bomb Group
Lieutenant John S. Young was born and raised in Dallas, Texas. Bored with college at SMU in Dallas, and knowing the country was headed for war, he joined the Army Air Force early in 1941 and began training as an aviation cadet. He was known as "Johnny"...
Units served with
The 98th trained for bombardment missions with B-24 Liberators during the first half of 1942.
The 344th Bombing Squadron was first activated at MacDill Field, Florida as one of the original three squadrons assigned to the 98th Bombardment Group. The 344th soon moved to Barksdale Field, Louisiana, where it began to train as a Consolidated B-24...
The B-24D, named, The Sandman, was flown by Lt. Robert Sternfels and his copilot, Lt. Barney Jackson, in the 9th Air Force, the 98th Bomb Group, and the 345th Bomb Squadron, on Operation Tidal Wave, the famous mission to destroy the German held oil...
The B-24D Liberator, Raunchy, 41-11819, was in the 344th Bomb Squadron, the 98th Bomb Group, and the 9th Air Force, based in Benghazi, Libya, North Africa, during early 1943.
The B-24D, Hail Columbia, 41-11825, was assigned to the 9th Air Force, the 98th Bomb Group, and the 344th Bombing Squadron. It was first assigned to the 344th Squadron's CO, Col. John R. Kane's, personal aircraft until Kane became the 98th Bomb Group's...
The B-24D Liberator, 41-11768, named, Kickapoo, was piloted by Lt. John S. Young from Dallas, Texas as part of the 9th Air Force, the 98th Bomb Group, and the 344th Bombing Squadron, which arrived in North Africa in early 1943. This airplane was...
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...