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 almost blew the wing off, crashing the airplane into the ground engulfed in flames. Lt. Neeley and seven of his crewmen were killed in the crash. 8 KIA. Two crewmen, SSgt Schiffmacher and SSgt Nick Allen, survived the crash and were captured wounded. 2 WIA - POW. August 1, 1943 1
B-24D - Raunchy - Mechanics /Gunners crewmen. 1943
Pilot Lt. Samuel Neeley was a B-24D 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 ports and shipping all over the Mediterranean area.
Sam Neeley was killed, (KIA), flying his B-24D, Liberator bomber, he named, Raunchey, on Operation Tidal Wave, the huge bombing mission to destroy the German held oil refineries at Ploesti, Romania.
Neeley and his crew flew in Flight 1, 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, Raunchey, 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 one 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. 1 Aug 1943. MACR 169
For his part in the Ploesti mission and for his sacrifice, Lt. Neeley was posthumously awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross and the Purple Heart medal.
1st Lt. Robert Samuel 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
Command Pilot 1st Lt. Samuel R. Neeley - DFC - PH - KIA
Hometown : Scottsbluff, Nebraska
Squadron : 344th Bomb Squadron - 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 :
USAAF MACR 169
Date Lost : 1 Aug 43
Aircraft Serial Number : 41-11819
Aircraft Model : B-24D
Aircraft Letter : G
Aircraft Name : Raunchy
Location : Lost near target, the Astra Romano Refinery complex, Ploesti, Romania
Cause : Barrage balloon cable charge. 8 KIA. 2 POW.
Raunchy - B-24 - D - CO - 41-11819. 9th Bomb Group - 98th Bomb Group - 344th Bomb Squadron ~ RCL - G - 01 1. Lost on Operation Tidal Wave. 1 Aug 43. Ploesti, Romania. MACR 169
Crew of Raunchey :
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 | First Lieutenant | B-24 Command Pilot | 98th Bomb Group
2nd Lt. Herbert W. Arens was a B-24D command pilot in the 9th Air Force, the 98th Bomb Group, and the 344th Bomb Squadron. He flew the B-24D Liberator bomber, 41-11803, named, Rosie Wrecked 'Em, on the mission to destroy the oil refineries at Ploesti,...
Military | Staff Sergeant | B-24 Waist Gunner | 98th Bomb Group
SSgt. Neville C. Bensen took part in Operation Tidal Wave, over Ploesti, Romania, on 1 Aug 43. 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 survived...
Military | Staff Sergeant (3rd Grade) | B-24 Gunner | 98th Bomb Group
Sgt. Alfred David Cason was a gunner on the B-24D, Raunchy, flown on Operation Tidal Wave by Lt. Sam Neeley. Both Lt. Neeley and Sgt. Cason were Killed In Action (KIA) over Ploesti when their B-24D, Raunchy, hit a barrage balloon cable explosive. 1...
Military | First Lieutenant | B-24D Command Pilot | 98th Bomb Group
Gilbert Ben "Gib" Hadley was born and raised in Arkansas City, Kansas. He was the son of Perry Arthur Hadley and Beulah Pearl Bacastow, born 6-May-21. Kansas was his home and enlistment state, and Cowley County was included within the archival record.
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 | Brigadier General | B-24 Command Pilot - Commanding Officer 44th Bomb Group | 44th Bomb Group The Flying Eightballs
Col. Leon Johnson, the commander of the 44th Bomb Group from the 8th Air Force in Britain provided superior leadership in planning and training his pilots from the 8th Air force from the U.K. to employ very low altitude flying, before and during...
Military | Colonel | B-24 Bomb Group Commanding Officer / B-24 Command Pilot | 98th Bomb Group
John Riley Kane was a colonel in the United States Army Air Corps and, later, in 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 leadership, courage, and...
Military | Colonel | B-24 - B-52 Bombardier | 98th Bomb Group
Lt. Harold Francis Korger was a B-24 bombardier in the 344th Bombardment Squadron, the 98th Bomb Group, and the 9th Air Force, based in Benghazi, Libya, 1943. He flew on the B-24D, Hail Columbia, with the Element Group Leader Col. John R. Kane, on the...
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 | Flight Officer | Co-Pilot | 98th Bomb Group
2nd Lt. James Rex Lindsey was Lt. Gilbert Hadley's co-pilot on Hadley's B-24D, Hadley's Harem, in North Africa. He participated in, and had completed his part of the bombing mission, Operation Tidal Wave. But, Lt. Lindsey and Lt. "Gib" Hadley were...
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 Liberator bomber, named, The Sandman, was named, and flown, by Lt. Robert Sternfels and his co-pilot, 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...
The B-24D Liberator, Raunchy, 41-11819, was in the 344th Bomb Squadron, the 98th Bomb Group, and the 9th Air Force, based at Benghazi, Libya, North Africa, in 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...
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...