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Delbert Henry Hahn


Command Pilot : Lt. Delbert H. Hahn
Born : Feb 16, 1915
Hometown : Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Squadron : 345th Bomb Squadron - 98th Bomb Group - 9th Air Force
Awards : Distinguished Service Cross, Distinguished Flying Cross, Air Medal with 2
Oak Leaf Clusters, European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign, WWII Victory Medal

Target : Low level mission to destroy Rumanian Oil Fields at Ploesti.
Mission Date : 1-Aug-43
Aircraft Serial Number: 41-23661 - 9th AF - 98th BG - 345th BS
Aircraft Model B-24D
Aircraft Letter: U
Aircraft Name: Black Jack
Location : Diverted to Sicily.
Cause: Crew of 10 Returned to duty. RTD

Command Pilot Lt. Delbert H. Hahn and his crew on his B-24D Liberator bomber, Black Jack, 41-23661, flew on Operation Tidal Wave, over Ploesti, Romania, one of the most heavily defended targets and dangerous missions of WW2 in the ETO. Flying in at below tree top level, at 200 miles per hour, the 98th and 44th Bomb Group's large formation of airplanes successfully bombed the oil refineries at their targets, White IV, for Lt. Hahn and Black Jack, at Ploesti, Romania. 1 Aug, 1943. Lt. Hahn's B-24D, Black Jack, flew in the center of Flight 4, three airplanes directly behind Col. John Kane in the center of Flight 1, in the Element Lead ship, Hail Columbia. Hahn's B-24D was heavily hit and damaged by the defending anti aircraft flak guns, as he was approaching, flying over, and leaving his target, White IV. Yet, he and his copilot, Lt. John Viewers, maintained control of their aircraft, bucking the extreme turbulence in the walls of smoke and fire, and the explosions of the delayed action bombs, over and under them in the target area, which had been dropped by the 93rd and 376th Bomb Groups ahead of the arrival of the 98th and 44th Bomb Groups. Hahn, his copilot, Lt. Viewers, and his bombardier, Lt. Ray Vengelen, in spite of the danger of the moment, and the almost impossible conditions, found their target and toggled their bombs into the Astra Romano Refinery. Major Hahn successfully survived the mission, and WWII. He escaped the Ploesti area, diverting his heavily damaged B-24 to safety at Sicily, for himself and his entire crew - 10 returned to service,(RTS). For his valor, his absolute leadership and determination to accomplish his mission, Major Hahn was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross, the Distinguished Flying Cross, and an Oak Leaf Cluster to his Air Medal for his actions during the Ploesti mission. 1 Aug 1943.
Lt. Hahn served his country in a long and distinguished military career, ending it with the final rank of Colonel, including service in the Korean conflict, and later in Vietnam.

Major Delbert Henry Hahn's Distinguished Service Cross Citation Synopsis :

- The President of the United States of America, authorized by Act of Congress July 9, 1918, takes pleasure in presenting the Distinguished Service Cross to Major Delbert H. Hahn, United States Army Air Forces, for extraordinary heroism in connection with military operations against an armed enemy, while serving as Pilot of a B-24 Heavy Bomber in the 345th Bombardment Squadron, the 98th Bombardment Group (H), and the 9th Air Force, while participating in a bombing mission on 1 August 1943, against the Ploesti Oil Refineries in Rumania. In a long and hazardous attack against a vital enemy oil installation made at low altitude by a formation of B-24 type aircraft, Major Hahn flew through heavy enemy fire against impossible odds. Despite absorbing heavy damage to his aircraft, he kept his bomber under control over his target and on the long flight out of the combat area until he could divert to a safe landing at Sicily, without the loss of a single man. The personal courage and zealous devotion to duty displayed by Major Hahn on this occasion, even when confronted with practically certain destruction, he exemplified the highest traditions of the military service and reflected great credit upon himself, the 9th Air Force, and the United States Army Air Forces.

Lt. Hahn's Crew on the B-24D - Black Jack - 41-23661, and Operation Tidal Wave : -
Lt. Delbert H. Hahn - Pilot -
Lt. John W. Viewers - CoPilot -
Lt. Nathan Nowak - Navigator -
Lt. Raymond F. Vengelen - Bombardier -
T/Sgt. Robert L. Baird - Engineer -
T/Sgt. James E. Creighton - Radio Operator -
S/Sgt. John H. Chapman - Gunner -
S/Sgt. Leslie J. Foster - Gunner -
S/Sgt. Curtis Washburn - Gunner -
SSgt. Isadore I. Klein - Tail Gunner -
- Information contributed by John Dowdy - 47791572


Units served with

  • 9th Air Force
  • 98th Bomb Group

    98th Bomb Group

    The 98th trained for bombardment missions with B-24 Liberators during the first half of 1942. ...

  • 345th Bomb Squadron

    345th Bomb Squadron

    Established as a B-24 Liberator heavy bomb squadron and trained by Third Air Force. Deployed to Egypt in June 1942 over South Atlantic Transport Route transiting from Morrison Field, Florida though the Caribbean to Brazil; performed trans-Atlantic...


  • 42-40608 - The Vulgar Virgin

    B-24 Liberator
    NOTE - The B-24D, 42-40608, Vulgar Virgin, was flown by Lt. Claude Alvin Turner, and was one of two B-24Ds, named, The Vulgar Virgin, in the Mediterranean Theater (MTO). Turner's B-24D (painted olive drab) was originally in the 8th Air Force, in...

  • 41-23661 - Black Jack

    B-24 Liberator
    Note : This B-24D, 41-23661, Black Jack, with nose art of a kicking mule, was flown by Lt. Delbert Hahn and his crew. ...


  • 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...

Associated Place

  • Berca

    Military site : airfield

  • Lete

    Military site : airfield


Event Location Date


Date Contributor Update
02 December 2021 13:11:54 Kickapoo Changes to highest rank and biography

The Hall of Valor - Delbert H. Hahn

Date Contributor Update
02 December 2021 11:46:26 Kickapoo Changes to biography

Details added. - Kickapoo

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14 October 2021 13:55:52 Kickapoo Changes to biography

Best Web - B-24 - 41-23661 - Black Jack

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01 September 2021 16:13:31 Kickapoo Changes to service number and biography

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01 September 2021 05:32:09 Kickapoo Changes to awards

FindAGrave Memorials - Major Delbert H. Hahn

Date Contributor Update
01 September 2021 05:29:45 Kickapoo Changes to service number, biography and place associations

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Date Contributor Update
01 September 2021 04:29:29 Kickapoo Created entry with surname, middlename, firstname, nickname, nationality, highest rank, role, biography, unit associations, place associations, aircraft associations and mission associations

FindAGrave Memorial - Major Delbert Henry Hahn