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Forest Hunter Phifer


Took part in Operation Tidal Wave, the raid on Ploesti on 1 August 1943, in B-24 Liberator 42-40773. Lt. Phifer was awarded the "Distinguished Flying Cross" for his valor in " Operation Tidal Wave " one of the most daring raids of WW2. Coming in at tree top level the Sky Scorpions destroy the Steaua Romana oil refinery. The refinery did not produce oil for six months. The 389th earned a Presidential Unit Citation and lost six aircraft on this mission.

3 October 1943 killed in B24 42-40773 over Morocco from fuel exhaustion during flight back to England having flown missions TDY out of N. Africa.

Earlier, Collision on training mission in B24 42-40687, but landed safely back at Hethel June 25, 1943.


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


  • 42-40773

    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. ...

  • 42-40687 I for Item

    B-24 Liberator
    Damaged beyond repair in a Mid-Air-Collision on 25 June 1943 with B-24 42-40774 while on a training mission

Associated Place

  • Hethel

    Military site : airfield
    Construction of Hethel airfield began in 1941, and was finished in late 1942. The number of hardstandings was increased from the planned 36 to 50 in 1942, in order to accommodate a full heavy bomb group. The 320th Bomb Group occupied the base for ten...


Event Location Date
Born McMinnville, Warren County, Tennessee 1 October 1920
Killed non combat 3 October 1943
Buried North Africa American Cemetery and Memorial

Plot B Row 6 Grave 9


Date Contributor Update
18 October 2019 11:20:17 general ira snapsorter Changes to service number, biography and aircraft associations

Ploesti Sortie Reports, 389th Bomb Group;

Date Contributor Update
19 August 2017 19:39:09 ebrock Changes to middlename, nickname and awards

Forrest Phifer was my uncle. I have seen him listed as Forrest N Phifer but this is an error. His name is Forrest H Phifer. The H is for Hunter. I do know these were 2 of the awards given to him as we still have them. Thank you for this website !! Also is there a way to add a photo of him?

Date Contributor Update
27 September 2014 18:09:41 AAM AAM ingest

Drawn from the records of the National Museum of the Mighty Eighth Air Force, Savannah, Georgia / Losses of the 8th and 9th AFs Vol. I by Bishop and Hey pp. 165, 301