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George J Reuter

Military

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.

Bud had started attending university prior to the war. My grandmother said he had a photographic memory and hardly ever cracked a book, yet maintained excellent grades in school.

When the war broke out, he volunteered for the Army Air Corps. This made sense considering his father was a NACA (later NASA) engineer which was also what Bud aspired to be.

Bud's attitude coming out of his military training seemed somewhat fatalistic. He told my grandmother (his older sister) that he did not think he would be coming back from the war. He also decided to marry a girl he had met while in training because, as he said, "I want to know what it feels like to be married".

In 2012, I had to privilege of talking to Bud's pilot, 1st Lt. Pat Murphy over the telephone. It was an eyeopening conversation.

Apparently, Bud was a killer poker player who had the ability to count the card played and successfully determine who held what cards. His best friend was 1st Lt. Alfred Pezzella.

Bud and Al Pezzella were the navigator and bombardier on Murphy's aircraft named "Hinie Hunter". They were Murphy's second crew.

When the 93rd was sent on TDY to North Africa, half of the crew had flow their 25 combat missions and this included Bud and Al. Pat Murphy had been disciplined by the new CO, Lt. Col Addison Baker for missing an officers call and, according to Murphy, was held back in England. Murphy and Baker did not get along. Baker was National Guard as was his eventual co-pilot Major John Jerstad. Murphy was "Regular Army" or RA and had been with the 93rd from its beginning when it was "Ted's Traveling Circus" under Col. Ted Timberlake. He felt that Baker and Jerstad were "brown nosers", and viewed them an being in it for the glory. Whether that is a fair assessment or not, is up to the individual. RA and NG rivalries are nothing new. As a combat vet of Desert Storm, I can attest to this.

Because experienced bombardiers and navigators were needed for a "big mission" coming up, I assume that Bud and Al along were not volunteers but rather, considered essential personnel who would be participating in Tidal Wave regardless of meeting their 25 mission mark.

At any rate, Bud, Al Pezzela, along with T/Sgt's Faith, Bennett and Stafford (all part of Murphy'`s Hinie Hunter crew) would be flying on a new aircraft named "Hell's Wench". The B-24 had been flown over from the States and would serve a the Command ship for the 93rd BG during Tidal Wave. Lt. Addison Baker would be the Pilot along with John Jerstad, who had once piloted "Jerk's Natural".

We know the rest of the story. A command pilot and a Brigadier General who were too pig headed to listen to their navigator who was frantically telling them they had made a wrong turn and were NOT heading towards Romanian Oil Refineries, but rather the Romanian capital city!

We will never know what Col. Addison Baker decide to follow the 376th BG, but he did. We will never know if my uncle informed Baker that he was screwing up, but I believe he did.

Before hanging up, Pat Murphy told me, "Had I been piloting that aircraft, your Uncle would have come back with the rest of the crew". He never forgave Baker flying directly into the heaviest flack concentration and sacrificing those men.

In all fairness, I think pilots always believe they can bring their men home. One can question Baker's actions. One can question whether he and his co-pilot deserved Medal's of Honor (and I wish civilians would STOP putting "Congressional" at the front the name! It is MOH period!). I have my own views, but one can't call any of the men who died that day, even with their poor judgment, cowards.

Service

People

  • George Allen

    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). ...

  • Addison Baker

    Military | Lieutenant Colonel | Commanding Officer | 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 over Ploesti during Operation Tidal Wave on 1 August, 1943. ...

  • Charles Bennett

    Military | Technical Sergeant | Top Turret 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 Carroll

    Military | Technical Sergeant | Radio Operator | 93rd Bomb Group
    Killed in action on 1 August 1943 during Operation Tidal wave onboard B-24 Liberator, 'Hell's Wench' (#42-40994). ...

  • Edgar Faith

    Military | Staff Sergeant | 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 | Pilot | 376th Bomb Group
    Killed in action on 1 August 1943 during Operation Tidal wave onboard B-24 Liberator, 'Hell's Wench' ...

  • Alfred Pezzella

    Military | First Lieutenant | Bombardier | 93rd Bomb Group
    Killed in action on 1 August 1943 during Operation Tidal wave onboard B-24 Liberator, 'Hell's Wench' (#42-40994). ...

  • 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). ...

  • William Wood

    Military | Staff Sergeant | Tail 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

    Group
    93rd Bombardment Group (Heavy) was activated 1-March-1942 at Barksdale Field, Louisiana. On 15-May-1942 the Group moved to Ft. Myers, Florida to continue advanced flight training and also to fly anti-submarine patrols over the Gulf of Mexico; they...

  • 328th Bomb Squadron

Aircraft

Missions

  • Operation Tidal Wave

    1 August 1943
    Operation TIDAL WAVE. B24D 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 B...

Events

Event Location Date
Born Virginia
Died 1 August 1943
Enlisted
Buried Florence American Cemetery and Memorial

Revisions

Date Contributor Update
05 March 2020 18:09:01 WingNut Changes to biography
Sources

My Uncle

Date Contributor Update
05 March 2020 17:57:17 WingNut Changes to media associations
Sources

Reuter is my Uncle.

Date Contributor Update
05 March 2020 17:48:40 WingNut Changes to biography
Sources

I am the Nephew of George Reuter.

Date Contributor Update
05 March 2020 17:44:48 WingNut Changes to biography and events
Sources

I am the Nephew of Lt George Reuter. I interviewed Pat Murphy, and corresponded with Walter Stewart (no relation).

Date Contributor Update
05 March 2020 16:33:44 WingNut Changes to nickname
Sources

I am the great nephew of George Reuter.

Date Contributor Update
27 August 2019 15:56:11 Emily Changes to biography, awards, events, person associations, place associations and mission associations
Sources

Ploesti Sortie Reports, 93rd Bomb Group

ABMC

Date Contributor Update
27 September 2014 18:11:00 AAM AAM ingest
Sources

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

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