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The B-24D, Kickapoo - First casualty of Operation Tidal Wave. Engine failure on takeoff. Crashed at Lete Airfield. Pilots, Lt. Robert Nespor, Lt. John C. Riley, and all but two of the crew were killed (KIA). Two crewmen, Lt. Russel Polivka, the navigator, and a gunner, SSgt Eugene Garner, escaped Kickapoo's wreckage, badly burned. They recovered and eventually returned to service. (WIA) (RTS) . Aircraft lost. Number 4 engine failure. - 8 KIA - 2 WIA. Aug 1, 1943



  • 9th Air Force
  • 93rd Bomb Group

    93rd Bomb 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...

  • 98th Bomb Group

    98th Bomb Group

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

  • 344th Bomb Squadron

    344th Bomb Squadron

    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...


  • Eugene Garner

    Military | Staff Sergeant | Gunner
    Crew member SSgt. Eugene Robert Garner flew on Operation Tidal wave and was one of two survivors of the crash of the B-24D, KICKAPOO, on takeoff for the Ploesti mission. He was assigned as part of a replacement crew for the B-24D, KICKAPOO, from the...

  • John Kane

    Military | Colonel | B-24 Bomb Group Commanding Officer / B-24 Command Pilot
    John Riley Kane 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 leadership, courage, and heroism for...

  • Robert Nespor

    Military | First Lieutenant | B-24 Command Pilot
    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...

  • Russell Polivka

    Military | Second Lieutenant | Navigator
    Lt. Russell W. Polivka was a navigator, and part of the replacement crew assigned to the B-24D Liberator, 41-11768, KICKAPOO, of 344th Bomb Squadron, the 98th Bomb Group, and the 9th Air Force, for Operation Tidal Wave over Ploesti, Romania. Flown by...

  • John Riley

    Military | Second Lieutenant | B-24 Co-Pilot
    2nd Lt. John Clark Riley was a B-24D pilot in the 9th Air Force, the 93rd Bomb Group, and the 330th Bomb Squadron at Benghazi, Libya, in the Mediterranean theater (MTO) during WWII. Lt. Riley and his command Pilot Robert Nespor from the 98th Bomb...

  • John Young

    Military | Major | B-24 Command Pilot
    Lt. 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" or ...


  • 41-11768 Kickapoo

    B-24 Liberator
    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...


  • 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...


  • Lete

    Military site : airfield


Date Contributor Update
14 October 2021 01:56:15 Kickapoo Changes to person associations

Black Sunday - Ploesti - Michael Hill

Date Contributor Update
14 October 2021 01:54:36 Kickapoo Changes to caption

Black Sunday - Michael Hill

Date Contributor Update
05 September 2021 11:49:56 Kickapoo Changes to caption

Spacing lettering, capitals. - Kickapoo

Date Contributor Update
13 August 2021 07:50:38 Kickapoo Created entry with caption, unit associations, person associations, place associations, aircraft associations and mission associations

Wording, information additions - Kickapoo