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Gilbert Ben Hadley

Military

Name : Gilbert Ben Hadley
Born : May 6, 1921 - Cowley County, Kansas
Death : August 1, 1943
ID : O-661482
Rank : First Lieutenant
Specialty : B-24 Pilot
Branch : US Army Air Corps
9th Air Force, 98th Bomb Group, Heavy, 344th Bomb Squadron
Status : Declared Dead (KIA) while Missing In Action (MIA)
Cause : Aircraft crashed en route to alternate home base after sustaining flak damage
Location Aegean Sea, south coast of Turkey

Gilbert Ben "Gib" Hadley was born and raised in Arkansas City, Kansas. He was the son of Perry Arthur Hadley and Beulah Pearl Bacastow. Hadley was born on May 6, 1921 in Arkansas City, Cowley County, Kansas. Kansas was his home and enlistment state, and Cowley County was included within the archival record.

Gilbert Hadley enlisted in the U.S. Army Air Force and served during World War II. as a B-24D pilot in the MTO attached to the 9th Air Force, the 98th Bomb Group, and the 344th Bomb Squadron. Lt. Hadley flew his B-24D bomber, Hadley's Harem, with his Copilot Lt. James Lindsey, on Operation Tidal Wave, the large mission to destroy the German held oil refineries at Ploesti, Romania. On August 1, 1943, Lt. Hadley and copilot Lt. Lindsey took off from their base at Benghazi, Libya, to bomb the oil refineries and facilities at Ploesti, Romania. This was an especially dangerous mission, with the bombing to be accomplished at very low levels, as low as 20 feet, up to 250 feet over their target refineries, to clear the smoke stacks. Their B-24D bombers made for relatively easier targets for the anti aircraft flak guns at such low levels over the well defended oil refineries. Lt. Hadley sustained two direct flak hits approaching his target, White IV, killing his bombardier, Leon Storms, badly wounding his navigator, Harold Tabacoff, and setting his number two engine on fire. His flight engineer, Russel Page, immediately jettisoned their bombs to lighten the airplane, and Hadley feathered his burning number two engine, as they fought to keep their damaged airplane flying and to stay alive.
Hadley was able to fly his damaged plane south through, and away from, the flak guns south of the city, and joined up with Col. John Kane's shot up straggler Lead B-24, Hail Columbia, along with Walter Stewart in, Utah Man, with Lt. Royden LeBrecht undamaged and flying cover for them. Hadley knew his plane couldn't make it all the way home to his airbase at Benghazi. But, he was able to nurse his, Harem, as far as just past the south Turkish coast nearing safety at Cyprus. But, as they were nearing Cyprus, Hadley, seeing he was out of gas and probably engine oil, too, radioed a goodbye to his friend's, Col. John Kane, Royden LeBrecht, Johnny Young, and Bob Sternfels, and turned his airplane around back toward Turkey in the darkness. But, before he could nurse his failing, but beloved, B-24D, Hadley's Harem, all the way back to the Turkish coast, "Gib" Hadley's three working engines failed, out of fuel and oil. He crashed into the Aegean Sea just off the coast of Turkey, as he was descending to try for a ditching in the shallow water close to the Turkish beach. Lt. Hadley and his copilot, Lt. James Lindsey, were trapped in their crushed cockpit and drowned and died in the sinking plane, (KIA), with their bombardier, Lt. Leon Storms, previously killed by the flak round (KIA) that hit them square in the forward nose section. Seven of their crewmen who survived the mission and the crash, swam to shore and were interned by the Turks (INT-TURKEY).

First Lieutenant Hadley was reported missing (MIA) and ultimately declared dead (KIA) later in August, 1943. Recorded circumstances attributed to: Missing in Action. Incident location: Mediterranean Sea, south coast of Turkey. Lt. Gilber Hadley was just 22 years old when he gave his life for freedom and his country.
Hadley's lost B-24 was located under the shallow water close to the Turkish coast in 1966. His remains and some personal items were recovered from the Harem's cockpit, including his aviator sunglasses, his wristwatch, and one of his pearl handled Colt .45 caliber pistols. Lt. Hadley was brought home and laid to rest near his family at Riverview Cemetery in Arkansas City, Kansas.
INCIDENT :
Three casualties were identified that are related to the, 41-24311, incident on August 1, 1943 :
◼Gilbert B. Hadley :: Pilot (KIA)
◼James R. Lindsey :: Co-Pilot (KIA)
◼Leon M. Storms :: Bombardier (KIA)

REMEMBERED :
Gilbert Ben Hadley is memorialized at Tablets of the Missing at North Africa American Cemetery, Carthage, Tunisia. This is an American Battle Monuments Commission location.

COMMENDATIONS :
★ Distinguished Flying Cross
★ Air Medal
★ Purple Heart
★ United States Aviator Badge Army
★ World War II Victory Medal
★ American Campaign Medal
★ Army Presidential Unit Citation
★ Army Good Conduct Medal
★ European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign

Service

People

  • Herbert Arens

    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,...

  • John Kane

    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 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...

  • Royden LeBrecht

    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...

  • James Lindsey

    Military | Flight Officer | B-24D Co-Pilot | 98th Bomb Group
    James Rex Lindsey ...

  • Ramsay Potts

    Military | Major General | Command Pilot, Operations Officer, Commanding Officer, Observer | 389th Bomb Group
    Major Ramsay Potts flew 41 combat missions in WWII, including deep penetrations from England to the Messerschmidt factory at Weiner Neustadt, Austria and German synthetic fuel plants. On 21 November 1942, he was engaged by 5 JU-88's over the Bay of...

  • Walter Stewart

    Military | Colonel | B-24 Pilot | 93rd Bomb Group
    In 1941, Walter Stewart was a 24 year old, U.S. Army Air Force cadet at the University of Utah. He wrote, "We were pulling guns around with horses as a plane flew overhead. Jack Adamson, who had been my Morman mission companion, said to me, "There's a...

  • John Young

    Military | Major | B-24 Command Pilot | 98th Bomb Group
    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 ...

Show more

Units served with

  • 9th Air Force
  • 98th Bomb Group

    98th Bomb Group

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

  • 344th Bomb Squadron

    344th Bomb Squadron

    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...

Aircraft

  • 42-40402 The Sandman

    B-24 Liberator
    The B-24D Liberator bomber, named, The Sandman, was flown by Lt. Robert Sternfels and his copilot, 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 destroy the...

  • 41-24311 Hadley's Harem

    B-24 Liberator
    The B-24D, named, Hadley's Harem, was Lt. Gilbert Hadley's personal airplane and the one he flew on the mission to destroy Hitler's oil refineries at Ploesti, Romania, in 1943. As Hadley was approaching his target refinery, code named, "White IV",...

  • 41-11819 Raunchy

    B-24 Liberator
    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. ...

  • 41-11761 Sleepy - The Squaw

    B-24 Liberator
    The B-24D Liberator bomber, 41-11761, was first named, Sleepy, and, later, renamed, The Squaw. It flew on the famous Ploesti bombing mission, returning to Cyprus, piloted by Lt. Royden L. Lebrecht. After Ploesti and and the completion of his combat...

  • 41-11825 Hail Columbia - Little Chief Big Dog - Grumpy

    B-24 Liberator
    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...

Missions

  • 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

Events

Event Location Date

Revisions

Date Contributor Update
13 October 2021 21:11:55 Kickapoo Changes to biography
Sources

HonorStates.org - Gilbert Ben Hadley

Date Contributor Update
13 October 2021 21:10:20 Kickapoo Changes to biography
Sources

Detail change for accuracy. - Kickapoo

Date Contributor Update
13 October 2021 21:01:28 Kickapoo Changes to middlename, nickname and biography
Sources

HonorStates.org - Gilbert Ben Hadley

Date Contributor Update
12 October 2021 21:15:18 Kickapoo Changes to middlename and biography
Sources

Name changed for accuracy. - Kickapoo

Date Contributor Update
12 October 2021 21:09:47 Kickapoo Changes to biography and awards
Sources

Added details. - Kickapoo

Date Contributor Update
12 October 2021 20:57:52 Kickapoo Changes to biography
Sources

The Great Ground-Air battle Of 1 August, 1943 - James Dugan & Carroll Stewart

Date Contributor Update
02 October 2021 10:30:56 Kickapoo Changes to awards
Sources

Added details. - Kickapoo

Date Contributor Update
02 October 2021 10:19:59 Kickapoo Changes to biography
Sources

Into The Fire - Duane Schultz

Date Contributor Update
16 August 2021 10:16:04 Kickapoo Changes to biography
Sources

Black Sunday - Michael Hill

Date Contributor Update
15 August 2021 22:24:30 Kickapoo Changes to biography and person associations
Sources

Black Sunday - Michael Hill

Date Contributor Update
15 August 2021 21:44:39 Kickapoo Created entry with surname, middlename, firstname, nickname, nationality, service number, highest rank, role, biography, person associations, unit associations, place associations, aircraft associations and mission associations
Sources

Gilbert Ben Hadley - FindAGrave Memorial

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