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389th BG Missing Air Crew Report Details



Date Lost: 1-Aug-43

Serial Number: 42-40735

Aircraft Model B-24D-90-CO

Aircraft Letter: C-

Aircraft Name: SAND WITCH

Squadron: 566th BS

Location: Campina, Romania

Cause: AA Damage

Notes: Entire crew received DSC for this mission.






    Operation TIDALWAVE


On Sunday, August 1, 1943 the Ninth Air Force attempted one of the most daring air raids of WWII, against the oil refineries at Ploesti, Romania. The raiding force was composed of 179 B-24D Liberator bombers from the 44th, 93rd, 98th, 376th, & 389th Heavy Bomb Groups. The B-24D Liberator was a four-engine strategic bomber designed to knock out industrial targets from 25,000 feet using the modern Norden bombsight. For the Ploesti mission, however, it was decided to risk these lumbering giants and their crews on a surprise low-level attack from an altitude of only 200 feet. Due to spies and enemy radar, the Germans were not surprised, and the enemy defenses were ready and waiting for the Liberators when they made their bombing runs. Enemy fighters pursued the force back to the Mediterranean, but it was the incredible number of small caliber AA guns that did most of the damage. Fifty-five aircraft were lost, over 300 aircrew were killed, and about 130 aircrew were captured on that fateful day.


Position Rank Name Fate


Pilot 1/Lt Horton, Robert W. KIA

Co-Pilot 2/Lt Hull, Charles T. KIA

Navigator 2/Lt Krug, Richard B. KIA

Bombardier 2/Lt Emerson, Elwood H. KIA  

Engineer S/Sgt Steen, Zerrill J. POW  

Radio Sgt Smith, Jack E. KIA  

Waist T/Sgt Herlevic, Frank A. KIA

Waist S/Sgt Lambert, James V. KIA

Tunnel Sgt Kauffmann, Robert P. KIA  

Tail S/Sgt Smith, Mack H. KIA


ID: 18081681
Entered the Service From: Texas
Rank: Technical Sergeant

Service: U.S. Army Air Forces, 566th Bomber Squadron, 389th Bomber Group, Heavy

Died: Sunday, August 01, 1943
Buried at: Ardennes American Cemetery
Location: Neupre (Neuville-en-Condroz), Belgium
Plot: A Row: 35 Grave: 25

Awards: Distinguished Service Cross, Air Medal, Purple Heart

Tsgt. Jack E. Smith

Jack E. Smith was born in 1917 as Jack Hensley. Two days after his birth he was adopted by Wiley and Nancy Smith because Jack’s mother died in childsbirth and his father was unable to take care of him.


Underneath a letter from jack to his parents shortly before he went overseas for WWII