Gunner S/Sgt. John D'Amour KIA
Hometown: Sparta, Mich.
Squadron: 98th Bomb Gp
Service # 36146758
Awards: Air Medal, Purple Heart.
Pilot 1st/Lt. Robert J. Nespor, KIA
Target: Ploesti (White IV)
Missing Air Crew Report Details
Date Lost: 1-Aug-43
Serial Number: 41-11768
Aircraft Model B-24D
Aircraft Letter: D
Aircraft Name: KICKAPOO
Location: Crew of 10 8 KIA 2 RTD
Cause: KICKAPOO aborted the mission due to mechanical difficulties.
Sgt. D'Amour lost his life in the Ploesti raid "Operation Tidal Wave" August 1st 1943. One of the most daring raids of WW2. Coming in at tree top level the 98th BG destroy Romanian oil refineries.
Flown by 1st/Lt. Nespor and crew of 10 on loan from the 93rd Bomb Group. Briefed to fly extreme right position on first wave attacking target white IV. Number 4 engine failed on take off after jettisoning all bombs at sea, KICKAPOO was guided for an emergency landing. Due to a conflicting aircraft on the runway, Nespor was forced to approach the field from the West. In doing so a wing tip hit concrete and exploded on impact with the ground.
Lt. Russell briefed the accident board of inquiry that Nespor lost two engines on starboard side and then on Port side just as they were coming in. He spent 1 ½ years in the hospital and went through operations recovering from the burns he had suffered. Sgt. Garner who died in November 2005 went through numerous plastic surgeries as well.
Nespor was an original 98th copilot who was grounded with dysentery so he could not finish his tour with the rest of the original crews. Lt Polivka revealed the fact that Nespor could have easily ditched in the Mediterranean but wanted to save the plane as this was his last mission. He had been cleared by the tower to return for an abort landing.
Crew of KICKAPOO
1st/Lt. Robert J. Nespor Pilot
2/Lt. Thurman L. Ward Bombardier
2nd/Lt. John C. Riley Co Pilot
T/Sgt. Vaun D. Wenrick Engineer
S/Sgt. Eugene R. Garner Gunner
T/Sgt. Armand R. Massart Radio Op.
S/Sgt.Edwin J. Sliwa Gunner
S/Sgt. George Warren Lawlor Gunner
S/Sgt. John D'Amour Gunner
SSGT, US ARMY AIR FORCES WORLD WAR II
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