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Remember Uncle Tom, who was given the Légion d'Honneur last year? He's being awarded the DSC this Monday. :) If you've never heard of the Ploesti Raid, google it.

This is from my uncle (mum's brother, not mum's uncle, who is Tom):
My uncle, Tom Holmes, will be awarded the Distinguished Service Cross, the 2nd highest medal for combat valor under the Medal of Honor, next Monday, Feb 2nd, at Barksdale AFB, Shreveport, La. He is 90 years old and in a wheel chair, so please pray for travel mercies for him, strength and good health for the trip. This medal is normally presented by the Vice-President, but Uncle Tom's health will not permit him to travel to Washington D.C. as requested. The Commander of the 8th Air Force will present the medal to him in a ceremony at 11am, followed by a reception/lunch at the Officer's Club.

This is a medal that should have been awarded to him during the war, but due to the hectic movement of airmen around the war fronts, was not. Some of the his other medals are: French Legion of Honor, IV Degree; Croix de Guerre; Silver Star; several Distinguished Flying Crosses; Purple Heart. Below is an excerpt from the DSC affadavit illustrating the battle action:

As related by LtCol. Bob Lehnhausen, who later, back in England, became the CO of the 68th Bomb Squadron of the
44th BG for the rest of WWII:


"In late June 1943, the 44th BG was transferred from the 8th AF to TDY with the 9th AF. The 44thBG joined the 98th Bomb Group at Benina Main airfield on the Libyan desert. This assignment was for the purpose of attacking the German held oil complex at Ploesti, Roumania. However, prior to that scheduled mission we were to support the upcoming Allied invasion of Sicily which took place on July 10, 1943.

The practice mission for the planned mission was conducted on Friday, July 30, 1943. Captain Holmes, our Operations Officer, asked me to fly the Ploesti mission because of the illness of two co-pilots. I readily agreed. We were briefed for this mammoth effort on Saturday by General Brereton, the 9th AF Commander. I vividly recall that he told us that, “If in the conduct of this important mission, you achieve the objective, but in the effort lose the total force, it will be worthwhile.” That really got the attention of the crews.

On Saturday evening, July 31, the night prior to the mission, Captain Holmes asked me to fly the Ploesti mission as co-pilot for Lt. Eunice Shannon. His co-pilot was ill. Shannon was a fairly new member of the squadron. I didn’t know him. However, he already earned a reputation amongst the other pilots as one who did not fly “good” formation. When I mentioned this to Holmes, he smiled and told me that was why I was being asked to fly with Shannon. He further stated that he knew that I would ensure that the problem would be corrected. As the mission was planned Shannon and I were to fly on Captain Holmes right wing in the first of the four waves of aircraft to attack the Blue V target, Creditul Minier refinery at Brazi, within the Ploesti complex. I recall with great clarity the whole of the epic air/land battle. I can also assure anyone that our B-24 enjoyed excellent formation position throughout this 13 hour 20 minute flight, from take-off, assembly, until landing.

-1-

The historic Ploesti mission was flown on Sunday, August 1, 1943. It was a low-level aerial attack by B-24 Liberator bombers upon the oil installations that supplied the German Army over thirty per cent of its critical petroleum products. The 44th Bomb Group was assigned two of the seven targets that were to be attacked in that operation. Colonel Leon W. Johnson, our Group Commander, led a group of sixteen (16) bombers against the Columbia Aquila refinery with the target designated as WHITE V. The second target of the 44th BG was the Creditul Minier refinery at Brazi which was designated the code name BLUE V. This target was assigned twenty (20) 44th BG aircraft. The plan for BLUE V detailed that the specific aiming points were to be two separate targets assaulted by four waves of five planes each.
These waves would be flying from the initial point (IP) of the bomb run a formation similar to a flat letter M. BLUE V had two distinct and separate targets. BLUE V was commanded by our Deputy Group CO, Lt. Col. James Posey. His pilot was Captain John Diehl, commander of the 68th Squadron. Diehl was at the point of the left most leading point of the M, to which I have referred. His specifically assigned target was the Distillation Plant. Diehl, together with his wingmen had a bomb run alley with a breadth of 300 feet. That is tight formation flying when one considers that the wing span of a B-24 was just at 110 feet. The other target of the flat M on the right most leading point of the letter M was led by Captain Tom Holmes, the Operations Officer. His assigned target was the Power House/Boiler house and was to be handled by himself, his right wingman (Shannon/Lehnhausen), and following formation. Holmes was assigned an even tighter bombing alley width of 180-feet requiring exceptional and even tighter formation flying. Holmes completely destroyed his Boiler/Power House target. His target is shown in Exhibit C.


I recommend that the Citation for the Distinguished Service Cross for Captain Walter T. Holmes be stated as follows:

WALTER T. HOLMES, 0-437615, Captain, 68th Bombardment Squadron 44th Bombardment Group (H). For distinguishing himself by extraordinary heroism in operations against the Ploesti Oil Refineries of Rumania on August 1943. As Operations Officer of the 68th Bombardment Squadron, Captain Holmes piloted a lead aircraft in a formation of B-24 type aircraft that attacked a highly important oil refinery at extremely low altitude. Because of the nature of the target it was imperative for the lead pilot to follow an exact course to and over the target. Some fifteen miles before reaching the objective, Captain Holmes’ aircraft was subjected to heavy point blank anti-aircraft and machine -gun fire. Knowing that to take evasive action would disrupt the close flying formation, Captain Holmes, thinking only of the complete destruction of his separate target ahead, and with complete disregard for personal risk of life, kept fast to the course leading his formation through fire and smoke straight over the target. His courageous determination and exceptional piloting skill made possible the successful and full destruction of his target. Residence at Commission: Denton, Texas.

I make the above statements to the best of my knowledge, memory, and notes in support of my Recommendation to correct an administrational error, mistake or oversight, and to award the Distinguished Service Cross to Captain Walter T. Holmes for his extraordinary heroism and target leadership."

Date: _____________ _____________________________________
Robert J. Lehnhausen, Lt. Col. USAF Ret.
ASN 0-728890
Attachments:
1) Exhibit “A”: Target Blue V Aircraft Formation Plan
2) Exhibit “B”: HQ, 9 AF, Gen. Order No. 90 (2 pgs.)3

3) Exhibit “C”: Target Blue V diagram of two targets

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(anonyme)
01 fév 2009 16:12 (UTC)
Wow. That is quite an honor. Congratulations
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