Medal of Honor
John R. Kane (Air Mission)
Rank and Organization: Colonel, U.S Army Air Corps, 9th Air Force.
Action: Ploetsi Raid, Rumania, 1 Aug 1943.
Inducted: Shreveport, La.
Born: McGregor, Tex.
G.O.#54, 9 Aug 1943.
Citation: For conspicuous gallantry in action and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty on 1 Aug 1943. On this date he led the third element of heavy bombardment aircraft in a mass low-level bombing attack against the vitally important enemy target of the Ploesti oil refineries. En route to the target, which necessitated a round-trip flight of over 2,400 miles, Col. Kane’s element became separated from the leading portion of the massed formation in avoiding dense and dangerous cumulous cloud conditions over mountainous terrain. Rather than turn back from such a vital mission he elected to proceed to his target. Upon arrival at the target area it was discovered that another group had apparently missed its target and had previously attacked and damaged the target assigned to Col. Kane’s element. Despite the thoroughly warned defenses, the intensive antiaircraft fire, enemy fighter airplanes, extreme hazards on a low-level attack of exploding delayed action bombs from the previous element, of oil fires and explosions and dense smoke over the target area, Col. Kane elected to lead his formation into the attack. By his gallant courage, brilliant leadership, and superior flying skill, he and the formation under his command successfully attacked this vast refinery so essential to our enemies’ war effort. Through his conspicuous gallantry in this most hazardous action against the enemy, and by his intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty, Col. Kane personally contributed vitally to the success of this daring mission and thereby rendered most distinguished service in the furtherance of the defeat of our enemies.
7 thoughts on “Medal of Honor, Colonel John Riley Kane, United States Army Air Corps”
My father-in-law, William Leo flew as tail gunner with Col. Kane on this mission. Their B-24D was named Hail Columbia. They took off from Bengasi and flew at low levels 50-100 ft to avoid the German Wurzburg radar in Greece. The plane was badly damaged during the bomb run and couldn’t make it back to Bengasi. The navigator got a fix on Nicosia, where the British had a fighter base. Hail Columbia crash landed and broke apart, but none of the crew suffered any injuries
My late friend Wally Golec was in the B-24 “Sad Sack” piloted by Lt. William Banks & was in formation with Col. Kane before, during & after the bomb run. After coming off the target they stayed with Kane all the way to Cyprus, which was an alternate airfield for aircraft too damaged to make it back to Benghazi, Libya. Wally flew more missions after “Tidal Wave” before rotating home. He married his childhood sweetheart in Detroit & had a successful career & raised a family. He passed in August 2011. All hail the brave men in the 98th BG as well as their comrades in the other groups who came to bomb Ploesti & sacrificed so much to try to shorten the war & deprive Hitler of oil & avgas.
Here is to also give a Bravo Zulu to all the Air Crews and To Recognize Co- Pilot Pat Morrow who was also on the Polesti Raid…He Survived Three Crash Landings….Heavy Flak Damage….Enemy Fighters coming in…. Pat suffered from PTSD and very rarely talked about his combat actions….his Bombardier was Frank Lee….
My father was shot down in this raid and spent the remainder of the war in a German prison camp in Austria. He was liberated by the Russians. Dad seldom talked about his experiences but was unconscious when he hit the ground in his parachute. He landed on his knees which were both smashed and not treated by the Germans. He served 27 years in the Army Air Corps and U.S. Air Force retiring in 1968
Thank you Larry for remembering my dad. He was a good father and shared many stories of this mission with us.
God Bless these young men who knew what might happen to them, but DID IT anyway. These men had integrity, honor and most of all, MY DEEPEST RESPECT..
These very brave men are a vital part of the greatest generation, and a large part of how we won the war.
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