August 01, 1943

Staging from Benghazi, 177 Ninth Air Force B-24s drop 311 tons of bombs from low level on the oil refineries at Ploesti during Operation Tidal Wave. Forty-nine aircraft are lost, and seven others land in Turkey. This is the first large-scale, minimum-altitude attack by AAF heavy bombers on a strongly defended target. It is also the longest major bombing mission to date in terms of distance from base to target. Five AAF officers, Col. Leon Johnson, Col. John R. Kane, Lt. Col. Addison E. Baker, Maj. John L. Jerstad, 2nd Lt. Lloyd Hughes would be awarded the Medal of Honor for their actions. More AAF Medals of Honor were awarded for this mission than any other in the service’s history.