July 15, 1944
“Fortunes of War”
Mission #31 – target – Romano-Americano oil refinery at Ploesti in Romania. Takeoff 0600 Landing 1330 (0730) Total combat hours (163:40) Load – 5000 lbs (explosive B-(ROX)). Remarks
1) The entire 15th Air Force bombed every oil field and military installation in Ploesti, determined to put it out of service for months. The escort consists of seven groups.
2) Target as usual was smoked over
3) Bombs caused some black smoke to rise indicating burning oil
4) Flak was intense but we went through a valley of it
5) No fighters encountered
6) We were well off the target when a lone burst blew up alongside the top turret and tore a hole 6 inches around
7) The radio operator (Sgt. Jenkins) was hit in the neck, shoulder, and upper arm by the flak
8) He lapsed into unconsciousness and first aid was quickly administered by the pilot, navigator, bombardier, and engineer. Emergency oxygen was given to him, sulferfulminade powder was poured into the wound, a sterile bandage applied, feet elevated, and covered with blankets and flying clothes. The bombardier assumed care of the radio operator. 1 ½ surettes of morphine were administered. Jenkins suffered from shock but came out of his stupor two hours after wound. Pulse count and breathing count were taken. Oxygen continued until landing. Jenkins, in great pain, asked for morphine – he received ½ a surette.
9) Lt. Johnson poured on the coal and landed
10) Jenkins was removed carefully and placed in an ambulance
11) He had a piece of flak still in him
12) According to immediate analysis, Jenkins must have an immediate operation. As far as his life goes, he is out of danger, but it is doubtful whether he’ll ever use his right arm again. Many nerves were severed and two veins cut. No internal bleeding, and not too much external bleeding (for that type of wound).
13) Jenkins, fully conscious, spoke to Lt. Johnson and indicated that he knew his wound was serious
14) Sgt. Jenkins will never fly a combat mission again
15) Casualties – one
16) Statistics – total bomb tonnage (111,800 lbs)(559 tons)
17) Flak encountered again at Nis in Yugoslavia
18) Tail gunner on Lt. Rogers crew was killed by a burst of flak through his heart – Townsend’s friend Caton
19) Crew congradulated on efficient first aid.
20) After 4 straight days of combat flying, crew is once again weary. Crew grounded for a day by request. It seems nonsensical to make men endure such physical strain without respite. If we hadn’t asked to be grounded, we would have continued flying successive days indefinitely.