Therman D. Brown mission November 15, 1942

Sometimes there is excitement even when the mission has to abort because of weather. Lt. John Wilcox had a little on a mission to Tunis, November 15, 1942. The mission was aborted west of Benghazi when a heavy weather front was encountered. The leader of the flight and all the other B-24's, except John's plane, jettisoned their bombs after turning back.

On the flight out, Wilcox and his crew saw a large German marshalling yard on the Benghazi - Tripoli highway, Rommel's escape route. The return route was over the same path. When they were near the marshalling yard, John eased his B-24 out of the formation, gained a little altitude, and when in range of the yard, made a successful bombing run scoring some direct hits.

Almost immediately after the bomb drop, John's plane was attacked by five ME 109's. They were flying at less than 10,000 feet altitude. They shot out the tail turret, immobilized the top turret, shot out the #3 and #4 engines and hit the controls of the #2 engine freezing the control at cruising r.p.m. The #1 engine was not hit and could reach full power. Some of the ME 109's bullets shattered the windshield of the plane, skimming the top of the head of the co-pilot, Lt. Foster.

John regained his place in the formation. The altitude he had gained before the bomb drop made it possible. Somehow John managed to hold formation until the ME 109's broke off the attack for lack of fuel. It was also getting late.

John's ability to hold formation was due to the excessive demand for power he made on the #1 engine. The engine temperature was dangerously high and now had to be throttled back. With loss of power and night coming on, a decision was made to belly land the plane in the desert while they could still see what they were doing. This was somewhere south of Tobruk. Although the desert air was quite cold, they managed to stay warm by burning engine oil.

The following morning an RAF Dakota (DC-3), on its way to supply a hit and run Spitfire Squadron, spotted John's B-24. They landed nearby, collected the crew, completed its own mission, and deposited John and crew at their Suez Canal base that night.


The website is NOT our site nor is it our endowment fund.

At the 2017 reunion, the board approved the donation of our archives to the Briscoe Center for American History, located on the University of Texas - Austin campus.

Also, the board approved a $5,000 donation to add to Ed Clendenin's $20,000 donation in the memory of his father. Together, these funds begin an endowment for the preservation of the 376 archives.

Donate directly to the 376 Endowment

To read about other endowment donation options, click here.

My Trip to San Pancrazio

October 2019


NOTE change in month !!!

DATES: Oct 26-29, 2023

CITY:Tucson, AZ

HOTEL: Double Tree Suites Airport hotel

7051 South Tucson Blvd., Tucson, AZ 85756


Click here to read about the reunion details.

previous reunions

For Sale

The Other Doolittle Raid

The Broken Wings of Zlatibor

The Liberandos

Three Crawford Brothers

Liberando: Reflections of a Reluctant Warrior

376th Bomb Group Mission History

The Last Liberator

Full Circle

Shadows of Wings

Ten Men, A "Flying Boxcar," and A War

I Survived Ploesti

A Measure of Life

Shot Down In Yugoslavia

Stories of My Life


Born in Battle

Bombardier's Diary

Lost Airmen

Langdon Liberando