MEDAL OF HONOR FOR LT. LLOYD H. HUGHES - Above
is pictured the ceremony at Kelly Field at which the Medal of Honor was awarded
posthumously to Lt. Lloyd H. Hughes, bomber pilot, who was killed in the raid on
the Ploesti oil field. Left to right: Mr. and Mrs. J. D. Ewing of San Antonio, parents
of the lieutenant’s widow; Mrs. Hazel Dean Hughes, the widow, who received the medal
from Lt. Gen. Barton K. Yount, and Mr. and Mrs. J. R. Jordan of Corpus Christi,
parents of Lieutenant Hughes.
Lt. Lloyd H. Hughes, who in the face of certain death flew his blazing B-24
into the heart of the Ploesti oil fields of Romania to faithfully execute his
bombing mission, was awarded the nation’s highest decoration posthumously in a
ceremony yesterday (18 Apr 1944), in the office of Brig. Gen. A. W. Vanaman, commanding
general, San Antonio Air Service Command, at Kelly Field.
The Medal of Honor, received by Lieutenant Hughes’ widow, Mrs. Hazel Dean
Hughes, San Antonio, was presented by Lt. Gen. Barton K. Yount, commanding
general of the Flying Training Command, who came to Kelly Field from his
headquarters at Fort Worth to participate in the ceremony. The award was made by
General Yount in behalf of Gen. H. H. Arnold, commanding general, Army Air
Forces, at the direction of the President of the United States.
Lieutenant Hughes was a native of Alexandria, La., and lived most of his life
in Corpus Christi [sic - Texas]. His parents, Mr. and Mrs. J. R. Jordan, reside at 1113 Sixth
Lieutenant Hughes’ daring exploit, in which he sacrificed his life to bomb
his target rather than turn back or make a forced landing at available grain
fields, was described in the citation read by Maj. Walter M. Van der Wolk,
executive officer to the Chief, Decoration and Awards Branch, Army Air Forces
Headquarters in Washington, D. C.
The lieutenant died when his plane was shot down Aug. 1, 1943.
The citation described his achievement as follows:
"On Aug. 1, 1943, Lieutenant Hughes served in the capacity of pilot of a
heavy bombardment aircraft participating in a long and hazardous minimum
altitude attack against the Axis oil refineries of Ploesti, Rumania, launched
from the northern shores of Africa. Flying in the last formation to attack the
target, he arrived in the target area after previous flights had thoroughly
alerted the enemy defenses.
"Approaching the target through intense and accurate antiaircraft fire and
dense balloon barrages at dangerously low altitude, his airplane received
several direct hits from both large and small caliber antiaircraft guns which
seriously damaged his aircraft, causing sheets of escaping gasoline to stream
from the bomb bay and from the left wing. This damage was inflicted at a time
prior to reaching the target when Lieutenant Hughes could have made a forced
landing in any of the grain fields readily available at that time. The target
area was blazing with burning oil tanks and damaged refinery installations from
which flames leaped high above the bombing level of the formation.
"With full knowledge of the consequences of entering this blazing inferno
when his airplane was profusely leaking gasoline in two separate locations,
Lieutenant Hughes, motivated only by his high conception of duty which called
for the destruction of his assigned target at any cost, did not elect to make a
forced landing or turn back from the attack. Instead, rather than jeopardize the
formation and the success of the attack, he unhesitatingly entered the blazing
area and dropped his bomb load with great precision. After successfully bombing
the objective, his aircraft emerged from the conflagration with the left wing
aflame. Only then did he attempt a forced landing, but because of the advanced
stage of the fire enveloping his aircraft, the airplane crashed and was
"By Lieutenant Hughes' heroic decision, he rendered a service to our country
in the defeat of our enemies which will be everlastingly outstanding in the
annals of our nation's history."
Nine other crew members of the B-24 were killed [sic - see below] and two are now
prisoners of war.
The Purple Heart had previously been awarded to Lieutenant Hughes,
He enlisted as a cadet in January, 1942, entered the Cadet Center in March of
that year, and received his primary training at Tulsa and basic at Enid, Okla.
He received his wings at Lubbock in November, 1942.
Two days before receiving his commission he married Hazel Dean Ewing, who now
makes her home with her parents, Mr. and Mrs. J. D. Ewing.
Mrs. Hughes, a native San Antonian, is 21 and was graduated from Brackenridge
High School in 1941. She later attended Draughon’s Business College here and is
now employed in the SAASC Statistical Control Section at Kelly Field.