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2nd Lt. Lloyd Herbert "Pete" Hughes, Jr.
(12 Jul 1921 - 1 Aug 1943)


DEPARTMENT OF THE AIR FORCE

HEADQUARTERS UNITED STATES AIR FORCE
AIR FORCE RECORDS CENTER
ST. LOUIS 14, MISSOURI

PROPERTY OF
AIR FORCE MUSEUM
Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, O.

29 MAY 1959

STATEMENT OF MILITARY SERVICE

OF

LLOYD HERBERT HUGHES

(O 666 292)

Born 12 July 1921 at Alexandris [sic - Alexandria], Louisiana

Private, AUS - 28 Jan 42
Aviation Cadet - 28 Jan 42
Second Lieutenant, AUS - 10 Nov 42

SCHOOLS ATTENDED

Air Corps Replacement Training Center (Aircrew), Kelly Field, Texas - 1942
AAF Primary Pilot Training, Tulsa, Oklahoma - 1942
AAF Basic Pilot Training, Enid, Oklahoma - 1942
AAF Advanced Pilot Training, Lubbock, Texas - 1942
Four Engine Transition School, Combat Crew School, Tarrant Air Base, Fort Worth, Texas - 1942

 RATED

Pilot

SERVICE

      Lloyd Herbert Hughes enlisted in the Army of the United States on 28 January 1942 at San Antonio, Texas, and was appointed an Aviation Cadet on the same date.  He entered Air Corps Replacement Training Center (Aircrew), Kelly Field, Texas, and completed the training in March 1942.  He transferred to the AAF Primary Pilot Training School, Tulsa, Oklahoma, and completed the course in April 1942.  He then entered Basic Pilot Training School at Enid, Oklahoma, finishing this course in July 1942. He received his advanced pilot training at Lubbock Army Flying School, Lubbock, Texas, completing this course in September 1942.  He was then transferred to Four Engine Transition School, Tarrant Air Base, Fort Worth, Texas, where he completed the prescribed training courses of instruction, and was commissioned a Second Lieutenant, Army of the United States, on 10 November 1942, and rated pilot.

      After receiving his commission, he was immediately called to active duty with the Air Corps and assigned as Pilot.  He was assigned to the 564th Bombardment Squadron, 389th Bombardment Group, and was stationed at Tarrant Field, Fort Worth, Texas, from 13 November 1942 to January 1943; Davis-Monthan Field, Tucson, Arizona, from January 1943 to February 1943; Biggs Field, El Paso, Texas, from February 1943 to May 1943.  He departed the United States with this organization in June 1943 for duty in the European Area. Upon his arrival in Africa, he was assigned as a Pilot.

      Lieutenant Hughes participated in five combat missions in the Italy-Roumania area.  He was killed in action on 1 August 1943 while piloting a B-24 type aircraft which crashed during a minimum altitude attack against the axis oil refineries in Ploesti, Roumania.

      Information obtained from crew members indicated that the bomber was in the last formation and, consequently, received direct hits from both large and small anti-aircraft guns, seriously damaging the aircraft, and causing sheets of escaping gasoline to stream from the bomb bay and from the left wing.  This damage was inflicted prior to reaching the target.  Lieutenant Hughes, had he desired to do so, could have made a landing in grain fields in this area.  The aircraft, already seriously crippled, was in imminent danger of exploding, since the flames in the target area were leaping high above the formation level.  Lieutenant Hughes, realizing the possible consequences of entering this blazing inferno, made his bomb run and dropped his bombs with great precision.  Upon campleting [sic - completing] the run, the left wing was aflame causing the plane to crash when he attempted a forced landing.  He was awarded the nation’s highest decoration, the Medal of Honor.

DECORATIONS AND AWARDS

Medal of Honor - WD GO 17, 26 Feb 44

     CITATION:  For conspicuous gallantry in action and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty.  On 1 August 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, Roumania, launched from the northern shores of Africa.  Flying in the last formation to attack the target,he [sic - target, he] arrived in the target area after previous flights had thoroughly alerted the enemy defenses. Approaching the target through intense and accurate anti-aircraft 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 installation from which flames leaped 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 state of the fire enveloping his aircraft, the airplane crashed and was consumed.  By Lieutenant Hughes’ heroic decision to complete his mission regardless of the consequences, in utter disregard for his own life, and by his gallant and valorous execution of this 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.

Purple Heart (Posthumous)
American Defense Service Medal
American Campaign Medal
European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal with three Bronze Service Stars for participation in the Air Offensive Europe, Sicily, and Air Combat Campaigns
World War II Victory Medal
Distinguished Unit Citation Emblem
Meritorious Unit Commendation Emblem
Aviation Badge "Pilot"

      FOR THE CHIEF OF STAFF:

 

      A. J. PETROSKI
      Director


Sources: Statement of Military Service

Created: March 17, 2008

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