The Early Years
(12 Jul 1921 -
27 Jan 1942)

Army Air Forces
(28 Jan 1942 -
1 Aug 1943)

Post Ploesti
(2 Aug 1943 -
31 Jul 2006)

Most Recently
(1 Aug 2006 -

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

B-24D Aircraft #42-40753 J - "Ole Kickapoo"

There has been quite some discussion over the years about the nickname of U.S. Army Air Forces B-24D Aircraft #42-40753 J. At least everyone agrees there was no nose art.

Someone at some point decided that it had been nicknamed "Eager Eagle." The words appear to be penciled in the margin of one page of the MACRs, but no where else on those pages or anywhere else in my research is it documented.

On 13 Feb 2004, a nephew of Ronald Lee Helder posted a message on the Tidal Wave Yahoo! Group. It was a letter written by Helder to his parents. In it he stated. 'We finally named our plane "Ole Kickapoo" ....' The next day, a message from one of the surviving crew members was posted saying that he denied that the name "Eager Eagle" was ever even considered and confirmed that "Ole Kickapoo" was one of the names being kicked around. He said that as far as he knew, a name had never been chosen, but also admitted that the officers may have decided on a name the night before their last flight and he had just not heard about it.

The general consensus now is that the plane was nicknamed "Ole Kickapoo." My take on the name is that besides it being similar to "Kickapoo Joy Juice" of the Li'l Abner comic strip fame, it is the name of a creek and a road near Josserand, Trinity County, Texas where Pete was living at the time of the 1930 Census. I can imagine, but have no proof, that he played in that creek as a child and the name held some fond memories.

This is a photo of a B-24.

This photo was taken of the "Ole Kickapoo" after its the crash in the Prahova River bed. "40753 J" is clearly readable on what is left of the tail fin.

This is a 1/48th scale model of the "Ole Kickapoo" complete with the correct colors for the plane. (Many thanks to modeler Mervin Brewer for permission to reproduce this image.)

This is an illustration of "Ole Kickapoo." (Many thanks to illustrator Andy Gaster for permission to reproduce this image.)

This video from Zeno's Warbird's website shows How to Fly the Consolidated B-24 Liberator


The National Museum of the US Air Force's website has five 3-d tours from these positions on a B-24D Liberator:

In fact, this museum has some incredible virtual tours.

Created: January 12, 2009

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Last updated: July 05, 2017

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This web site was created on August 1, 2006.