2nd Lt. Lloyd Herbert "Pete"
(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
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.
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
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
is an illustration of "Ole Kickapoo." (Many thanks to illustrator Andy Gaster
for permission to reproduce this image.)