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463rd Bombardment Group History / Ploesti Citation
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772nd Squadron Patch

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Untitled-2.gif (895 bytes) The group received two Distinguished Unit Citations (now called the Presidential Unit Citation) for its role in World War II. The first citation was awarded after the group bombed oil refineries at Ploesti, Romania, on May 18, 1944. The Citation was presented to the Unit on November 7, 1944 in the name of the President of the United States, by order of the Secretary of War and General George C. Marshall, Chief of Staff.

The Citation reads in part:

"The 463d Bombardment Group is cited for outstanding performance of duty in armed conflict with the enemy. Assigned the mission to attack and destroy the Romano Americano Oil Refinery, Ploesti, Romania, in an effort to reduce the total Axis oil production to a critical point in her military requirements. The ground crews worked enthusiastically and with grim determination to have their aircraft at the peak of mechanical perfection to insure the success of this mission despite the damages and losses suffered by their group through a sustained period of operations. On 18 May 1944, thirty-five B-17 type aircraft, heavily loaded with maximum tonnage, were airborne, and despite adverse weather conditions rallied with the wing formation and set course for their destination. Under continued adverse weather conditions encountered enroute, the visibility became so limited, with dense cloud layers reaching to 30,000 foot elevation, that all other units returned to base. Undaunted by the seemingly overwhelming odds, the 463d Bombardment Group continued on alone through the dense cloud coverage, which rendered compact formation flying extremely hazardous. Despite intense, heavy, and accurate enemy anti-aircraft fire encountered over the target, the gallant crews, displaying outstanding courage, professional skill, and determination, though many of their airplanes were damaged severely, maintained their tight formation and brought their ships through the enemy defenses for a highly successful bombing run, inflicting grave damage to vital enemy installations and supplies. Rallying off the target after the bombing run and while unprotected by friendly fighters, the group was savagely attacked by approximately 100 highly aggressive enemy fighters. In the ensuing fierce engagement, while battling their way through the heavy enemy opposition, the group lost 7 bombers; however, in the gallant defense of the formation, the gunners accounted for 28 enemy aircraft destroyed, 30 probably destroyed, and 2 damaged. With the arrival of friendly fighters, the remaining bombers proceeded for a safe landing without further damage. By the extraordinary heroism, airmanship, and grim determination of the combat crews, together with the highly technical skill and intense devotion to duty of the ground personnel, the 463d Bombardment Group has upheld the highest traditions of the military service, thereby reflecting great credit on themselves and the armed forces of the United States."

 


 

463rd Historical Society
P.O. Box 11045
Santa Ana, Ca. 92711
SwooseGroup@463rd.org