CINCINNATI — Surviving veterans and relatives are trading memories in Ohio about the attack on “Hitler’s gas station” that produced a fierce World War II battle marked by bravery and sacrifice.
The 70th anniversary Ploesti Raid reunion at the U.S. Air Force Museum near Dayton commemorates an Aug. 1, 1943, assault by waves of B-24 bombers on oil refineries in Romania. Sweeping in at what a veteran calls “corn-high” levels against German firepower, nearly a third of the planes and their men didn’t make it back to North Africa bases.
Ninety-two-year-old Bob Rans recalls being bathed in gasoline in a burning plane before parachuting out. He says it’s emotional to consider the raid’s place in history as the most-decorated action of the war.
Participants are viewing a restored B-24 today.