Tuesday, July 3, 2018
The Odyssey Of Utah Man and Ploesti-- Part 2: We'd Sing "God Bless America"
The commander saw the target and made a 90-degree turn. But then both the commander and his right wingman were shot down, leaving Stewart to lead the bombers behind him to the target.
The bombers flew 50 feet off the ground to devastate three of the five refineries, which seriously hurt Germany's war effort. The victory did not come without sacrifice, however. Of the 154 bombers that crossed the target area, 54 were shot down.
Years later, Stewart still remembered the event with absolute clarity. "When we hit a target we would all sing 'God Bless America', he said, adding, 'We really sang it that day."
He also remembered how emotions ran from excitement to extreme fear during the operation. "We were scared to death, but you really don't let that bother you," he recalled.