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Operation Tidal Wave Anniversary

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Today marks the 70th anniversary of Operation Tidal Wave. The 1 August 1943 bombing raid on the oil fields at Ploesti, Romania was one of the costliest air missions in the European Theater. On what would become known as “Black Sunday,” 660 airmen lost their lives. Five Medals of Honor were awarded as a result of actions that day.

One participant in the raid was Thomas Laskowski. He was the radio operator on the B-24 Flak Alley. Read more on Flak Alley from the 44th Bomb Group Veterans Association.

Just a year prior, Laskowski’s previous crew on the B-17 “My Gal Sal” survived an emergency landing on an icecap in Greenland. By sawing off propellor tips which had been stuck in the ice, the crew managed to restart My Gal Sal’s engines and radio. Laskowski transmitted an SOS, which led to their rescue after 10 days. The plane remained on the ice for more than fifty years before being recovered and restored. My Gal Sal hangs here at the Museum in the US Freedom Pavilion: Boeing Center.

Post by Curators Kimberly Guise and Larry Decuers.

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