My Uncle was 2nd Lt. Lloyd Herbert Hughes known to family and friends as Pete. I never met him.
As a child heard about him periodically. I knew that my oldest brother was named after him, as was a cousin. I knew he died in World War II and had received the Medal of Honor. We had a paperback book with the words from his citation on one page. Other than that, I knew very little.
A couple of years ago, I started researching Uncle Pete. I found out that he was buried in Fort Sam Houston National Cemetery. I found out where he died, and more importantly why he died.
In World War II, Germany had oil refineries in Romania that fueled the Nazi war machines. Without these refineries, it was estimated that Hitler would run out of fuel, and the war would end sooner rather than later. Operation Tidal Wave had five Bombardment Groups (170+ B-24 Liberators with an average of 10 men each) take off from Benghazi, Libya, fly across the Mediterranean, and bomb five separate refineries in and around Ploesti, Romania. Only 92 bombers returned to Benghazi the night of 1 Aug 1943. My Uncle Pete was a Pilot on one of those B-24s. There were five Medals of Honor awarded for heroism performed that day. My Uncle Pete was one of them and one of those who died after completing his bombing run. His target, the Steaua Romana oil refinery in Campina was destroyed and did not go into production again until sometime in 1949.
I am humbled by what Uncle Pete did in his short life. He was the oldest of five brothers. He went off to college, but he returned home when his family needed him. He enlisted after Pearl Harbor. Became a B-24 Pilot, flew five missions, and posthumously received the Medal of Honor for his heroism. Ironically, as a college student he had majored in petroleum engineering, then he died destroying an oil refinery. Uncle Pete was just over 22 years old.
Rebecca Ann JORDAN