Memorial Service for long lost WWII B-24 hero on 80th anniversary of Operation Tidal Wave - August 1, 2023

Saturday, July 15, 2023

Alfred "Freddy" F. Turgeon
Portrait by Michael Reagan
The Gold Star Family of USAAF TSgt Alfred “Freddy” F. Turgeon (MIA/KIA) today announce a Memorial Service in his honor to be held on the 80th Anniversary of his being Killed in Action (KIA) on August 1, 1943. 

The memorial Service will be at the Memorial Garden Columbarium at St Dunstan’s Episcopal Church, 722 N 145th St, Shoreline, WA 98133

TSgt Turgeon was listed as one of over 80 known but unidentified casualties of the “Ploiesti Raid” interred in Romania and then Belgium. 

Through the efforts of the Department of Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA) using advances in DNA technology, TSgt Turgeon was Identified and Repatriated to his Family in 2021 after being missing for 78 Years.

Technical Sergeant Alfred “Freddy” F. Turgeon was the Radio Operator and Waist Gunner on the storied Consolidated B-24 Heavy Bomber, “The Vulgar Virgin” when he was killed while engaged in Operation Tidal Wave over Ploiesti, Romania on 1 Aug, 1943.

Alfred was born in 1919 in Worcester Massachusetts to Ruth Cutler and Alfred Turgeon Sr.

A young 21yr old Alfred enlisted in the Army Air Corp in the summer of 1941.

He was assigned to the 9th Air Force and after extensive training at Barksdale, LA and Wendover, UT was deployed with the 98th Bomb Group (Heavy) - 344th Bomber Squadron to North Africa in late 1942.

They were known as “The Pyramiders.” The Squadron flew multiple combat support missions out of Benghazi, Libya to targets in North Africa, Sicily, Italy and Greece. 

On 1 August 1943 the ”Pyramiders” joined the other B-24 Squadrons of the 98th in Operation Tidal Wave, the low level daylight bombing raid on the Nazi Oil Refineries at Ploiesti, Romania.

TSgt Turgeon was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross with Oak Leaf Cluster, The Air Medal with Oak Leaf Cluster, The Bronze Star with Three Oak Leaf Clusters, The Good Conduct Medal, The Presidential Unit Citation with Oak Leaf Cluster, The American Campaign Medal, The European-African-Middle East Campaign Medal, The World War II Victory Medal and The Purple Heart.

TSgt Turgeon was interred with Full Military Honors at the Memorial Garden of St Dunstan’s Episcopal Church in Shoreline Washington on Aug 28, 2021. He lies next to his sister, Lorraine Bass (Cutler) in the family columbarium.

He is survived by his sister, Mrs Joan Mackie (Cutler, Tucker) of Shoreline Washington, Nephews Phillip (Laurie) Tucker and Craig (Patricia) Tucker of Ketchikan Alaska and David (Barbara) Bass of Indianapolis, Indiana and Niece Kathy (Don) Newman (Tucker) of Seattle Washington along with numerous great nieces and nephews.

Alfred Turgeon was on board the Vulgar Virgin B-24 Liberator when it was attacked.
Only the captain survived. (Photo courtesy of David Bass)

From The American Air Museum

“On that day, 47 B-24 Liberators of the 344th Squadron took off for the raid against the Ploesti oil refineries.

"Only 21 returned safely.

"THE VULGAR VIRGIN', flying as the lead aircraft in the "E" Section of the 98th's formation, took a direct hit in the nose section by flak over the target and burst into flames. 

"The pilot pulled out of formation and ordered a bail out. It is believed they were still too low for the chutes to open and only the pilot, Wallace Taylor, one of the four who got out, survived. 

"This was the crew’s fate: 
  • Capt. Wallace C. Taylor, Pilot (POW), 
  • F/O Paul W. Packer, CoPilot (KIA), 
  • 1st Lt. Jack K. Wood, Navigator (KIA), 
  • 1st Lt. Robert N. Austin, Bombardier (KIA), 
  • T/Sgt. Gerald E. Rabb, Engineer/Top Turret Gunner (KIA), 
  • T/Sgt. Alfred F. Turgeon, Radio Operator/Left Waist Gunner (KIA), 
  • S/Sgt. Ralph M. Robbins, Gunner/Asst. Eng. (KIA), 
  • S/Sgt. Louis Kaiser, Right Waist Gunner (KIA), 
  • S/Sgt. Donald H. Duchene, Tail Gunner (KIA), Sgt. Arthur B. Van Kleek, Tunnel Gunner (KIA). Aug 1, 1943.”
“B-24D Liberator bomber, flown by Capt. Wallace C. Taylor, in the 9th Air Force, the 98th Bomb Group, "The Pyramiders", and the 344th Bomb Squadron flown out of the USAAF Air Base at Benghazi, Libya. 

"Lt. Taylor and 'THE VULGAR VIRGIN' flew on Operation Tidal Wave, the large mission to destroy the German oil refineries at Ploesti, Romania on August 1, 1943. Their target was code named, "White IV", the Astra Romana refinery. 

"As the two groups, the 98th and the 44th Bomb Groups, being led by Col. Leon Johnson and Col. John R. Kane, approached their targets, the entire area was already on fire and compromised by the flames, smoke, and exploding delayed action bombs previously dropped by the 93rd Bomb Group ahead of the attack plan. 

"When the 98th bomb Group, led by Col. Kane, entered a wall of smoke and flames over the Astra Romana refinery complex, #41-24198, 'THE VULGAR VIRGIN', did not reappear coming out of the smoke, shot down and lost over their target.”

See previous article from Shoreline Area News


Anonymous,  July 16, 2023 at 5:21 AM  

Our Gold Star Family would like to say “Thank You” to Diane Hettrick - Editor Shoreline Area News, for publishing these articles and releases on our Hero, “Uncle Freddy”…!

Anonymous,  July 17, 2023 at 7:20 PM  

Photos from 2 years ago. He is not forgotten here.

Post a Comment

We encourage the thoughtful sharing of information and ideas. We expect comments to be civil and respectful, with no personal attacks or offensive language. We reserve the right to delete any comment.
Facebook: Shoreline Area News
Twitter: @ShorelineArea
Daily Email edition (don't forget to respond to the email)

  © Blogger template The Professional Template II by 2009

Back to TOP