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First Name: Lloyd

Last Name: Hughes

Birthplace: Alexandria, LA, USA

Gender: Male

Branch: U.S. Army Air Forces (1941 - 1947)

Home of Record: San Antonio, TX
Middle Name: Herbert

Date of Birth: 12 July 1921

Date of Death: 01 August 1943

Rank: Second Lieutenant

Years Served: 1942-1943
Lloyd Herbert Hughes

•  World War II (1941 - 1945)


Lloyd Herbert 'Pete' Hughes
Second Lieutenant, U.S. Army Air Forces
Medal of Honor Recipient
World War II

Second Lieutenant Lloyd Herbert 'Pete' Hughes, Jr. (12 July 1921 - 1 August 1943) was a U.S. Army Air Forces officer who was posthumously awarded the U.S. military's highest award for valor, the Medal of Honor, for his actions in Operation Tidal Wave during World War II.

Lloyd Herbert Hughes, Jr. was born on 12 July 1921 in Alexandria, LA, the only son of Lloyd Herbert Hughes, Sr., and Mildred Mae "Rainey" Hughes. Family and friends called him Pete. One source described his parents as Welsh immigrants, but Mildred was born in Josserand, Trinity County, TX. The family lived in Alexandria only briefly before moving to his mother's native state of TX.

He graduated from Refugio High School, Refugio, TX, in 1939 and went on to attend Corpus Christi Junior College in Corpus Christi and Texas A&M University at College Station. He studied petroleum engineering at Texas A&M and was a member of the class of 1943, but left school before graduating. A few weeks after the attack on Pearl Harbor he joined the military. He entered the military service at San Antonio on 28 January 1942, and was appointed an aviation cadet the same day.

On 8 November 1942, Hughes married Hazel Dean Ewing.

Military Service

After attending flight school in Tulsa and Enid, OK, Hughes received his pilot's wings at Lubbock, TX, on 10 November 1942. He was assigned to the 389th Bombardment Group (Heavy), went to Africa in June 1943, and participated in five combat missions in the Italy-Romania area.

During Operation Tidal Wave, the most highly awarded military mission in U.S. history, 179 B-24 bombers took off on an 18-hour, 2,400 mile round trip mission to destroy the largest of the Nazi-held oil refineries at Ploieşti, 30 miles north of Bucharest, Romania. This day, 1 August 1943, would end with five U.S. Air Force airmen, including 2nd Lt. Lloyd Herbert Hughes, earning the Medal of Honor for bravery; three, including Hughes, posthumously. Fifty-four aircraft never returned.

During the 1 August 1943 bombing mission over the Câmpina oil fields north of the Ploieşti oil fields in Romania, Hughes was the pilot of a B-24 heavy bombardment aircraft flying in the last element of a formation. He arrived in the target area when the enemy defenses were thoroughly alerted by previous aircraft. He approached the target at dangerously low altitude as was planned, through intense and accurate anti-aircraft fire and densely arranged barrage balloons. Several hits from both large and small caliber anti-aircraft guns seriously damaged his aircraft and caused gasoline to leak from the bomb bay and left wing. The leak was so heavy that it blinded his waist gunner's view. The damage was inflicted prior to reaching the target, when Hughes could have made a forced landing in one of the surrounding grain fields. The target area was blazing with burning oil tanks and refinery equipment, with flames leaping high above the bombing level of the formation. Knowing the consequences of entering the inferno with his airplane leaking gasoline in two places, Hughes elected to carry on, rather than jeopardize the formation and the success of the attack. He flew into the wall of fire at about 30 feet above the ground and dropped his bomb load with precision.

After successfully bombing the target, he emerged from the conflagration with the left wing of his aircraft on fire. He attempted to pull up and away from the action, trying to save his plane and crew. He successfully slowed the plane's speed from 225 to 100 miles an hour. It looked as if he would be able to crash land in the dry river bed of the Prahova River, when suddenly the left wing flew off and the plane cartwheeled into the ground. Of the ten men aboard the B-24, Hughes and five others were killed, two died of their wounds within days and two survived the crash only to become Prisoners of War. For his heroic actions, Hughes was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor.

Medal of Honor

Rank and organization: Second Lieutenant, U.S. Army Air Corps, 564th Bomber Squadron, 389th Bomber Group, 9th Air Force.

Place and date: Ploesti Raid, Rumania, 1 August 1943.

Citation: For conspicuous gallantry in action and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty. On 1 August 1943, 2d Lt. Hughes served in the capacity of pilot of a heavy bombardment aircraft participating in a long and hazardous minimum-altitude attack against the Axis oil refineries of Ploesti, Rumania, launched from the northern shores of Africa. Flying in the last formation to attack the target, he arrived in the target area after previous flights had thoroughly alerted the enemy defenses. Approaching the target through intense and accurate antiaircraft fire and dense balloon barrages at dangerously low altitude, his plane received several direct hits from both large and small caliber antiaircraft guns which seriously damaged his aircraft, causing sheets of escaping gasoline to stream from the bomb bay and from the left wing. This damage was inflicted at a time prior to reaching the target when 2d Lt. Hughes could have made a forced landing in any of the grain fields readily available at that time. The target area was blazing with burning oil tanks and damaged refinery installations from which flames leaped high above the bombing level of the formation. With full knowledge of the consequences of entering this blazing inferno when his airplane was profusely leaking gasoline in two separate locations, 2d Lt. Hughes, motivated only by his high conception of duty which called for the destruction of his assigned target at any cost, did not elect to make a forced landing or turn back from the attack. Instead, rather than jeopardize the formation and the success of the attack, he unhesitatingly entered the blazing area and dropped his bomb load with great precision. After successfully bombing the objective, his aircraft emerged from the conflagration with the left wing aflame. Only then did he attempt a forced landing, but because of the advanced stage of the fire enveloping his aircraft the plane crashed and was consumed. By 2d Lt. Hughes' heroic decision to complete his mission regardless of the consequences in utter disregard of his own life, and by his gallant and valorous execution of this decision, he has rendered a service to our country in the defeat of our enemies which will everlastingly be outstanding in the annals of our Nation's history.

Awards, Medals and Badge

Medal of Honor
Purple Heart
Good Conduct Medal
American Campaign Medal
European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal with 3 Bronze Service Stars
World War II Victory Medal
Distinguished Unit Citation
Meritorious Unit Commendation

Army Aviator Badge


On 1 March 1969, Texas A&M University in College Station, Brazos County, TX renamed a dormitory "Lloyd H. Hughes Hall" in honor of Hughes.

On 13 November 2010, Hughes was inducted into the Louisiana Military Hall of Fame in Abbeville, Vermilion Parish, LA.

On 21 September 2012, Hughes was honored as a 2012 Distinguished Alumnus by the Association of Former Students of Texas A&M in College Station, Brazos County, TX.

On 17 November 2012, Hughes was inducted into the Corps Hall of Honor by the Texas Aggie Corps of Cadets at Texas A&M University in College Station, Brazos County, TX.

Death and Burial

On 12 April 1950, Hughes' remains were reburied in Fort Sam Houston National Cemetery in San Antonio, Bexar County, TX, in Section U, Site 53.

Additional Details on Honoree

For more in-depth information, sources, and images regarding 2LT Hughes, please visit the family website at http://www.rajordan.com/pete/.

Origin of Nickname/Handle:
Family and friends called him Pete.

Honoree ID: 1449   Created by: MHOH




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