An appreciative audience of nearly 70 turned out on Saturday, April 14 to hear the stories about two local men who were air crew members in an historic air raid on a Nazi petroleum plant during World War II and watch a film about the famous mission.
Hundreds of U.S. B-24 Liberator bombers took off from bases in Libya for “Operation Tidal Wave” which began on August 1, 1943. The mission was to bomb nine oil refineries operating near Ploesti, Romania. The purpose was to disrupt the flow of oil and fuel to the Third Reich for its war effort. More than 50 aircraft and 660 air crew were lost – the worst loss ever suffered by the Army Air Force in Europe and the mission ultimately failed in its objective.
Area World War II veteran and former Prisoner of War Seymour “Sonny” Segan was a bombardier aboard one of the B-24’s that was shot down and led a discussion following the screening of “Raid on Ploesti.” He was joined by Warren Dart, the son of the late Clarence Dart who was a member of the famous Tuskegee Airmen, and flew escort missions to protect allied bombers on the Ploesti mission. Clarence Dart died earlier this year. The Tuskegee Airmen are well known for their combat record and having never lost a bomber during a mission.
The program was moderated by author and Saratogian reporter Paul Post. “I thought this was one of the most well-received programs we have had there so far,” said Post. The free public program was conceived by Korean War veterans and “Friends” board of Trustee member Eugene Corsale. “A lot of respect was shown to Warren for the memory of his late father who really knows a lot about what his father did,” he said.