John Teune, second from right.
May 5, 1944
Early in the morning about 5 a.m. we went to "briefing." We were told the target was the Romanian oil complex at Ploesti. It was our first trip to Ploesti, our 13th bombing mission. Col. Steed was in the lead ship. Our position was "Easy 7"; "Easy 5" dropped out and we fell in and nothing out of the ordinary occurred. Beck was at the controls. We came into the target area and received a hot reception of flak. One half-minute later we must have received a direct hit . . . terrific noise and vibration and we had no control of the plane. I found out later the plane broke in two. I flipped open the safety belt latch and tried to get out of the seat. The plane was going almost straight down as I leaned back, reaching to grab the armor plate behind the pilot's seat attempting to reach the opened bomb bay doors. All this occurred in two or three seconds, then it felt that we were crashing, like we were hitting the ground. I lost consciousness.