Called to Make the Ultimate Sacrifice
Weekley was stationed at the Triple E military base in Benghazi, Libya, when he was called to serve in Operation Tidal Wave—the largest air raid in World War Two. On Sunday, August 1, 1943, during the dark early morning hours, Weekley was led to his airplane, a B-24 Liberator named the Lady Jayne, along with nine other elite aviators from the 329th Bombardment Squadron (Heavy), 93rd Bombardment Group (Heavy), 9th Air Force. The mission was to destroy the oil refineries in Ploesti, Romania, which were crucial to the Axis war effort and produced as much as one third of Germany’s liquid fuel requirements. Ploesti was one of the most heavily fortified targets in Europe, and it was beyond the range of Allied bombers from England. However, it would be accessible by bombers stationed in the Middle East or North Africa—including Weekley’s squadron.
“They were told at their briefing, ‘Go back to your barracks, pack all your belongings in your B-4 bag along with your letter home’,” Marva’s daughter Cathy Albritton recounts, reading from a book on the subject. “I’m sure they didn’t sleep a wink that night.”
Weekley had just turned 21 a few weeks before he was called on that mission. Albritton read a quote from Weekley’s letter home: “Mother, when you read in the paper about what the liberators are doing in the Middle East, I want you to know that I am right in here.” The letter was dated July 30th, 1943. Pharis also asked how Marva and Dallas were getting along with their music. And he wanted his mother to tell his brother Tommy, who was stationed in Europe, that he had earned an Air Medal.