Nicholas P. Kilargis

Recent Address: 2604 Oriole Rd., Broomall, PA 19008
E-mail Address:
Family Info: Parents: Peter and Gleceria; Siblings: George, Michael
Hometown: Philadelphia, PA
Date Entered Service: October, 1942
Service Number: 13124487
Bomb Group: 462nd
Squadron: 768th
Location of Unit: Piardoba, India 11/44
Missions Flown: 28
Hump Missions:
Targets: Tokyo, Kure, Yokohama, Osaka, Nagoya, Hamamatsu, Amagasaki, Toyohashi, among others
Awards: Air Medal with 4 Bronze Clusters, Distinguished Flying Cross, China Service Medal, Presidential Unit Citation (2), American Campaign Medal, Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal with 8 Stars, WWII Victory Medal
Service Schools: S.E. Command ; Aviation Training, Moody Field, Valdosta, GA
MOS: MOS 1091-Pilot B-17, MOS 1093-Pilot B-29 VHB
Rank Upon Discharge: 1st Lieutenant
Crew Type: Flight crew
Airplane Serial No.& Name: 42-63457 Old Acquaintance, 42-24919 The Uninvited (?), 42-6346 Man-O-War
Where You a POW?:
POW Location:
Where You a Interned?:
Internment Location:
Date Transferred from the 58th:
Date Discharged:
Post WWII Service:
Post WWII Civilian Occupation(s): Chemical Technician - Gas Chromatographer -- aspect of Analytical Chemistry
Thoughts About the 58th:
First of all, I want to commend the Air Force for the excellent pilot training I received from basic training, college training detachment through primary, basic and twin engine advance schools.
Serving as a pilot in the 58th Bomb Group was one of the highlights of my life. The devotion to duty from all of the personnel that it takes to run a Bomber Command was beyond reproach. Special kudos go to the ground crews which kept the planes flying and the men who armed the guns and loaded the bombs. This was especially true during the Blitzkrieg when missions were flown over Japan night after night. As for the flying crews the sense of purpose for proceeding to and hitting the target was never questioned. “Hit the target” was indeed the battle cry. A sense of camaraderie was pervasive throughout the squadrons and groups. The High Command treated everyone rather fairly.
My tour of duty serving with the 58th has also made me realize the futility of war. Far too many good, young patriotic men lost their lives fighting for their country. The Japs and Germans left us with no alternative. The destruction of property and the number of civilians killed was indeed saddened me. But I have been left with one convincing impression: there is no greater form of government than a Democracy.
I was assigned to fly as a co-pilot to a pilot who was taking a crew on a mission for his first time. The take-off was normal and we tried to climb. However, we were gradually losing air speed after leaving the runway. We dipped down to the ocean. At wave top level we went to turbo 10 supercharger setting (turbo 8 was normal for take-off). We held this emergency setting for quite a few minutes before the plane started to climb. The gunners said that we were so low that the propellers were blowing back salt spray from the ocean waves. We continued on our mission. When we returned the Chaplain told me that he had given us the Last Rites because we disappeared from view and he did not see us come up. I have not cashed in on those Last Rites and I hope I don't so for quite awhile.
As recorded in an account printed in the PHILADELPHIA EVENING BULLETIN Lt. Nicholas Kilargis and his crew had a few bad moments when a fire bomb became stuck in the bomb bay during today's greatest Superfortress raid on the Japanese homeland. The bomb stuck when Bombardier Lt. Theodore Peck of Milwaukee operated the release. “We didn't know whether the arming device was spinning and if it was the bomb would explode in a few seconds.” Kilargis pilot of the big ship said.
Under the direction of Peck and Lt. Howard Causby of Corpus Christi, Texas, Gunner Sgt. William Mobley of Knoxville, KY went into the bomb bay and held the arming device until they could pull the bomb away from the holder manually. End of article.
It is my opinion that Sgt. Mobley should have received the Distinguished Flying Cross for this act of heroism. He entered the bomb bay through the porthole with the bomb bay doors open, at night, with the ship at 10,000 ft. altitude and flying at 210 mph and I believe without a parachute to lift that bomb from the rack.
Mr. Kilargis passed away December 13, 2008.

58th Bomb Wing Veterans Index
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