Jerry C. Debes and crew of the Agony Wagon

B-24 Liberator, Airforce, Bombardment
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Woodson Research Center, Fondren Library, Rice University
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In 1944, Beaumont native Lt. Jerry C. Debes was transferred to the RAF base in Halesworth, England as part of the 846th Squadron of the 489th Bombardment Group of the Eighth Air Force (8AF). Debes and his crew christened their B-24 Liberator plane as the “Agony Wagon”. Although notorious for catching on fire because of the fuel tank placement, the B-24 Liberator eventually became the most produced American military aircraft in history. The crew of the “Agony Wagon” entered combat on May 30, 1944 at the very end of the Allied Forces’ “softening up” process of Nazi-occupied France prior to the D-Day invasion. This image shows the crew of the Agony Wagon, several weeks before their last mission.