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  F4F-4 Wildcat Bureau Number 12139  

Pilot  Ens William T. Clifton USNR (MIA / KIA) Maize, KS
MIA  August 4, 1943

Aircraft History
Built by Grumman Corporation in Bethpage, New York as a model G-36 with manually operated folding wings. Delivered to the U. S. Navy (USN) as F4F-4 Wildcat bureau number 12139.

Wartime History
Assigned to USS Suwannee (CVE-27) to Fighting Squadron Twenty-Seven (VF-27). No known nickname or nose art.

Mission History
On August 4, 1943 took off from the Russell Islands piloted by Ens William T. Clifton as one of eight Wildcats on a mission to escort a PBY Catalina over Enogai on New Georgia Island. As the Catalina attempted to land, the formation was intercepted by Japanese aircraft and this Wildcat was never seen again. When it failed to return this aircraft was officially listed as Missing In Action (MIA). Also lost was F4F Wildcat 12090 piloted by Lt(jg) Irvin E. Rink (MIA).

Rink was officially declared dead on January 8, 1946. He earned the Air Medal and the Purple Heart, posthumously. He is memorialized on the tablets of the missing at Manila American Cemetery. He also has a memorial marker at Oakwood Cemetery in Louisburg, NC.

Navy Serial Number Search Results - F4F-4 Wildcat 12139
USN Overseas Aircraft Loss List August 1943 F4F-4 Wildcat 12139 VF-27 Ens William T. Clifton
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - William T. Clifton
FindAGrave - William Thomas Clifton (photos, tablets of the missing photo)
FindAGrave - William Thomas Clifton (photo, memorial marker photo)

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Last Updated
February 14, 2020


Tech Info

1 Missing
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