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  F4U-1 Corsair Bureau Number 02577  

Pilot  1st Lt Charles Cobb Lanphier (MIA / POW died May 15, 1944, BR) Omaha, NB
Crashed  August 28, 1943

Pilot History
Charles C. Lanphier was born in Omaha, Nebraska then moved to Detroit Michigan. Son of World War I veteran Lt. Col. Thomas G. Lanphier and brother of Thomas G. Lanphier, Jr. who flew the April 18, 1943 "Yamamoto mission" and claimed sole credit for shooting down G4M1 Betty 2656 with Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto. On the evening of April 18, 1943, brother Thomas G. Lanphier, Jr. visited his brother in the camp area for VMF-214 at Fighter 1 on Guadalcanal and told him and other pilots about the Yamamoto mission, making them aware of the secret mission.

On August 4, 1943, VMF-214 F4U Corsairs led by Burnett and Synar participated in a multi-service mission fighter sweep over the Central Solomons. During the air combat, Charles Lanphier claimed one victory. A confused air combat marked by mistaken identity of RNZAF P-40s for Ki-61 Tonys pilots from VMF-214 claimed three kills including one claimed by Charlie Lanphier.

Aircraft History
Built by Vought. Delivered to the U. S. Navy (USN) as F4U-1 Corsair bureau number 02577. Assigned to the United States Marine Corps (USMC), Marine Fighting Squadron 214 "Swashbucklers" VMF-214 operating Fighter 1 Airfield on Guadalcanal. No known nickname or nose art.

Mission History
On August 28, 1943 took off from Fighter 1 Airfield on Guadalcanal piloted by 1st Lt Charles C. Lanphier on a strafing mission against Kahili Airfield (Buin) on southern Bougainville. En route to the target, the formation experienced bad weather and the formation became separated and this Corsair was never seen again. When this aircraft failed to return, it was declared Missing In Action (MIA).

Only one aircraft, F4U piloted by Lt. Alvin J. Jensen managed to reach the target and strafed parked aircraft claiming 24 burned. Japanese records indicate only five were burned on this day.

Fate of the Pilot
In fact, Lanphier bailed out over southern Bougainville and landed unhurt. Later, he was captured by the Japanese and became a Prisoner Of War (POW). By early September 1943, he was transported to Rabaul and imprisoned in the Rabaul POW Camp guarded by the 6th Kempeitai (6th Kempei-Tai). Later, he and the other prisoners were moved to Tunnel Hill POW Camp. On May 15, 1944 he died in captivity of disease including dysentery, starvation, beri-beri and neglect and was buried.

Recovery of Remains
Postwar, Lanphier's remains were exhumed and transported to the United States for permanent burial.

Lanphier was officially declared dead on May 15, 1944. He was permanently buried at Arlington National Cemetery at section 11 at site 789.

Navy Serial Number Search Results - F4U-1 Corsair 02577
"02577 (VMF-214) lost Aug 28, 1943. Pilot POW, died in captivity."
USN Overseas Aircraft Loss List August 1943
Testimony of Jose Holguin
"First Lieutenant Charles Cobb LANPHIER U. S. Marine Corps, Detroit. died 15 May 1944, from dysentery, starvation and beri-beri."
Omaha World Herald "Charles Lanphier Missing In Action"
Dallas News "Marine Pilot's Reburial Held" April 6, 1949
FindAGrave - Charles C Lanphier (grave photo, news articles) grave hometown is Michigan and rank as Captain
New York Times "Thomas G. Lanphier Jr., 71, Dies; U.S. Ace Shot Down Yamamoto" November 28, 1987
Warbird Forum - The prisoners of Rabaul
Target Rabaul (2013) page 125

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Last Updated
May 7, 2020

Tech Info

1 Prisoner
Died in Captivity
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