|Pilot Captain Lawrence M. Faulkner, O-007129 (MIA / KIA) MO
Crashed December 19, 1943
Lawrence Faulkner previously was a flight officer with VMF-221, flying from Guadalcanal.
Built by Vought. Assigned to the USMC to VMF-216 with fuselage number 81.
On December 19, 1943 took off from Torokina Airfield on Bougainville piloted by Captain Lawrence M. Faulkner as part of a three plane formation from VMF-216 flying cover on a mission over Rabaul. Over the target, this Corsair went to assist some P-40s and B-24s being attacked by Zeros. When this Corsair failed to return it was officially listed as Missing In Action (MIA). Also lost was F4U Corsari 17845 (MIA).
Some reports of short wave radio communications from Faulkner were loged a few weeks after he went missing and have never been validated.
Robert Marshall adds:
"More than likely, they attempted water landings (if they had a choice) and hope for Dumbo rescue rather than ground landing and risk enemy capture. I've got RNZAF reports, AAF reports, VMF 223 reports, but no one seems to have seen them go down, probably near Credner Island and probably into the water. One thing I don't have is any documentation of VF-33, supposedly flying F6Fs out of Ondonga. RNZAF reports them there and even some dog fighting Hellcats and Zekes, but no records have surfaced. Navy doesn't have their war diary, Nat. Archives doesn't have anything, almost as though the squadron didn't leave any records."
Faulkner was officially declared dead on January 11, 1946. He is memorialized on the tablets of the missing at Manila American Cemetery.
Thanks VMF-216 via Robert Marshall for additional information
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August 10, 2019