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  F-4-1-LO Lightning Serial Number 41-2126  
USAAF
5th AF
6th PRG
8th PRS

Pilot  Captain Louis J. Connelly, Jr., O-890002 (MIA / KIA) TX
MIA  May 4, 1942
MACR  none

Pilot History
Louis J. Connelly, Jr. was born 7 Jan 1911. Prewar, he was employed by Philippine Air Lines (PAL) as a pilot in the Philippines and flew with "Pappy" Gun.

Aircraft History
Built by Lockheed Aircraft Corporation (LAC) in Burbank. Constructors Number 222-5340. Converted from a E model into a F-4 photographic reconnaissance version. Delivered to the U. S. Army. Disassembled and shipped overseas to Australia and reassembled.

Wartime History
Assigned to the 5th Air Force (5th AF), 6th Photographic Reconnaissance Group (6th PRG), 8th Photographic Reconnaissance Squadron (8th PRS). No known nickname or nose art. On May 2, 1942 this aircraft and pilot were scheduled to fly but the mission was cancelled and rescheduled for two days later.

Mission History
On May 4, 1942 took off Garbutt Field near Townsville piloted by Captain Louis J. Connelly, Jr. on a flight northward to 14 Mile Drome (Schwimmer) near Port Moresby. After landing and refueling, this F-4 took off again on a photographic reconnaissance mission over Rabaul. When this Lightning failed to return it was officially listed as Missing In Action (MIA). Presumed lost over Lae. Officially, this aircraft was condemned on October 31, 1944.

Ralph K. Watts diary via F-4 Lost on a photo reconnaissance raid to Rabaul on May 4, 1942:
"Tuesday May 5, 1942 - Well I got my plane out of the tullies today. It is a wash-out from the cockpit to the front end. We hope to get the materials and get her flying eventually. Well yesterday was bad day. Capt. Conolly is 24 hour overdue. He was sent to Rabaul and never returned. There are three possibilities. (1) The Japs got him. (2) He made a forced landing on land or sea. (3) He bailed out and landed on land or sea. We are hoping for the best but it looks doubtful. He may be our first combat death."

On this day, there was bad weather reported over Lae. Enemy action from Lae does not list a claim or sighting for a Lightning over Lae.

Memorials
Connelly was officially declared dead the day of the mission. He earned the Silver Star and Purple Heart, posthumously. Connelly is memorialized at Manila American Cemetery on the tablets of the missing. He also has a memorial marker at Portlock Cemetery in Portsmouth, VA at plot 1, 49.

References
Other sources incorrectly list the pilot's surname as "Connely" [sic Connelly]
They Fought with What They Had page 143
PNG Museum Aircraft Status Card - F-4 Lightning 41-2126
American Battle Monument Commission (ABMC) - Louis J. Connelly Jr.
FindAGrave - Capt Louis J Connelly, Jr (memorial marker photo)
F-4 Lost on a photo reconnaissance raid to Rabaul on May 4 1942
Thanks to Edward Rogers and Michael Claringbould for additional information

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Last Updated
January 30, 2020

 

Tech Info
F-4

MIA
MIA
1 Missing
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