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  F-4-1-LO "Hellapoppin Hepcat" Serial Number 41-2137 Tail 37
USAAF
5th AF
6th PRG
8th PRS

PacificWrecks.com
8th PRS c1943
Pilot  1st Lt. Kenneth J. Murphy, O-660663 (MIA / KIA) Rensselaer, NY
MIA  June 26, 1943
MACR  16410

Aircraft History
Built by Lockheed Aircraft Corporation (LAC) in Burbank. Constructors Number 222-5316. Delivered to the U. S. Army as a P-38E Lightning and converted into a F-4 photographic reconnaissance version. Disassembled and shipped overseas to Australia. Reassembled by Commonwealth Aircraft Corporation (CAC) in Melbourne on September 2, 1942.

Wartime History
Assigned to the 5th Air Force (5th AF), 6th Photographic Reconnaissance Group (PRG), 8th Photographic Reconnaissance Squadron (8th PRS) "Eight Ballers". Nicknamed "Hellapoppin Hepcat". Possibly, this aircraft was converted to a two seat version.

Mission History
On June 26, 1943 at 6:00am took off from 14 Mile Drome (Schwimmer) near Port Moresby piloted by 1st Lt. Kenneth J. Murphy on a reconnaissance mission over Rabaul. When this aircraft failed to return, it was officially listed as Missing In Action (MIA).

Memorials
Murphy was officially declared dead on December 18, 1945. He is memorialized at Manila American Cemetery on the tablets of the missing. He earned the Distinguished Flying Cross (DFC), Air Medal and Purple Heart, posthumously.

References
NARA World War II Army Enlistment Records - Kenneth J. Murphy
USAF Serial Number Search Results - F-4-1-LO Lightning 41-2137
"2137 (6th PRG, 8th PRS, "Hellapoppin Hepcat") MIA Jun 26, 1943 on mission to Rabaul, New Britain. Pilot KIA. MACR 16410"
Missing Air Crew Report 16410 (MACR 16410) was created retroactively circa 1945 or 1946
Albany Times-Union "11 Area Youths Sign Up Today For Air Corps" October 31, 1941 page 3
"Others who will be enlisted today are Kenneth J. Murphy of 1401 Second Street, Rensselaer."
The Knickerbocker News "Aviation Cadets" October 31, 1941 (photo)
"Aviation Cadets who left Albany today to join a new pilot training class at Sikeston, Missouri, are: left to right front row John Mancini, Ballston Lake.... Standing left to right... Kenneth J. Murphy, Rensselaer."
Albany Times-Union "Are Awarded 'Wings' " May 17, 1942
"Eight Albany area men are among the 78 throughout the state who are being graduated with "wings" from the Gulf Coast Air Corps training Center, Randolph Field, Texas and affiliated air fields of the government... Rensselaer; Lieut. Kenneth J. Murphy, 1401 Second Street, Rensselaer."
Times Union "DFC Awarded To Lt. Murphy Of Rensselaer" October 2, 1943 page 1
"Heroism in Flights Over Jap Bases Cited by Chief: Lt. Kenneth J. Murphy, of 1401 Second Street, Rensselaer, Army Air Force pilot, has been awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross for heroism in aerial action over Jap held bases in the Southwest Pacific... The flights, Lt. Gen. George C. Kenney commander of Allied Air Forces in the Southwest Pacific area said, "entailed hazardous trips, frequently through adverse weather. During this period there was a shortage of fliers and Lt. Murphy, realizing the necessity for photographs of these areas and knowing the dangerous nature of the missions, willingly consented to make the flights. His courage, ability and unselfish devotion to duty are worthy of the highest commendation."
Lt. Murphy, 24, is the son of Mr. and Mrs. John C. Murphy. He graduated from Van Nesselaer High School and enlisted in the Army Air Force while attending Duke University. He held held vacation positions prior to enlistment, with the APW company and New York State."
Troy Record "Three Area Servicemen Missing" July 15, 1943
"The Rensselaer man is First Lieut. Kenneth J. Murphy whose mother Mrs. John C. Murphy lives at 1401 Second Street, Rensselaer."
The Times Record "War Department Lists Area Men Missing In Action" July 15, 1943 page 9
"The Rensselaer man is First Lieut. Kenneth J. Murphy whose mother Mrs. John C. Murphy lives at 1401 Second Street, Rensselaer."
The Eight Ballers - Eyes of the Fifth Air Force (1999) by Stanaway and Rocker page 50 (photo)
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - Kenneth J. Murphy
FindAGrave - 1Lt Kenneth J Murphy (tablets of the missing)
Thanks to Edward Rogers and Michael McAlonie for additional research

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Last Updated
June 29, 2019

 

Tech Info
F-4

MIA
MIA
1 Missing
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