|Pilot 2nd Lt. Charles E. Erb, O-737753 (MIA / KIA) WI
MIA December 30, 1943
Built by Lockheed Aircraft Corporation (LAC) in Burbank, California. Converted
from a P-38E model into a F-4-1-LO
photographic reconnaissance version. Delivered to the U. S. Army Air Force (USAAF) as F-4-1-LO Lightning serial number 41-2209. Disassembled and shipped overseas to Australia and reassembled.
Assigned to the 5th Air Force (5th AF), 6th Photographic Reconnaissance Group (PRG), 8th Photographic Reconnaissance Squadron (PRS). Nicknamed "Alice the Goon". Operated from 14 Mile Drome near Port Moresby.
On December 30, 1943 took off from 14 Mile Drome near Port Moresby piloted by 2nd Lt. Charles E. Erb on a mission over the Coral Sea. Last seen near Cape Ward Hunt heading towards Dobodura. Afterwards, this aircraft was officially condemned on February 8, 1944.
Erb was officially declared dead on December 31, 1944. He earned the Purple Heart, posthumously. He is memorialized on the tablets of the missing at Manila American Cemetery. Erb also has a memorial marker at Mound Cemetery in Racine, WI at plot 9.
USAF Serial Number Search Results - F-4-1-LO Lightning 41-2209
"2209 (6th PRG, 8th PRS, "Alice the Goon") lost over Coral Sea Dec 30, 1943. MACR 1689. Pilot KIA. Salvaged Feb 8,1944"
Missing Air Crew Report 1689 (MACR 1689)
PNG Museum Aircraft Status Card - F-4-1 Lightning 41-2209
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - Charles E. Erb
FindAGrave - 2Lt Charles E Erb (tablets of the missing)
FindAGrave - 2LT Charles E. Erb (memorial marker photo)
The Eight Ballers - Eyes of the Fifth Air Force (1999) by Stanaway and Rocker page 26 (lower photos)
In Defense of Freedom (2015) by Wolfgang W.E. Samuel chapter Byron A. Dobbs Jr. diary
"31 December 1943 – We lost another pilot. The last seen of Lieutenant Erb - yesterday mornong - his plane was on fire and he was turning back but didn't make it."
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October 27, 2019