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Stephen Norris and Chad Norris
Washington State Discovery of P-38E Lightning Serial Number 41-2276
by Stephen Norris

We are experienced cross country hikers and climbers. I have climbed in Washington, Oregon, California, Alaska and South America and my interests are primarily mountain adventures in all seasons in alpine areas throughout Washington State. Chad also shares my interests in mountain adventures. His activities also include surfing, back country snow boarding and high lake fishing. He is currently president of the Trail Blazers'. I am also an active member in this organization. For many years we have shared trips to very secluded peaks and lakes.

I am new to downed aircraft archeology and we are very interested in solving the mystery that we have been investigating for over 5 years. The aircraft is a P-38E Lightning 41-2276 that was delivered to the U. S. Army on n September 4, 1942. It flew out of various Army air bases in California and Washington but put on most is its hours and final hours out of Elmendorf near Anchorage. The Army reported in "scrapped" on December 31, 1943. This is all that the old Army records report and obviously this is not the complete story.

My son Chad Norris and his friend Ben Lynch discovered the site in 1998 during a high country outing in the North Cascades. It is located on a steep hillside many miles from the nearest road or trail. At that time they were able to ID the engines and the guns and thus it was determined that it was likely a P-38. Chad, Clay Pierce and I revisited the site last summer and were able to get the tail number and thus confirm the plane’s identity.

The 1998 visit was cut short due to time restrictions. A couple of photographs and a couple of relics perked our interest to return. Last September we returned and were able to spend a little more time there and were able to get the tail number. Our guess is that it hit the steep hillside flying in a horizontal position and the force of the impact flipped the tail section up hill and at the same time much of the aircraft's parts broke off uphill from the impact spot. A fire occurred at the impact spot but was confined to a small area. We found 4 of the 5 guns and a great many parts that could be identified by their serial numbers. Parts of the cockpit were found but no seat, control wheel or parachute were discovered. We found no evidence of human remains but our time at the site was shortened by bad weather and thus a more exhaustive search might be in order. We photographed the site and documented the tail number. I should note that no markings are on the plane showing that it had been previously discovered. The hillside is littered in unspent 50 cal. rounds and thus no military clean-up has been done. The site has not been disturbed in 59 years!

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We are interested in solving this mystery and learning what actually happened up there nearly 60 years ago. I have been working with the Central Identification Laboratory in Hawaii and various others to collect information regarding the puzzle. Our first priority is to respect any family members who might have a lost one still up there. Also we intend to work with the military to make the site safe should future hikers come upon this historic site.

Seeking assistance: We are asking for help from anyone who has information regarding: pilot organizations, Elmendorf connections, search and rescue/newspaper articles, 11th Air Force, 54th fighter squadron, information concerning this crash.

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