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  P-38J-15-LO "Marge" Serial Number 42-103993  
5th AF
421st NFS

Former Assignments
49th FG
9th FS

Click For Enlargement
5th AF April 3, 1944

Click For Enlargement
5th AF c1944
Pilot  Tom Malone (survived)
Crashed  March 22, 1944
MACR  none

Aircraft History
Built by Lockheed Aircraft Corporation (LAC) in Burbank. Constructors Number 2820. At the factory, this P-38 was completed with an unpainted aluminum finish. Delivered to the U. S. Army Air Force (USAAF) as P-38J-15-LO Lightning serial number 42-103993. Assigned project number 96397-H. Disassembled and shipped overseas to the South West Pacific Area (SWPA) and reassembled.

Wartime History
Assigned to the 5th Air Force (5th AF), 49th Fighter Group (49th FG), 9th Fighter Squadron (9th FS). Assigned to pilot Captain Richard I. Bong who nicknamed it "Marge" after his wife. On the left side of the nose painted on left nose gun cover was nickname "Marge" with a white outline and nose art of his wife's portrait painted realistically from a photograph. Below forward cockpit canopy was rectangle with "Cap. R. I. Bong. Pilot T/Sgt C. Fincner S/Sgt H. Lander plus Bong's scoreboard with Japanese rising sun flags in five rows representing his 25 aerial victory claims (as of April 3, 1944).

Below was the serial number stencil block and project number.

During early 1944, this P-38 was flown by Bong from Gusap Airfield on combat missions over New Guinea. Flying this aircraft he claimed several aerial victories.

On April 3, 1944 took off from Gusap Airfield piloted by Bong on a mission to escort bombers over Hollandia and claimed his 25th aerial victory. After landing, this P-38 was photographed with Bong watching his crew chief painted a Japanese rising sun flag representing his 25th victory claim.

Later, this aircraft was assigned to the 421st Night Fighter Squadron (421st NFS).

Mission History
On March 22, 1944 took off piloted by Tom Malone, a P-61 Blackwidow pilot from the 421st Night Fighter Squadron (421st NFS). While over Yalau / Bau Plantation south of Madang, Malone bailed out and landed unhurt and this P-38 crashed at Yalau / Bau Plantation. Later, he returned to duty.

The wreckage of this aircraft remains at Yalau on Bau Plantation.

USAF Serial Number Search Results P-38J Lightning 42-103993 incorrectly listed as part of the collection of the American Wings Air Museum, MN
Forty of the Fifth
(1999) by Michael Claringbould

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Last Updated
February 18, 2020


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