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  P-38J-15-LO Lightning Serial Number 42-104355  
5th AF
475th FG
431st FS

Pilot  2nd Lt. Milton A. MacDonald, O-755980 (POW, executed April 1944)
Crashed  April 16, 1944 'Black Sunday' at 3:15pm
MACR  4503

Aircraft History
Built by Lockheed Aircraft Corporation (LAC) in Burbank, California. Delivered to the U. S. Army. Disassembled and shipped overseas and reassembled.

Wartime History
Assigned to the 5th Air Force, 475th Fighter Group, 431st Fighter Squadron. No known nose art or nickname. When lost, engines V-1710-91 and V-1710-89 serial numbers A-035644 and A-037903. Weapon serial numbers noted in Missing Air Crew Report (MACR) 4503.

Mission History
On April 16, 1944 took off from Nadzab Airfield No. 3 on an escort mission over Hollandia, flying as wingman for 1st Lt Charles R. Samms. Returning, the formation experienced a severe weather front. Last in cloud layers in the vicinity of Jappa near Annanberg. When Samms realized he was not inform. he circled the area for ten minutes but failed to find him. MacDonald failed to return and was listed as Missing In Action (MIA).

The next day, the squadron searched for this aircraft but failed to find any trace of this P-38.

Fate of the Pilot
MacDonald bailed out and was captured by the Japanese Army to the west of Madang. He was taken to Kempei-Tai headquarters at Amron and became a Prisoner Of War (POW). Sometime after April 16 1944 he was executed by the Japanese and buried in a mass grave at Amron.

Postwar, the wreckage of this P-38 was found at approximately Lat 05'13" S Long 145'39"E near Efu village to the west of Madang.

Recovery of Remains
Postwar, American Graves Registration Service (AGRS) recovered remains from a mass grave at Amron. Remains designated as X-31 were later identified as MacDonald.

After the recovery of remains, MacDonald was buried in a private cemetery in the United States.

PNG Museum Aircraft Status Card - P-38J Lightning 42-104355
Black Sunday page 99

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Last Updated
May 22, 2017


Tech Info

1 Prisoner

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  Pacific Wrecks Inc. is a non-profit 501(c)(3) charity dedicated to bringing home those Missing In Action (MIA) and leveraging new technologies in the study of World War II Pacific and the Korean War.  
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