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|Pilot F/O Edwin L. DeGraffenreid, T-1041 (survived) Shreveport, LA
Ditched August 21, 1943
Built by Lockheed Aircraft Corporation (LAC) in Burbank. Constructors Number 222-7071. Delivered to the U. S. Army Air Force (USAAF) as P-38F-5-LO Lightning serial number 42-12637. Disassembled and shipped overseas and reassembled.
Assigned to the 5th Air Force (5th AF), 8th Fighter Group (8th FG), 80th Fighter Squadron (80th FS) "Headhunters". No known nickname or nose art.
On August 21, 1943 around 10:00am took off from 3-Mile Drome near Port Moresby piloted by F/O Edwin L. DeGraffenreid as one of sixteen P-38s providing close escort for B-25 Mitchells on a strike mission against Dagua and But near Wewak. This was DeGraffenreid's first first combat mission.
Inbound, P-38 pilot Norbert "Norb" Ruff experienced an oil pressure failure and aborted the mission. During the flight, there was an overcast over the mountains and scattered clouds over the Wewak area.
Roughly fifteen miles south of Dagua, the formation was intercepted by approximately 20-40 Ki-43 Oscars and a dog fight began with U. S. aircraft claiming eleven enemy fighters shot down. Lost over the target were P-38 pilot by Feehan (MIA), P-38 pilot by Guttel (MIA) and P-38 pilot by Krisher (MIA).
DeGraffenreid claimed three enemy aircraft shot down, but was badly was hit by enemy gunfire and badly damaged. Returning, he managed to return to Port Moresby but ditched into Joyce Bay near Manubada Island (Local Island) off Port Moresby. DeGraffenreid survived the ditching unhurt
Fate of the Pilot
DeGraffenreid was immediately rescued and returned to his squadron.
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