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  P-38F-5-LO Lightning Serial Number 42-12637  
USAAF
5th AF
8th FG
80th FS
"Headhunters"

Pilot  F/O Edwin L. DeGraffenreid, T-1041 (survived) Shreveport, LA
Ditched  August 21, 1943
MACR  none

Aircraft History
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.

Wartime History
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.

Mission History
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.

Memorials
Degraffenreid passed away on January 22, 1978. He is buried at Sunset Park Cemetery in Lakeview, OR at lot 91, block 205.

References
USAF Serial Number Search Results - P-38F-5-LO Lightning 42-12637
PNG Museum Aircraft Status Card - P-38F Lightning 41-12637
Historical Study No. 85 USAF Credits For The Destruction of Enemy Aircraft, World War II Alphabetical: DeGraffenreid, Edwin L. page 52 (PDF page 57), Alphabetical by theater of operation (SWP): O'Neill John G.: 03/04/43 page 344 (PDF page 350),
FindAGrave - Lieut Edwin Lafayette Degraffenreid (photo, grave photo)
80th Fighter Group Headhunters - World War II Memoir by Paul Murphey
"Twelve of us were picked to be the first of 43-D to go overseas. Edwin L. DeGraffenreid, Richard E. Dotson, Robert E. Feehan, Stanley Johnson, Paul C. Murphey, John C. McClean, Jennngs L. Myers, Louis Schriber, James R. Farris, Robert W. Wood, William F. Williams and Murtha J. McCarthey [sic McCarthy]... All this early action came at Bogadjim, Madang, and Lae. We lost our second man (Feeham) at the same place two weeks later. Losing these two men so quick sure focused your attention on what you were doing."
MacArthur's Eagles: The U.S. Air War Over New Guinea, 1943-1944 (2005) pages 84, 86, 341
Thanks to Richard Dunn for additional information

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Last Updated
January 30, 2020

 

Tech Info
P-38
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