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Built by Lockheed Aircraft Corporation (LAC) in Burbank. Constructors Number 222-7124. Delivered to the U. S. Army Air Force (USAAF) as P-38G-1-LO Lightning serial number 42-12690. Disassembled and shipped overseas and reassembled.
Assigned to the 13th Air Force (13th AF), 347th Fighter Group (347th FG), 339th Fighter Squadron (339th FS). No known nickname or nose art. Nose number 100.
On April 18, 1943 at 7:25am took off from Figher 2 (Kukum) on Guadalcanal piloted by 1st Lt Besby T. Holmes as element leader of the spare element of high cover on the "Yamamoto Mission". After spotting the enemy formation over southern Bougainville, Holmes was unable to release his drop tanks and P-38G piloted by Hine stayed with him, until he was able to sucessfully release his tanks and joined the combat.
Observing the second bomber G4M1 Betty Tail 326 flying low over the sea. He joined P-38G pilot Hine and and P-38G "Miss Virginia" 43-2264 Nose 147 piloted by 1st Lt. Rex T. Barber attacked and forced it to ditch in the sea off Moila Point.
Engaging escorting Zeros, Holmes claimed one shot down. Then, he departed the target area alone and low on fuel and radioed for assistance and paired up with P-38G piloted by Doug Canning. Short on fuel, he landed at the new airfield under construction in the Russell Islands, first buzzing the runway, then landing woth less than five gallons of fuel remaining. Afterwards, his P-38 was refueled using five gallon jerry cans borrowed from PT Boat crews. Later in the afternoon, he took off land returned to Figher 2 (Kukum).
Officially, the U. S. Air Force (USAF) credit Captain Thomas G. Lanphier, Jr. with 1 victory and a 1/2 victory. Rex T. Barber with 1 victory and 1/2 victory and 1/2 victory. 1st Lt Besby T. Holmes with 1 victory and 1/2 victory. In fact, only the two bombers were shot down: G4M1 Betty 2656 Tail 323 and G4M1 Betty Tail 326.
Ultimate fate of this aircraft is unknown, not lost in combat or accident, likely scrapped or th or otherwise disappeared.
USAF Serial Number Search Results - P-38G-1-LO Lightning 42-12690
USAF Historical Study No. 85 USAF Credits For The Destruction of Enemy Aircraft, World War II [PDF] Alphabetical: Holmes, Besby F. page 90 (PDF page 97), Alphabetical list by theater of operation (SWP) page 341 (PDF page 347) Chronological List: 04/18/43 Holmes page 384 (PDF page 389), 339th FS page 608 (PDF page 612)
13th Fighter Command in World War II (2004) Chapter 8 Yamamoto Mission by Jim Lansdale pages 143, 147
Thanks to Jim Lansdale for additional information
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