|Pilot 1st Lt. Edward E. Craig, O-743420 (MIA / KIA) Brea, CA
Crashed March 4, 1944
Built by Lockheed Aircraft Corporation (LAC) in Burbank. Delivered to the U. S. Army Air Force (USAAF) as P-38G-1-LO Lightning serial number 42-12705. Disassembled and shipped overseas to Australia and reassembled.
Assigned to the 5th Air Force, 8th Fighter Group "Cyclone's Flying Circus", 80th Fighter Squadron "The Headhunters". Tail code "V".
On November 2, 1943 took off from Port Moresby piloted by 1st Lt. Cy Homer on a mission to escort B-25 Mitchells over Rabaul. Inbound to the target, photographed with P-38H 42-66835 escorting B-25D "Arkansas Traveler" 41-30094.
Later, assigned to the 418th Night Fighter Squadron (418th NFS). Nicknamed "Veni Vidi Vici". One of three P-38G's converted to night fighters at the 4th Air Depot at Townsville. When lost, engines V-1710-55 and V-1710-51, serial numbers unknown.
On March 4, 1944 one of two P-38s that took off on a patrol mission over the eastern tip of Manus Island along with P-38G Lightning piloted by 2nd Lt. Robert M. Forrestal. At about 20:30 hours, the aircraft was last sighted and radio contact was made about 120 miles out of Finschhafen on course 170°. Both aircraft were then caught in a storm.
When Craig failed to returned, he was officially declared Missing In Action (MIA). Forrestal's P-38 made a crash landing out of fuel at Cape Gloucester and returned to duty.
Craig was officially declared dead the day of the mission. He earned the Air Medal and Purple Heart, posthumously. Craig is memorialized at Manila American Cemetery on the tablets of the missing.
He also has a memorial marker on the grave of his mother, Ruth Mary “Peggy” Gatchell Craig at Loma Vista Memorial Park in Fullerton, CA.
USAF Serial Number Search Results - P-38H-5-LO Lightning 42-12705
"12705 (418th FG) lost Mar 4, 1944. MACR 3306"
PNG Museum Aircraft Status Card - P-38G Lightning 42-12705
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - Edward E. Craig
FindAGrave - 1Lt Edward E Craig (tablets of the missing photo)
Edward E Craig (memorial marker photo)
Thanks to Keith Hopper for additional historical information
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January 30, 2019