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  F-5A-10-LO Lightning Serial Number 42-13093  
USAAF
5th AF
6th PRG
8th PRS

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Doyle Nov 21, 1943
Pilot  Major Arthur L. Post, O-439653 C. O. 6th PRG (KIA, BR) Milwaukee, WI
Passenger  TSgt Delbert E. Mendenhall, 37014749 8th PRS (KIA, BR) Rooks County, KS
Crashed  August 25, 1944 at 10:45am
MACR  none

Aircraft History
Built by Lockheed Aircraft Corporation (LAC) in Burbank. Constructors Number 222-7527. Delivered to the U. S. Army Air Force (USAAF) as P-38G-10-LO Lightning serial number 42-13093 and converted into a F-5A-10-LO photographic reconnaissance version. Disassembled and shipped overseas to Australia and reassembled.

Wartime History
Assigned to the 5th Air Force, 6th Photographic Reconnaissance Group (6th PRG), 8th Photographic Reconnaissance Squadron (8th PRS). No known nickname or nose art.

Mission History
On August 25, 1944 took off from Biak piloted by Major Arthur L. Post with passenger TSgt Delbert E. Mendenhall aboard who was a propeller specialist from the 8th Photographic Reconnaissance Squadron (8th PRS) aboard to check instruments and functions on a test flight. At 10:45am crashed into the sea roughly 800' from the south coast of Biak roughly 1 1/2 miles off Sorido.

Recovery of Remains
After the crash, the remains of both crew were recovered and buried on Biak. Postwar, his remains were transport to the United States for permanent burial.

Memorials
Both crew were officially declared dead the day of the mission.

Post was buried at Spring Hill Cemetery and Mausoleum in Milwaukee, WI.

On March 22, 1949 Mendenhall is buried at Fort Leavenworth National Cemetery at section B, site 2266-C. He also has a memorial marker at Zurich Cemetery in Zurich, KS.

References
Previously, Post bailed out of F-5A Lightning 42-13070 on June 20, 1943 and survived behind enemy lines until rescued on September 28, 1943 by USS Grouper (SS-214)
World War II WWII Army and Army Air Force Casualty List - Post Arthur L
Fold3 Delbert E Mendenhall
World War II WWII Army and Army Air Force Casualty List - Mendenhall, Delbert E
USAF Serial Number Search Results - F-5A-10-LO Lightning 42-13093
8th Photo Rcn Squadron - Historical Report August 1944
"Losses in Action Technical Sergeant Delbert E. Mendenhall, 37014749, Air Corps, killed in a local test flight, on 25 August 1944. T/Sgt Mendenhall, rated propeller specialist, was taken on a test flight to check instruments and functioning of plane during flight. Definite cause of crash is unknown. The pilot, Major Arthur L. Post, 0439653, 6th Photographic Group Reconnaissance, was also killed. The airplane, F5A (42-13093) crashed in water approximately one mile and a half (1 1/2) from Sorido village, eight hundred (800) feet from the shore, at 1045/K, 25 August 1944."
The Hall of Valor Project - Arthur L. Post (photo, DSC citation)
"The President of the United States of America, authorized by Act of Congress July 9, 1918, takes pleasure in presenting the Distinguished Service Cross to Major (Air Corps) Arthur L. Post (ASN: O-439653), United States Army Air Forces, for extraordinary heroism in connection with military operations against an armed enemy while serving as a Pilot with the 6th Reconnaissance Group, FIFTH Air Force, in action against enemy forces on 28 September 1943, near Rabaul, New Britain. Major Post, in an unarmed and unescorted aircraft, voluntarily undertook a photographic mission over Rabaul. Although attacked by enemy planes, he completed his photographic run and, sighting an enemy convoy, photographed it also. After he had evaded the attacking planes with great skill for some time, and had sheared off the wing top of one of them, both his engines were finally shot out. He jumped from the crashing plane, and, to avoid being strafed, pulled the rip cord of his parachute at only 500 feet. Landing severely burned, with an injured leg, and in close proximity to the powerful enemy base, he contrived to find native assistance, and eluded enemy patrols. During a hundred days of hazardous jungle life, he assembled intelligence information which has proven invaluable in the assessment of enemy strength and in assisting the survival of Allied pilots in enemy controlled territory. Captain Post's unquestionable valor in aerial combat is in keeping with the highest traditions of the military service and reflects great credit upon himself and the United States Army Air Forces."
The Eight Ballers - Eyes of the Fifth Air Force (1999) by Stanaway and Rocker page 50 (photo), 160 (losses in action, commanders of the 8th)
(Page 160) Appendix I - Losses in Action - Arthur Post - KIFA [August 25, 1944] in crash off Biak Lagoon.
Wisconsin Historical Society - Arthur L. Post (photos)
"1943- Major Arthur L. Post of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, was shot down on June 20th, 1943 and rescued on September 28th, 1943 after 101 days in the jungle. Here he is pictured here with Robert Doyle near the tail of a plane similar to his unarmed photo plane, "Limping Lizzie," that was shot down [sic, likely F-4 "Malaria Mabel" 41-2130 or F-4 "Limping Lizzie" 41-2156]. The airfield where this image was taken was located near Port Moresby, New Guinea (present day Papua New Guinea). Robert Doyle was not allowed to publish Post's story at that time. It was finally published in January, 1947, by the Milwaukee Journal. Major Post intended to write his own story, but was killed in a test airplane on August 25th, 1944, before he had the chance."
FindAGrave - Arthur Lester Post (grave photo)
FindAGrave - Delbert Elza Mendenhall (grave photo)
FindAGrave - Delbert Elza Mendenhall (memorial marker)
Thanks to Edward Rogers for research and analysis

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Last Updated
August 25, 2019

 

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