|Pilot 1st Lt Thaddeus W. Jones, Jr., O-736235 (MIA / KIA) VA
MIA July 2, 1944 at 12:30pm
Built by Lockheed Aircraft Corporation (LAC) in Burbank. Constructors Number 7536. Converted
from a model P-38G-10 into a F-5A-10
photographic reconnaissance version. Delivered to the U. S. Army. Disassembled and shipped overseas to Australia and reassembled.
Assigned to the 5th Air Force, 6th Photographic Reconnaissance Group, 8th Photographic Reconnaissance Squadron. No known nose art or nickname. When lost engines V-1710-51 & V-1710-55 serial numbers 42-93289 and 42-28186.
On July 2, 1944 at 10:25am took off from Nadzab Airfield No 1 piloted by 1st Lt Thaddeus W. Jones, Jr. escorting h F-5 Lightning piloted by F/O Gerald E. Avery on a mission to take low level oblique photographs over the Wewak area airfields from an altitude of 800'. The weather was reported as clear.
Over the target, the pair drew anti-aircraft fire from Wewak Point, then proceeded to photograph the north coast of New Guinea to a point ten miles to the west of But Drome.
Returning, the pair flew along the coast down to Boiken, then Avery turned inland on a course for Wewak flying at 250'. Over Boiken at 12:30pm, Avery lost sight of Jones and circled back to search for him. Unable to find him, Avery took more photos over the target then returned to base.
When Jones failed to return from the mission he was officially declared Missing In Action (MIA). His loss was attributed to anti-aircraft fire.
In addition to Avery's initial search when he observed Jones was missing. On July 4, 1944 two Lightnings piloted by Captain Counselman and 1st Lt. Thomas H. Lang searched from 7,000' the coastal area from Dagua to Boram five to six miles inland, but observed no trace of this aircraft. Also, the 5th Air Force and 5th Fighter Command were notified to look for this aircraft, but neither made any sightings.
Jones was officially declared dead on February 8, 1946. He is memorialized on the tablets of the missing at Manila American Cemetery.
Missing Air Crew Report 6296 (MACR 6296)
PNG Museum Aircraft Status Card - F-5A Lightning 42-13102
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) Thaddeus W. Jones Jr.
1Lt Thaddeus W Jones, Jr (tablets of the missing)
The Eight Ballers - Eyes of the Fifth Air Force (1999) by Stanaway and Rocker page 13 (upper right photo)
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June 29, 2019