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80th FS August 1943
80th FS September 1943
|Pilot Major Edward "Porky" Cragg, O-421769 C.O. 80th FS (MIA / KIA) Mount Vernon, NY
Crashed December 26, 1943 at 3:30pm
Built by Lockheed Aircraft Corporation (LAC) in Burbank. Constructors Number 1017. Delivered to the U. S. Army Air Force (USAAF) as P-38H-1-LO Lightning serial number 42-66506. Disassembled and shipped overseas to Australia and reassembled.
Assigned to the 5th Air Force, 8th Fighter Group, 80th Fighter Squadron "Headhunters". Nose letter "A". Assigned to pilot Major Edward "Porky" Cragg. Nicknamed "Porky II" in capital letters with no nose art. On the left side of the nose below the cockpit was a scoreboard with Japanese rising sun flags indicating his aerial victory claims with two flags per row.
When lost, engines V-1710-89 and V-1710-91 serial numbers (left) 42-29866 and (right) 42-93845. Armed with .50 caliber machine guns and 20mm cannon maker and serial numbers not listed in Missing Air Crew Report 3146 (MACR 3146).
On December 26, 1943 took off from North Borio Airfield (Dobodura No. 15) piloted by Major Edward "Porky" Cragg leading a flight of twelve P-38s on an mission to cover the U. S. landing convoy off Cape Gloucester in West New Britain. The weather was scattered clouds to 25,000' with good visibility.
Over the target, intercepted an enemy formation of 20 bombers and 50 fighters. During the combat, nine of the enemy aircraft claimed as shot down and the enemy bombers were forced to drop their bomb load prior to reaching the target.
1st Lt. Burnell W. Adams, 80th Fighter Squadron via MACR 3146
"The P-38 came out of the clouds, a ball of fire and spinning badly. It went in just like that and exploded when it hit. It landed about fifty yards inland on the western shore of Borgen Bay. Thinking that the pilot might have bailed out while in the clouds I stayed in this area for approximately five minutes but observed no parachute. I never did get close enough to the P-38 to observe the color or letter on the nose of the airplane... I decided against going down to view the wreckage."
This P-38 was last observed in a spin after combat with enemy fighters, and crashed on the western shore of Borgen Bay and exploded when it hit the ground. When this aircraft failed to return from the mission it was officially listed as Missing In Action (MIA). The mission he was lost he claimed his 15th aerial victory becoming a triple ace.
Spotters from the 6th Army observed a parachute descending approximately four miles inland from the scene of the crash, presumed to be from this aircraft. Afterwards, a 6th Army liaison plane and U. S. Navy PBY Catalina searched for most of the day after, without success.
Cragg was officially declared dead on January 16, 1946. He remains listed as Missing In Action (MIA) to this day.
Cragg earned the Distinguished Service Cross (DSC), Silver Star, Distinguished Flying Cross (DFC) with 4 Oak Leaf Clusters, Air Medal with 6 Oak Leaf Clusters and Purple Heart, posthumously.
Cragg is memorialized at Manila American Cemetery on the tablets of the missing. He also has a memorial marker at Arlington National Cemetery at section MK site 203. Previously, the Planes of Fame Museum painted P-38J 44-23314 in the markings of "Porky II" as a tribute to missing pilot Major Edward "Porky" Cragg.
NARA World War II Army Enlistment Records - Edward Cragg
USAF Serial Number Search Results - P-38H-1-LO Lightning 42-66506
"66506 (MSN 1017) with 8th FG, 80th FS, "Porky II" shot down by Japanese fighter over Borgen Bay, New Guinea Dec 26, 1943. MACR 3146. Pilot bailed out over enemy lines and KIA."
USAF Historical Study No. 85 USAF Credits For The Destruction of Enemy Aircraft, World War II Alphabetical: Cragg, Edward page 46 (PDF page 51), Alphabetical list by theater of operation (SWP) Cragg, Edward: 12/26/43 page 351 (PDF page 357), Chronological List: 12/26/43 page 409 (PDF page 414) and 80th FTR SQ page 573-574 (PDF page 577-578)
Missing Air Crew Report 3146 (MACR 3146) created December 28, 1943
PNG Museum Aircraft Status Card - P-38H Lightning 42-66506
American Battle Monuments Commission, (ABMC) - Edward Cragg
FindAGrave - Maj Edward “Porky” Cragg (tablets of the missing photo)
FindAGrave - Edward Cragg (memorial marker photo)
ANC Explorer - Edward Cragg
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Dec 26, 1943
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