|Pilot 1st Lt. Chester D. Phillips, O-663092 (MIA / KIA) CA
MIA September 8, 1943 at 14:30
Chester "Chet" Phillips was assigned to the 49th Fighter Group and was one of the cadre of fighter pilots assigned to the newly created 475th Fighter Group (475th FG).
Built by Lockheed Aircraft Corporation (LAC) in Burbank. Constructor Number 1053. Delivered to the U. S. Army Air Force (USAAF) as P-38H-1-LO Lightning serial number 42-66542. Disassembled and shipped overseas to Australia and reassembled.
Assigned to the 5th Air Force (5th AF), 475th Fighter Group (475th FG) "Satan's Angels", 431st Fighter Squadron (431st FS) "Hades". No known nickname or nose art. When lost, engines V-1710-89 serial number 42-93668 and V-1710-91-42-29644. Weapon serial numbers unknown.
On September 8, 1943 took off from 12 Mile Drome (Berry Drome) near Port Moresby on a patrol mission over the Wau area. The flight leader was Captain Haning with Philips flying the formation's no. 2 position. Weather was overcast and very poor forming a solid front that required the pilots to fly on instruments for a short time. At this moment, Philips was last seen by Captain William F. Haning, Jr. roughly 30 miles south of Wau. The overcast was so thick that the P-38s in the formation could not see their own wingtips and split up for safety. Afterwards, this aircraft was never seen again. When it failed to return, Phillips was officially declared Missing In Action (MIA).
was officially declared dead the day of the mission. He is memorialized at Manila American Cemetery on the tablets of the missing.
USAF Serial Number Search Results -
P-38H-1-LO Lightning 42-66542
"66542 (475th FG, 431st FS) lost in bad weather at New Guinea Sep 8, 1943. Pilot KIA. MACR 750."
Missing Air Crew Report 750 (MACR 750)
PNG Museum Aircraft Status Card - P-38H Lightning 42-66542
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - Chester D. Phillips
1Lt Chester D Phillips (photo)
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February 18, 2020