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|Pilot 2nd Lt. Dale O. Meyer, O-743742 (MIA / KIA) La Salle County, IL
Crashed November 9, 1943
Built by Lockheed Aircraft Corporation (LAC) in Burbank. Constructors Number 1027. Delivered to the U. S. Army Air Force (USAAF) as P-38H-1-LO Lightning serial number 42-66546. Disassembled and shipped overseas to the South West Pacific Area (SWPA) and reassembled.
Assigned to the 5th Air Force (5th AF), 49th Fighter Group (49th FG), 9th Fighter Squadron (9th FS). Assigned to pilot Lt. James "Duckbutt" Watkins. Nicknamed "Charlcie Jeann II" in an old English style font. Nose number 84. This plane replaced his prior aircraft P-38H "Charlcie Jeann" 42-66516 lost piloted by 1st Lt. Theron D. Price on October 13, 1943.
Afterwards, this aircraft was assigned to the 475th Fighter Group (475th FG) "Satan's Angels", 433rd Fighter Squadron (433rd FS) "Possum". It is unknown if this aircraft retained the prior nickname and nose number or was was repainted. When lost, engines serial number V-1710-91 serial number 42-93721 and V-1710-89 serial number 42-29610. Armed with 20mm cannon serial number 110732 with four .50 caliber machine guns makers unknown with serial numbers 473233, 113380, 475753 and 1159454.
On November 9, 1943 took off from North Borio Airfield (Dobodura No. 15) piloted by 2nd Lt. Dale O. Meyer as one of twelve P-38s flying in three flights from 433rd Fighter Squadron (433rd FS) "Possum" on a mission to provide low cover between 6,000' to 8,000' for B-25 Mitchells from the 38th Bombardment Group (38th BG) on a strike mission against Alexishafen Airfield. The escort also included twelve P-38 Lightnings from the 432nd Fighter Squadron (432nd FS) "Clover".
The lead flight of four was led by P-38H 42-66834 piloted by Captain Daniel T. Roberts and this aircraft as wingman with element leader 1st Lt William G. Jeakle and wingman Lt. William Grady. The formation rendezvous over "The Gona Wreck" (Ayatosan Maru) then flew up the north coast of New Guinea to the target. At some point, Jeakle left the flight leaving only three P-38s in the lead flight.
After the B-25s finished their strike against Alexishafen Airfield, Roberts radioed to release drop tanks. At 10:15am the P-38s engaged between 15-25 enemy fighters including Ki-43 Oscars and Ki-61 Tonys over Sek Harbor off Alexishafen. During the air combat at low level, Grady saw a "Hamp" [sic Ki-43 Oscar] being attacked by Roberts that burst into flames roughly 100' above the sea. Afterwards, this claim was credited to Roberts as his fourteenth and final aerial victory. In the confused dog fight, fighter aircraft seemed to be everywhere.
Roberts and Meyers were flying at roughly 200' in pursuit of a Ki-43 Oscar headed towards Alexishafen Airfield that turned suddenly. When Roberts turned to follow, Meyers failed to turn fast enough and collied with him.
P-38H 42-66834 caught fire, exploded and crash. Meyer's P-38 crashed about 600 yards to the left of Roberts on land east of Alexishafen Airfield, it did not explode but impacted directly into the ground and afterwards burned severely. When this aircraft failed to return it was officially declared Missing In Action (MIA). Also lost was P-38H 42-66596 pilot 2nd Lt. John C. Smith (MIA).
Meyer was officially declared dead the day of the mission. He eared the Air Medal with two Oak Leaf Clusters and Purple Heart, posthumously. Meyer is memorialized at Manila American Cemetery on the tablets of the missing.
NARA World War II Army Enlistment Records - Dale O. Meyer
USAF Serial Number Search Results - P-38H-1-LO Lightning 42-66546
"66546 (475th FG, 433rd FS, "Charlie Jeanne II") collided in midair with P-38 42-66834 and crashed in Alexishafen area, New Guinea Nov 9, 1943. MACR 1260. Pilot KIA."
Missing Air Crew Report 1260 (MACR 1260) created November 10, 1943
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - Dale O. Meyer
FindAGrave - 2Lt Dale O Meyer (tablets of the missing)
PNG Museum Aircraft Status Card - P-38H Lightning 42-66546
Letter to Mrs. H. W. Cochran from H. W. Cochran dated November 10, 1944:
“A little bad news now. Yesterday [November 9, 1943] we lost Meyer a swell fellow and a mighty good friend. Sure wish the films you are sending arrived as I wanted a picture of Meyer, Fisk and I. I have a cadet picture of him I’ll send you as soon as I get a censor stamp on it. God permitting I’ll get a picture of Fisk and I together and you can keep them together. Also lost two more were killed whom you wouldn't know [Captain Daniel "Danny" T. Roberts and 2nd Lt. John Clay Smith]"
Letter to Mrs. H. W. Cochran from H. W. Cochran dated November 11, 1944:
"This tent sure seems bare with [Dale] Meyers stuff moved out and without him here. He was always so cheerful and eager."
Possum, Clover & Hades 475th Fighter Group in World War II (2004) pages 96-98 (November 9, 1943), 289 (losses), 295 (475th FG aircraft), 309 (Aerial victory claims 11/09/43 432nd FS / 433rd FS)
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Nov 9, 1943
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