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|Pilot 2nd Lt Walter H. Mikucky, O-760360 (MIA / KIA) Broome County, NY
MIA April 16, 1944 "Black Sunday" at 3:00pm
Built by Lockheed Aircraft Corporation (LAC) in Burbank. Constructors Number 1066. Delivered to the U. S. Army Air Force (USAAF) as P-38H-1-LO Lightning serial number 42-66555. Disassembled and shipped overseas to Australia and reassembled.
Assigned to the 5th Air Force (5th AF), 8th Fighter Group (8th FG), 36th Fighter Squadron (36th FS). No known nose art or nickname. Assigned to pilots Lucas and later Allen.
On April 16, 1944 at 10:20am took off from Nadzab No. 4 Airfield (APO 713, Unit 1) piloted by 2nd Lt Walter H. Mikucky as part of a four plane flight "Agate Special" led by P-38H pilot Zielinski flying as wingman, plus element leader P-38H 42-66832 pilot 1st Lt Lawrence Reeves and element P-38H 42-66668 pilot 2nd Lt. Robert R. Keown.
The four plane flight escorted a single B-25 Mitchell from the 38th Bombardment Group (38th BG) searching for B-25G 42-64835 that force landed four days earlier. An hour and a half later, the five aircraft reached the Sepik River delta and searched the river and swamp area for nearly two hours without results with the four Lightnings weaving closely behind, until their fuel became low by 1:30pm.
Returning, the formation flew a course approximately 50 miles inland from the coast and encountered heavy overcast 15 miles south of Annenberg with overcast to 1,000' and rain. The formation proceeded towards Madang in hopes of landing at Saidor Airfield.
Instead, the weather worsened with severe weather and overcast down to 1,000' and with visibility of only 300' and attempted to turn out towards the sea to find an opening in the clouds. The P-38s circling off Yalu Point near Yamai Airfield for 20 minutes before finding a hole in the clouds. At 2:40pm with poor visibility, the formation broke up with Zielinski and Mikucky turning to the left while Reeves and Keown turning to the right.
This P-38 crashed into the sea and exploded off Yamai Airfield. Afterwards, the mission was dubbed "Black Sunday" for the number of aircraft lost.
Eugene Zielinski reported:
"...we encountered a heavy overcast about 15 miles south of Annanberg that had gotten down to 1,000 feet and rain squalls. At this point I changed our course and headed for Madang, with the intention of landing at Saidor. When we reached the coast at Yalu Point the overcast was again down to 1,000 feet and a solid sheet of rain falling. With my flight still together, we headed out to sea in an attempt to find an opening in the clouds. Off Yalu Point we found a hole and circled for 20 minutes, and then I radioed my flight that I was turning to the left. My wingman, Lt Mickucky, followed by element leader and his wingman turned to the right. This was at 14:40, and the last I saw of the element. With my right engine already feathered, I radioed my wingman, telling him that I was bailing out and instructed him to do the same it being impossible to get through the weather with a shortage of fuel. I bailed out off Yalu Point from approximately 800 feet, landing in the water one and a half miles from shore. This occurred at 1500 hours. In a few minutes I was rescued by a barge, and was told that my wingman, Lt Mickucky, had crashed into the sea and exploded about a mile away."
Mikucky was officially declared dead the day of the mission. He is memorialized on the tablets of the missing at Manila American Cemetery. He also has a memorial marker at Saint Stanislaus Kostka Roman Catholic Cemetery in Maine, NY.
DeLorme Stein (friend of family) recalls:
"He was a P-38 pilot and was MIA just seven days after he arrived there. 2LT Mikucky (pronounced Mih-kusky). He had only been flying for a week, and was 21 years old. A handsome guy. I doubt he had time to name his plane and have any nose art done. His family has his log book, leather cap, and Purple Heart."
NARA World War II Army Enlistment Records - Walter H. Mikucky
USAF Serial Number Search Results - P-38H-1-LO Lightning 42-66555
"66555 (36th FS) crashed into ocean near Yamai Apr 16, 1944 during infamous Black Sunday mission pilot killed"
April 1944 USAAF Overseas Accident Reports does not mention this loss
No Missing Air Crew Report (MACR) is known to exist for this aircraft. But, details about this loss are mentioned in both Missing Air Crew Report 4359 (MACR 4358) and Missing Air Crew Report 4359 (MACR 4359).
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - Walter H. Mikucky
FindAGrave - 2Lt Walter H Mikucky (photo, tablets of the missing photos)
FindAGrave - Lieut Walter H. Mikucky (memorial marker photo)
PNG Museum Aircraft Status Card - P-38H Lightning 42-66555
Black Sunday (2000) pages 61-62 (April 16, 1944), 100 (42-66555), 113 (index Mikucky)
Are you a relative or associated with any person mentioned?
Do you have photos or additional information to add?
April 16, 1944
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