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|Pilot 2nd Lt. Ralph E. Schmidt, O-743512 (MIA / KIA) CA
MIA August 18, 1943
Built by Lockheed Aircraft Corporation (LAC) in Burbank. Constructors Number 1083. Delivered to the U. S. Army Air Force (USAAF) as P-38H-1-LO Lightning serial number 42-66572. Disassembled and shipped overseas and reassembled.
Assigned to the 5th Air Force (5th AF), 475th Fighter Group (475th FG) "Satan's Angels", 431st Fighter Squadron (431st FS) "Hades". When lost, engine serial numbers V-1710-89 serial number 42-93645 and V-1710-91 serial number 42-29662. Weapon serial numbers not listed in Missing Air Crew Report 752 (MACR 752).
On August 18, 1943 took off from 12 Mile Drome (Berry) near Port Moresby piloted by 2nd Lt. Ralph E. Schmidt on a mission to escort B-25 Mitchells over Wewak. This P-38 was flying in formation in the flight led by Captain Jett as the no. 2 aircraft. The weather was a building overcast with poor visibility.
Over the target, Jett and Schmidt released their drop tanks, then Schmidt chased a "Zeke" (Ki-43 Oscar) spotted to the south. This aircraft was last seen southeast of Dagua at 10:00am by the flight's No. 3 2nd Lt. Edward Czarnecki. When this aircraft failed to return it was officially listed as Missing In Action (MIA).
During 1948, this aircraft was located by Australian Police, roughly eight miles west of Woginara / Sagitoga Creek at 2,000' on Mount Simnar at roughly Lat 3.29 Long 143.10. The remains of the pilot were recovered.
Schmidt was officially declared dead the day of the mission. After his remains were recovered, he was transported to the United States and permanently buried at Golden Gate National Cemetery at section O grave 165.
USAF Serial Number Search Results - P-38H-1-LO Lightning 42-66572
"66572 (475th FG, 431st FS) lost during aerial combat SE of Dagua, New Guinea Aug 18, 1943. Pilot KIA. MACR 752."
Missing Air Crew Report 752 (MACR 752) created 30, 1943
PNG Museum Aircraft Status Card - P-38H Lightning 42-66572
FindAGrave - Ralph E Schmidt (grave photo)
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