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  P-38H-5-LO Lightning Serial Number 42-66737  
5th AF
475th FG
431st FS

Pilot  2nd Lt. Robert J. Smith, O-746205 (MIA / KIA) NC
Crashed  November 16, 1943 at 10:15am
MACR  1422

Aircraft History
Built by Lockheed Aircraft Corporation (LAC) in Burbank. Constructors Number 1248. Delivered to the U. S. Army Air Force (USAAF) as P-38H-5-LO Lightning serial number 42-66737. Disassembled and shipped overseas and reassembled.

Wartime History
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 42-93999 and V-1710-91 serial number 42-29957. Weapon serial numbers noted in Missing Air Crew Report 1422 (MACR 1422).

Mission History
On November 16, 1943 took off from Dobodura Airfield No. 12 at 7:20am piloted by 2nd Lt. Robert J. Smith as part of "Red Flight" flying the no. 4 position on a fighter sweep against Wewak. Weather was clear with overcast above 20,000'.

Over the target, the formation was attacked from above and the P-38s dove away with "Zeros" [sic Ki-43 Oscars] that followed them southward towards the Sepik River before they gave up the chase.

This P-38 was last seen by P-38 piloted by Major Franklin A. Nichols at 10:15am approximately ten miles north of the Sepik River. The cause of the loss was unknown. When this aircraft failed to return, Smith was officially listed as Missing In Action (MIA).

Smith was officially declared dead December 15, 1945. He is memorialized on the tablets of the missing at Manila American Cemetery.

USAF Serial Number Search Results - P-38H-5-LO Lightning 42-66737
"66737 (475th FG, 431st FS) MIA at New Guinea Nov 16, 1943. Pilot KIA. MACR 1422."
Missing Air Crew Report 1422 (MACR 1422)
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - Robert J. Smith
FindAGrave - 2LT Robert J Smith (tablets of the missing)

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Last Updated
February 18, 2020


Tech Info

Nov 16, 1943

1 Missing

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