|Pilot Lt. McWhorter (rescued)
Force Landed July 13, 1944
Built by Lockheed Aircraft Corporation (LAC) in Burbank. Constructors Number 1249. Delivered to the U. S. Army Air Force (USAAF) as P-38H-5-LO Lightning serial number 42-66738. Disassembled and shipped overseas to the South West Pacific Area (SWPA) and reassembled.
Assigned to the 5th Air Force, 8th Fighter Group. No known nickname or nose art.
On July 13, 1944 took off piloted by Lt. McWhorter on a mission and force landed in kunai grass the southwest of Kupiano at roughly Lat 10.07 Long 148.07.
Fate of the Pilot
McWhorter was unhurt in the landing and afterwards was aided by villagers in the area who took him to missionaries that helped him to reach Hood Point.
On July 20, 1944 a Stinson L-5 from the 25th Liaison Squadron piloted by T/Sgt Walter G. Conrad landed at Hula Airfield (Hood Point Airfield) and flew him to Port Moresby and he later returned to duty.
After the force landing a Stinson L-5 from the 25th Liaison Squadron with passenger Sgt Henry Uling spotted and photographed his P-38 Lightning in kunai grass.
Until the early 1980s, this P-38 remained in situ where it force landed. On May 3, 1981, Bruce Hoy curator of the modern history department of the PNG Museum visited the wreckage and salvaged a portion of the nose of this aircraft and a dataplate.
Bruce Hoy recalls:
"We drove down to [42-66738] and
removed one section of skin on the left side of that aircraft (and at
the same time I removed the aircraft's serial plate, still attached inside
the cockpit), as [P-38G "Dumbo!" 42-12847 had a damaged nose section] was damaged in that
In the middle 1990s, the tail booms and tail section were made into a fence. As of May 26, 2015, there were only small pieces at the crash site.
Afterwards, the section of skin on the left side recovered by Bruce Hoy was used to repair the nose
section of P-38G "Dumbo!" 42-12847. Afterwards, this repaired
nose was installed onto P-38F Lightning 42-12647 displayed at the PNG Museum.
USAF Serial Number Search Results -
P-38H-5-LO Lightning 42-66738
PNG Museum Aircraft Status Card - P-38H Lightning 42-66738
Thanks to Bruce Hoy and Keith Hopper for additional information
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July 12, 2019