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  P-38H-5-LO Lightning Serial Number 42-66821  
5th AF
475th FG
431st FS

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via Ken Peters c1942
Pilot  1st Lt. Lowell C. Lutton, O-433707 (MIA / KIA) Danforth, IL
MIA  November 2, 1943 at 2:30pm
MACR  1262

Pilot History
Lutton earned the Distinguished Flying Cross with Oak Leaf Cluster, Silver Star, Soldier's Medal, Air Medal with 2 Oak Leaf Clusters, Purple Heart (posthumously).

Aircraft History
Built by Lockheed Aircraft Corporation (LAC) in Burbank. Delivered to the U. S. Army. 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 nose art or nickname. When lost, engines V-1710-89 serial number 42-30047 and V-1710-91 serial number 42-93929.

Mission History
On November 2, 1943 took off from Dobobura Airfield led by 1st Lt. Wenige as one of four P-38s on a mission to escort bombers over Rabaul. Over the target, Lt. Lutton was singled out for attack by two or three enemy fighters and was saved from destruction by the valiant efforts of other members of his squadron. Despite this, Lt. Lutton continued to lead his men in passes against enemy aircraft attacking the bombers. Returning from the mission, Lutton was last seen in an overcast and storm with both engines functioning normally. Unable to reach Kiriwina, Lt. Lutton likely crashed or ditched into the sea south of Wide Bay.

Marion Kirby, who flew with Lowell on this mission noted:
"The way we exited Simpson Harbor (Rabaul) we flew right over one of the enemies largest airfields and from what I could gather, they were waiting on us.  Lt. Weinege should know because he was in Lowell's flight.  Our losses were relatively light until we were jumped as we were leaving.  Like I mentioned earlier, I became separated as we were leaving the harbor.  I arrived at Kiriwina Island, where we always gassed up, and counting the planes as they landed.  That was the time I learned our losses had been heavy. We only had 9 planes that day, (the 431st FS) , on the mission, lost three of them."

Afterwards, a search was conducted but no trace of either the pilot or aircraft was found.

Lutton was officially declared dead the day of the mission. He is memorialized on the tablets of the missing at Manila American Cemetery.

Ken Peters adds:
"Lowell was born March 18. 1918 and was only 25 when he was killed. To the best of Lt. Wenige's knowledge three years later, he believes Lt. Lutton was hit repeatedly by enemy fire over Wide Bay, went into an extremely shallow dive, struck the surface of the water, and sank about fifty to one-hundred miles south west of Rabaul.  He did not answer his radio calls and his flying was erratic.  Lowell made no attempt to bail out of his plane and crashed with the canopy closed.

Missing Air Crew Report 1262 (MACR 1262)
431st Fighter Squadron History and casualty file
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - Lowell C. Lutton
FindAGrave - 1Lt Lowell C Lutton (photos, tablets of the missing photo)
PNG Museum Aircraft Status Card - P-38 Lightning 42-66821
Thanks to Ken Peters for additional information

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Last Updated
February 18, 2020


Tech Info

1 Missing

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