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  P-38H-5-LO Lightning Serial Number 42-66904  
5th AF
6th PRG
8th PRS

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Ruff c1943
Pilot  1st Lt. Charles E. Bateson, III, O-432230 (MIA / KIA) Rye, NY
MIA  October 8, 1943
MACR  794

Pilot History
Charles E. Bateson, III was born at January 14, 1916 in Rye, NY and worked as a salesman textile industry. He enlisted in the U. S. Army on March 30, 1937 to Troop K, 101st Cavalry ( Squadron A) in New York, NY. On April 23, 1941 enlisted as an aviation cadet. Afterwards, assigned to the 5th Air Force, 8th Fighter Group, 80th Fighter Squadron "Headhunters". Next, transferred to the 6th Photographic Reconnaissance Group, 8th Photographic Reconnaissance Squadron. He earned the Distinguished Flying Cross (DFC) and Purple Heart, posthumously.

Aircraft History
Built by Lockheed Aircraft Corporation (LAC) in Burbank. Constructors Number 1415. Delivered to the U. S. Army Air Force (USAAF) as P-38H-5-LO Lightning serial number 42-66904. Disassembled and shipped overseas to the South West Pacific Area (SWPA) and reassembled.

Wartime History
Assigned to the 5th Air Force (5th AF), 6th Photographic Reconnaissance Group (6th PRG), 8th Photographic Reconnaissance Squadron (8th PRS). No known nose art or nickname. When lost, engines V-1710-89 and V-1710-91 serial numbers 42-94161 and 42-30146.

Wartime History
On October 8, 1943 took off piloted by 1st Lt. Charles E. Bateson, III on a mission to escort F-4 Lightning piloted by Holton over the Madang area. Bateson was last seen over the Madang area and failed to return. Possibly, his last radio message was at 3:20pm when a ground station recorded "Bandits 5. Let's get them." This message was not heard by aircraft in the flight. When this aircraft failed to return it was officially listed as Missing In Action (MIA).

This aircraft has never been found or identified. The unidentified wreckage of P-38 wreckage on Siar Island or P-38 wreckage at Nobnob could possibly be associated with this aircraft.

Bateson was officially declared dead on December 15, 1945. He Distinguished Flying Cross (DFC), Air Medal and Purple Heart, posthumously. Bateson is memorialized on the tablets of the missing at Manila American Cemetery.

NARA World War II Army Enlistment Records Charles E. Bateson Trd

USAF Serial Number Search Results - P-38H-5-LO Lightning 42-66904
"66904 (8th PRS, 6th PRG) shot down by fighter in Madang area, New Guinea Oct 8, 1943. Pilot MIA. MACR 794."
Missing Air Crew Report 794 (MACR 794)
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - Charles E. Bateson III
FindAGrave - 1Lt Charles Edward Wagstaffe Bateson, III (obituary, tablets of the missing photo)
PNG Museum Aircraft Status Card - P-38H Lightning 42-66904
The Eight Ballers: Eyes of the Fifth Air Force (1999) by Stanaway and Rocker pages 160

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Last Updated
February 18, 2020


Tech Info

1 Missing
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