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|Pilot Captain Charles K. Taylor, Jr., O-432268 (POW, survived) Pike County, MS
Crashed December 23, 1943 at 1:30pm
Built by Lockheed Aircraft Corporation (LAC) in Burbank. Constructors Number 1420. Delivered to the U. S. Army Air Force (USAAF) as P-38H-5-LO Lightning serial number 42-66909. Disassembled and shipped overseas to the South West Pacific Area (SWPA) and reassembled.
Assigned to the 5th Air Force (5th AF), 6th Photographic Reconnaissance Group (6th PRG), 8th Photographic Reconnaissance Squadron (8th PRS). No known nickname or nose art. When lost, engines V-1710-89 and -1710-91 serial numbers 42-94803 and 42-29926. Armed with .50 caliber machine guns serial numbers 411921, 378632, 412005, 397608 and 20mm cannon serial number 116635.
On December 23, 1943 took off from Schwimmer Drome (14 Drome) near Port Moresby pilot Captain Charles K. Taylor, Jr. on a mission to escort a F-4 Lighting piloted by Lt. Vincent E. Murphy on a photographic reconnaissance mission over Rabaul and Simpson Harbor. The escort included this aircraft and P-38H Lightnig piloted by Horatio L. Holton.
Over the target at 26,000', the F-4 Lightning piloted by Lt. Murphy began taking photos and became separated from the two escorting Lightnings. Murphy then made a photo run over Rapopo Airfield and radioed his escorts to join him. After completing the run, Murphy's aircraft had some additional exposures remaining and made another photographic run over Simpson Harbor.
Departing the target, Murphy observed six Zeros climbing from 17,000' towards them and notified the escorts. The Zeros continued to gain on them, and Taylor radioed Murphy to accelerate. Lt. Holton became separated and returned to Port Moresby alone.
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