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  P-38H-5-LO Lightning Serial Number 42-66909  
5th AF
6th PRG
8th PRS

Pilot ┬áCaptain Charles K. Taylor, Jr., O-432268 (POW, survived) Pike County, MS
Crashed  December 23, 1943 at 1:30pm
MACR  1070

Aircraft History
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.

Wartime History
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.

Mission History
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.

Taylor was last observed in formation with Murphy at 26,000' at 260 mph on a course of 220┬░ roughly 40 miles away from Rabaul. The two pilots were in radio contact. Believing Taylor was still with him, Murphy switched off his radio, because there was other traffic on the same channel. When he realized Taylor was not in his blind spot, he called for him on the radio, but recieved no answer.

Fates of the Crew
Taylor survived unhurt and was captured by the Japanese and transported to Rabaul. Detained as a Prisoner Of War (POW) by the 81st Naval Guard Unit.

On February 17, 1944 Taylor was one of six Allied prisoners transported aboard a G4M1 Betty bomber from Rabaul to Truk, and then onward to Japan. He was then detained at Omori POW Camp near Tokyo. He survived captivity until the end of the Pacific War then returned to the United States.

Taylor remained in the U. S. Air Force (USAF) and served during the Korean War. He retired with the rank of Lieutenant Colonel and passed away on April 26, 1992 at aged 71. Taylor is buried at Arlington National Cemetery at section 68 site 3037.

NARA World War II Army Enlistment Records - Charles K. Taylor, Jr.
USAF Serial Number Search Results - P-38H-5-LO Lightning 42-66909
"66909 (8th PRS) crashed into sea in Rabaul area Oct 23, 1943. Pilot POW. MACR 1070. 66911 (35th FG, 39th FS) shot down by Zero 4 mi N of Wide Bay, New Guinea Nov 7, 1943. MACR 3035 and 3037. Pilot POW."
Missing Air Crew Report 1070 (MACR 1070)
NARA World War II Prisoners of War Data File - Charles Kerse Taylor
PNG Museum Aircraft Status Card - P-38 Lightning 42-66909
FindAGrave - Charles K Taylor, Jr (Arlington National Cemetery)
ANC Explorer - Charles K Taylor, Jr

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Last Updated
October 27, 2019


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