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  P-38J-5-LO Lightning Serial Number 42-67152 Squadron Letter R
5th AF
8th FG
80th FS

Pilot  1st Lt. Jess E. Gidley, O-732221 (MIA / KIA) CA
MIA  January 23, 1944 at 11:20am
MACR  2281

Aircraft History
Built by Lockheed Aircraft Corporation (LAC) in Burbank. Constructors Number 1663. Delivered to the U. S. Army. Disassembled and shipped overseas to Australia.

Wartime History
Assigned to the 5th Air Force, 8th Fighter Group, 80th Fighter Squadron "Headhunters". Squadron letter "R" painted in yellow on both sides of the nose and tail rudders. The tips of the tail were painted green with a white stripe below. The propeller spinners were painted green with a white stripe at the rear of the spinner. No known nickname or nose art. When lost, engine V1710-89 serial number 42-31264 and V-1710-91 serial number 42-95187. Weapon serial numbers not listed in Missing Air Crew Report 2281 (MACR 2281).

Mission History
On January 23, 1944 took off from North Borio Airfield (Dobodura No. 15) on a mission to escort B-24s over Wewak. Gidley was flying in the second flight as the second element. The weather was scattered cumulus clouds at 5-10,000' with good visibility.

Over the target, Gidley was observed to drop back in formation and reported via the radio that "he was snafu" to 1st Lt. Leland B. Blair. This was the last time Gidley was observed before the P-38s were intercepted by Japanese fighters. During the combat, three P-38s were observed going down. One collided with a Ki-61 Tony and the other two shot down, with one pilot bailing out. This P-38 was believed to have crashed to the east of Cape Moem.

When this aircraft failed to return it was officially declared Missing In Action (MIA). When this P-38 failed to return, it was officially declared Missing In Action (MIA). Also lost are P-38H 42-66852 (MIA) and P-38H 42-66539 (MIA).

Afterwards, no search was ever made for this aircraft or pilot.

NARA World War II Army Enlistment Records - Jess E. Gidley
Missing Air Crew Report 2281 (MACR 2281)
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - Jess E. Gidley
FindAGrave - Lieut Jess E Gidley (tablets of the missing photo)

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Last Updated
February 18, 2020


Tech Info

Jan 23, 1944


1 Missing

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