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  P-38J-10-LO Lightning Serial Number 42-67793  
5th AF
475th FG
431st FS
USAAF 1944
Pilot  1st Lt. Robert L. Crosswait, O-796783 (MIA / KIA) Sanborn County, SD
MIA  June 30, 1944 at 4:50pm
MACR  6576

Aircraft History
Built by Lockheed Aircraft Corporation (LAC) in Burbank. Constructor Number 2304. Delivered to the U. S. Army Air Force as P-38J-10-LO Lightning serial number 42-67793. Disassembled and shipped overseas to the South West Pacific Area (SWPA) and reassembled.

Wartime History
Assigned to the 5th Air Force, 475th Fighter Group, 431st Fighter Squadron. No known nickname, nose art or squadron number. When lost, engine V-1710-91 and V-1710-89 serial numbers A-035584 and A-035324. Armed with 20mm cannon serial number 120062 plus .50 caliber machine guns makers unknown serial numbers 746466, 459007, 746932, 562390, 120062.

Mission History
On June 30, 1944 took off from Hollandia Airfield piloted by 1st Lt. Robert L. Crosswait on a glide bombing mission led by Major Thomas B. McGuire against Noemfoor Island. Approaching Tanahmerah Bay, the weather was bad and the formation descended to 1,000' due to clouds with visibility to the south and east nil, with weather towards Wakde was good. This aircraft was last contacted by radio by Major Thomas B. McGuire in the vicinity of Tanahmerah Bay at 4:50pm. When this aircraft failed to return it was officially listed as Missing In Action (MIA). Due to the bad weather, the rest of the formation aborted the mission and landed at Wakde Airfield.

Statement by Major Thomas B. McGuire via Missing Air Crew Report 6576 (MACR 6576), page 8
"I was leading Hades Squadron on 30 June, 1944 to bomb installations on Noemfoor Island. When we approached Tanamerah Bay we let down to 1000 feet because of bad weather. When fully under the overcast I saw that we would not be able to get to Hollandia so we executed a one hundred and eighty degree turn. After this turn Lt. Crosswait was not seen.

Approximately five minutes later I had radio contact with Crosswait. I had called Hollandia Tower for weather conditions over the strip. Lt. Crosswait called me and said that he could not receive the tower in answer to my request for anyone to relay the tower's message. I could receive no one beside Lt. Crosswait. I then called all my squadron to go to Wakde. We were separated and no one heard me.

The weather to Wakde was good with scattered cumulus. The weather inland was very poor and heavily built up. The weather in the Tanamerah Bay region was closed in right to the deck and built on up to approximately 30,000 feet. All weather to the south and east was bad."

When this aircraft was reported as missing, search efforts were coordinated by Captain William S. O'Brien. That same day, two P-38 took off on a search mission and spotted a crash where an airplane hit the ground in a vertical bank and had exploded. Afterwards, an L-5 took off with a squadron pilot aboard to try to identify the type of aircraft but it could not be identified.

The next day, three officers, three enlisted from the squadron plus three natives and a Javanese interpreter departed to search the jungle are inland from Tanahmerah Bay while an Stinson L-5 Sentinel spotted for them from above. After walking for about four hours, they lost visual contact with the L-5 and had to turn back due to darkness and were unable to locate the crash site.

Afterwards, it was planned to take a native aboard an L-5 to spot the wreckage and then trek to the crash site arranged through the Dutch liaison officer. It is unclear if this effort was undertaken or the results. Crosswait remains listed as Missing In Action (MIA).

Crosswait was officially declared dead on February 11, 1946. He earned the Air Medal and Purple Heart, posthumously. Crosswait is memorialized at Manila American Cemetery on the tablets of the missing. He also has a memorial marker at Eventide Cemetery in Woonsocket, SD.

Connie Crosswait Hubbard (niece)

NARA World War II Army Enlistment Records - Robert L. Crosswait
USAF Serial Number Search Results - P-38J-10-LO Lightning 42-67793
"67793 (475th FG, 431st FS) MIA in Noemfoor Island area"
Missing Air Crew Report 6576 (MACR 6576) created July 4, 1944
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - Robert L. Crosswait
FindAGrave - 1Lt Robert Lincoln Crosswait, Jr (tablets of the missing photo)
FindAGrave - Robert Lincoln Crosswait, Jr (photos, memorial marker photo)
Thanks to Connie Crosswait Hubbard for additional information

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Last Updated
November 30, 2019


Tech Info

June 30, 1944

1 Missing
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