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49th Fighter Group c1943
N. J. Paris Oct 29, 1943
John O'Neill circa Nov 1943
|Pilot 2nd Lt. Ormond E. Powell, O-798636 (MIA / KIA) Madison County, KY
MIA December 28, 1943 at 12:50pm
This aircraft was flown by O'Neill on combat missions over New Guinea and Rabaul on each mission his claimed a victory between March 1943 until early November 1943 when he completed his tour of duty and returned to the United States. Sometime after claiming his eighth aerial victory, the nose art was repainted, making the kneeling nude female white skinned and painting the entire nickname "Beautiful Lass" in white lettering.
Afterwards, assigned to the 475th Fighter Group, 431st Fighter Squadron. When lost, this P-38 had engine V-1710-55 serial number 42-32933 and V-1710-51 serial number 42-29317. Armed with a 20mm cannon built by Hispano serial number 24812 plus .50 caliber machine guns serial numbers 199549, 199558, 199541, 199640 and 24812.
On October 29, 1943 took off piloted by Lt. John O'Neill on a fighter sweep over Rabaul. “Blue Flight” included flight leader Captain Bill Haney with flight wingman 2nd Lt. Glade Hill with element leader Lt. O’Neill with element wingman 2nd Lt. John McLean. Over the target between 20,000' to 22,000', the formation spotted enemy fighters to the north, release drop tanks and dove to attack. Diving to 18,000’ "Blue Flight" made two firing passes at 400mph down to nearly sea level. At treetop height, O’Neill claimed two Zeros shot down, his seventh and eighth aerial victory claims.
Over Cape Gloucester, the P-38s patrolled until relieved at 12:35, the weather had closed in and the formation was forced to fly to 25,000', but Powell was seen to be falling behind, and 1st Lt Paul Morris called for him on the radio not to enter the overcast, and got no reply.
1st Lt. Paul V. Morris again observed Powell's P-38 flying directly into the weather front east of Aisega on the western coast of West New Britain. Three minutes later, the formation broke out of the weather, returned to base and reported Powell as lost. When he failed to return, Powell was officially declared Missing In Action (MIA).
Map December 28, 1943
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