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Built by Lockheed Aircraft Corporation (LAC) in Burbank. Constructor Number 322-3373. Delivered to the U. S. Army Air Force (USAAF) as P-38G-13-LO Lightning serial number 43-2264. Disassembled and shipped overseas and reassembled.
Assigned to the 13th Air Force (13th AF), 347th Fighter Group (347th FG), 339th Fighter Squadron (339th FS). Nose Number 147. Assigned to pilot Lt. Robert Petit. Nicknamed "Miss Virginia". Two victory Japanese flags were painted on the nose, a pair of A6M2-N Rufes claimed by Petit on February 27, 1943.
On March 29, 1943 took off from Fighter 2 (Kukum) on Guadalcanal piloted by Lt. Robert Petit on a mission over the Shortlands. He claimed a destroyer sunk, and painted a ship silhouette on the nose. In fact, this was a subchaser badly damaged not sunk.
On April 18, 1943 at 7:25am took off from Fighter 2 (Kukum) on Guadalcanal piloted by 1st Lt. Rex T. Barber on the "Yamamoto Mission". Over southern Bougainville, Barber shot down G4M1 Betty 2656 Tail 323 with Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto. Afterwards, he joined two others P-38G 42-12690 Nose 100 pilot 1st Lt Besby T. Holmes and P-38G pilot Hine and shot down the second bomber G4M1 Betty 326.
Holmes dove at the bomber, firing at it and causing the left engine to smoke. Hine next fired at it. Finally, Barber fired into the fuselage and claimed to cause it to explode. Barber's P-38 was damaged by debris from this bomber that left a hole in the left wing, damaged the left intercooler and other superficial damage. The bomber ditched into the sea off Moila Point off southern Bougainville.
The three attacking P-38s were attacked by Zeros, but Holmes and Hine intercepted, allowing Barber to escape and successfully returned to base.
After the mission, this P-38 had over 100 holes from damaged suffered on the mission, and an inter cooler damaged by escorting Zeros.
Later, during 1943 (exact date unknown) this P-38 made a belly landing and was written off and salvaged for parts. Ultimate fate unknown, likely scrapped or otherwise disappeared.
Jim Lansdale adds:
"I do not recall who was flying her when she bellied-in, but the story I got was consistent with the view. One of the 347th FG pilots told me that the pilot did not or could not lower the landing gear and it slid to a stop next to a new latrine!"
USAF Serial Number Search Results - P-38G-13-LO Lightning 43-2264
"2264 participated in Admiral Yamamoto shoot down Apr 18, 1943. Crash landed at Kukum, Guadalcanal, South Pacific Apr 1943. w/o and scavenged for parts."
USAF Historical Study No. 85 USAF Credits For The Destruction of Enemy Aircraft, World War II [PDF] Alphabetical: Barber, Rex T. page 17 (PDF page 22)
Doug Canning via Wayback Machine December 17, 2014
13th Fighter Command in World War II (2004) Chapter 8 - Yamamoto Mission pages 137-162, 312 (profile)
Thanks to Jim Lansdale for additional information
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