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|Pilot F/O Robert M. Gentile, T-060795 (MIA / KIA) Middlesex County, MA
MIA November 7, 1943 at 1:00pm
Built by Lockheed Aircraft Corporation (LAC) in Burbank. Delivered to the U. S. Army Air Force (USAAF) as P-38G-15-LO Lightning Serial Number 43-2386. This aircraft had a natural aluminum finish. Disassembled and shipped overseas and reassembled.
Assigned to the 5th Air Force, 8th Fighter Group, 80th Fighter Squadron "Headhunters". Nicknamed "Lil-De-Icer / G.I Annie". When lost, V-1710-55 and V-1710-89 serial number 42-32956 and 42-28960. Weapon serial numbers not noted in Missing Air Crew Report 1202 (MACR 1202).
On November 7, 1943 took off from Kiriwina Airfield piloted by F/O Robert M. Gentile escorting B-24 Liberators on a bombing mission against Rabaul. As the formation reached Wide Bay, Gentile gave the snafu signal to abort the mission and asked to be escorted on the return flight. Returning, he was escorted by his element 1st Lt. Leland B. Blair roughly 30 miles south of Wide Bay before entering a bad weather overcast at 25,000'. Blair called to him on the radio to fly on his wing and try to fly around the weather. He did not get the radio message and flew into the weather at slow speed and was was seen south of St. George's Channel to the west of Wide Bay. When this aircraft failed to return it was officially listed as Missing In Action (MIA).
Immediately after loosing Gentile, escorting Blair searched the area for 30 minutes before he returning to base alone. Afterwards, a routine search by American fighters and bombers in this locality failed to locate any trace of this plane or pilot.
Gentile was officially declared dead the day of the mission. He earned the Air Medal and Purple Heart, posthumously. Gentile is memorialized at Manila American Cemetery on the tablets of the missing.
NARA World War II Army Enlistment Records - Robert M. Gentile
Missing Air Crew Report 1202 (MACR 1202) created November 8, 1943
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - Robert M. Gentile
FindAGrave - FltOff Robert M Gentile (tablets of the missing photo)
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Nov 7, 1943
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