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  P-38J-15-LO Lightning Serial Number 43-28516  
5th AF
49th FG
9th FS

USAAF c1943
Pilot  Lt. Col. David A. Campbell, O-392746 C.O. 49th FG (MIA / KIA) Plattsburg, OH
MIA  June 3, 1944
MACR  6060

Aircraft History
Built by Lockheed Aircraft Corporation (LAC) in Burbank. Delivered to the U. S. Army Air Force (USAAF) as P-38J-15-LO Lightning serial number 43-28516. Disassembled and shipped overseas to Australia and reassembled.

Wartime History
Assigned to the 5th Air Force, 49th Fighter Group, 9th Fighter Squadron. No known nickname or nose art. When lost, engines V-1710-91 serial number A-045543 and V-1710-89 serial number A-045066. Weapon serial numbers not listed in Missing Air Crew Report 6060 (MACR 6060).

Mission History
On June 3, 1944 at 8:30am took off from Hollandia Airfield piloted by Lt. Col. David A. Campbell as one of nineteen P-38s from the 49th Fighter Group on a mission to escort B-25 Mitchells over Babo. Weather was scattered cumulus clouds with 7/10 coverage from 2,000' to 8'000' with good visibility.

Campbell was leading "Blue Flight" with wingman Major Robert V. McHale and second element 1st Lt. Alfred B. Lewelling with his wingman 1st Lt. Huard H. Norton. Over the target between 11:30am to 11:45am at an altitude of 8,000', the P-38s spotted six enemy planes below flying at approximately 1,000'.

The formation released their drop tanks and the formation made a steep dive to intercept. During the dive, be became separated from his wingman Major Robert V. McHale and second element 1st Lt. Alfred B. Lewelling and 1st Lt. Huard H. Norton never located or rejoined him due to clouds.

After the dive, a sprawling dogfight ensued between the P-38s with approximately 15-20 A6M Zeros and Ki-43 Oscars. Two other 49th FG P-38 pilots saw Col. Campbell chasing an enemy plane into a cloud, but nobody saw either plane come out.

Another pilot saw plane parts falling out from the bottom of the cloud, and suspect an aerial collision. When Campbell failed to return from the mission he was officially declared Missing In Action (MIA).

Possibly, Campbell might have bailed out near Kasira and was captured by the Japanese and became a Prisoner Of War (POW) and later executed.

On June 4, 1944 a search mission led by Major Robert V. McHale was made over the area, flying over the coastal area from Wakde Island around Geelvink Bay to Roon Island then over the shoreline of many islands in the Geelvink Bay area. There was no sign of this aircraft or any life boats observed.

Postwar, the crash site of this P-38 was located but no remains were found in the vicinity.

Campbell was officially declared dead on February 9, 1946. He earned the Distinguished Service Cross (DSC), Distinguished Flying Cross (DFC) with Oak Leaf Cluster, Air Medal with two Oak Leaf Clusters and Purple Heart, posthumously. Campbell is memorialized at Manila American Cemetery on the tablets of the missing. He also has a memorial marker at Plattsburg Cemetery in Plattsburg, OH.

NARA World War II Army Enlistment Records - David A. Campbell
USAF Historical Study No. 85 USAF Credits For The Destruction of Enemy Aircraft, World War II Alphabetical: Campbell David A. page 35 (PDF page 40)
USAF Serial Number Search Results P-38J-15-LO Lightning 43-28516
Missing Air Crew Report 6060 (MACR 6060) created June 5, 1944
PNG Museum Aircraft Status Card - P-38J Lightning 43-28516
June 1944 USAAF Overseas Accident Reports does not list this loss
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - David A. Campbell
FindAGrave - LtC David A Campbell (tablets of the missing photo)
FindAGrave - David Andrew Campbell (memorial marker photo) date of death listed as June 3, 1943 incorrectly

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Last Updated
June 29, 2019


Tech Info

Map June 3, 1944

1 Missing
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