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26th PRS c1945
|Pilot 2nd Lt. Henry R. Willis, 2027139 (MIA / KIA) GA
MIA July 10, 1945
Built by Lockheed Aircraft Corporation (LAC) in Burbank. Delivered to the U. S. Army Air Force (USAAF) as P-38L-1-LO Lightning serial number 44-24485. Converted into a F-5E-4-LO Lightning photographic reconnaissance version. Disassembled and shipped overseas to the South West Pacific Area (SWPA) and reassembled.
Assigned to the 5th Air Force (5th AF), 6th Photographic Reconnaissance Group (6th PRG), 26th Photographic Reconnaissance Squadron (26th PRS). No known nose art or nickname. When lost engines V-1710-133-111 serial number A-056950 and A-058560. Equipped with cameras: two K-22 12" cone and 6" cone cameras.
On July 10, 1945 took off from Lingayen Airfield piloted by 2nd Lt. Henry R. Willis on a photographic reconnaissance mission over Kiangan. Last contacted the ground station by radio three minutes after take off. Afterwards, no further transmissions were received. When this aircraft failed to return it was officially listed as Missing In Action (MIA).
At 9:15am 309th Air Sea Rescue was notified and at 11:30 an F-5 Lightning search mission reported nil sighting near Kiangan. At 11:45 an Air Sea Rescue searched had nil sighting.
Willis was officially declared dead the day of the mission. He earned the Air Medal, Purple Heart, posthumously and was promoted to 1st Lieutenant. Willis is memorialized at Manila American Cemetery on the tablets of the missing. He also has a memorial marker at Hillcrest Cemetery in Sylvester, GA.
USAF Serial Number Search Results - P-38L-1-LO Lightning 44-24485
"24485 to F-5E-4-LO"
Missing Air Crew Report 14752 (MACR 14752) created July 11, 1945
26 Photo [26th Photographic Reconnaissance Squadron Yearbook] page 5 (dedication), 7 (photo)
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - Henry R. Willis
FindAGrave - 2Lt Henry R Willis (tablets of the missing photo)
FindAGrave - Lieut Henry Ray Willis (memorial marker)
July 10, 1945
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