|Pilot 2nd Lt Robert A. Koeck, O-760332 (MIA / KIA / BR) OH
Crashed December 25, 1944 at 10:45am
Koeck was credited with two aerial victories on a mission on November 24, 1944 over Carigara Bay and Leyte area. Distinguished Flying Cross, Air Medal with Oak Leaf Cluster, Purple Heart (posthumously).
Built by Lockheed Aircraft Corporation (LAC) in Burbank, California. Delivered to the U. S. Army. This
aircraft had a natural aluminum finish. Disassembled and shipped overseas and reassembled.
Assigned to the 5th Air Force, 475th Fighter Group, 431st Fighter Squadron. No known nose art or nickname. When lost engines V-1710-91 and V-1710-89 serial number A-058908 and A-057815. Weapon serial numbers listed in MACR.
On December 25, 1944 one of fifteen P-38s that took off from Dulag Airfield on Leyte on a fighter sweep and escort mission for B-24 Liberators bombing Mabalacat Field near Clark Field. Arrived over the target at 21,000' and were intercepted by 20 enemy fighters attacking from two directions.
After the initial pass, Koeck was last seen in the vicinity of Clark Field in a low descending turn on an approximate heading of 150 degrees. Over the radio, a voice believed to be Lt. Enrique Provencio told Koeck to bail out.
Also lost on the mission was P-38L 44-24889 piloted by Provencio and P-38L piloted by Fulkerson.
Recovery of Remains
After the crash, Koeck's body was recovered by Filipino guerrillas and buried at barrio Buena Angeles. Postwar, his remains were exhumed and permanently buried in Manila American Cemetery at plot A row 13 grave 52.
Nelson R. Koeck (nephew) adds:
"I am trying to find out what his aircraft plane assignment number (111-139) and aircraft nickname or nose art."
Thanks to Nelson Koeck for additional information.
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February 18, 2020