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  P-38 Lightning Serial Number ?  
5th AF
360th Service Group

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AWM July 8, 1945
Pilot  2nd Lt. John P. Carter (survived) Dallas, TX
Crashed  July 5, 1945
MACR  none

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

Wartime History
Assigned to the 5th Air Force (5th AF), 360th Service Group (360th SrG) part of the Far East Air Force Combat Replacement and Training Center (FEAF CRTC). No known nickname or nose art.

Mission History
On July 5, 1945 took off from Nadzab Airfield piloted by 2nd Lt. John P. Carter on a training mission over Wewak. Over the Sepik River at 5,000' both engines failed and Carter bailed out successfully. His P-38 crashed into the swamp nearby.

Fate of the Pilot
Carter landed unhurt in kunai grass swamp roughly 250 yards from the Karawari River near the Sepik River approximately 10 miles northeast of Lake Chambri. He was equipped with only a pint of water and a D-ration bar of chocolate.

On the ground, Carter was immediately spotted and buzzed by another P-38s in his flight. Immediately afterwards, a search and rescue was planned to recover him.

On July 6, 1945, two B-25 Mitchells buzzed him and dropped emergency rations and supplies, but they fell wide and were never located by Carter. Meanwhile, Catalina A24-44 attempted to unable to rescue him, but was too large to land in the Karawari River. Rather, a smaller RAAF Walrus seaplane was needed.

On July 7, 1945 Catalina A24-44 returned and dropped supplies that Carter was able to retrieve the supplies then fell asleep from exhaustion. Meanwhile, a RAAF Walrus piloted by F/O Agnew circled him but was unable to land due to bad weather and a message was dropped to him to wait until the next day and instructed him to walk roughly 250 yards towards the Karawari River, but Carter was unable to reach the river due to the thick kunai grass and swamp.

On July 8, 1945 Catalina A24-44 escorted Walrus X9515 piloted by F/O Agnew with Lt. Johnston from the Australian New Guinea Administrative Unit (ANGAU) and two native police boys. The Walrus landed in the Karawari River despite floating debris and a four to six knot current. Meanwhile, Beaufort A9-657 piloted by F/L Thomas and Beaufort A9-680 piloted by S/L Dewar both from 100 Squadron covered the rescue by strafing nearby villages and suspect Japanese positions.

While the RAAF Walrus X9515 waited on the Karawari River, the rescue party deployed a life raft, reached the shore and used machetes and carried a stretcher before reaching Carter and leading him back to the river. The entire rescue took two hours. Afterwards, the Walrus successfully took off and landed at Tadji Airfield. Later, Carter was assigned to the 8th Fighter Group, 80th Fighter Squadron "Headhunters".

Carter passed away August 5, 2007. He is buried at Laurel Land Memorial Park in Fort Worth, TX.

NARA World War II Army Enlistment Records - John P. Carter
Missing Air Crew Report (MACR) none
Wings: Official Magazine of the R.A.A.F. "Walrus rescues Yank pilot" September 4, 1945 page 18
Flight and Aircraft Engineer "R.A.A.F. Air/Sea Rescue - How an American Pilot was Picked Up from Under the Noses of the Japs by a Walrus of the Royal Australian Air Force" August 30, 1945 page 228
NAA Agnew Neil Masson Ewing (NAA: A9300, AGNEW N M E)
NAA [Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) miscellaneous records:] RAAF War History Section - War Stand Reports - No. 111 Air Sea Rescue Flight (NAA: AWM66, 102 B)
6. Aircraft [Catalina] A24-44 (F/Lt Miller) to locate P-38 pilot forced down approximately 10 miles N.E. of Lake Chambri in the Sepik River area. Survivor located in dense kunai grass but nearest river suitable for alighting situated 2 miles away. The pilot was only 1/2 mile from the Kerawari River in which a Seagull could alight. It was then too late in the afternoon for a Seagull to arrive before dusk so the pilot was led towards the river.
7. Aircraft A25-55 (F/Lt. Miller) covered survivor but due to low cloud base the Seagull was unable to locate him and returned to base. It was not possible to carry out another attempt before dusk. Messages were dropped to the survivor keeping him au fait with the the situation. Emergency supplies of food and water were dropped to him and he was led to within 250 yards of the river.
8. Aircraft A24-44 (F/Lt. Miller) proceeded to Awar to lead the Seagull to the survivor's position. This was done and the pilot led out of the kunai by two native police boys. When the rescue was affected enemy held villages along the Sepik River were strafed."
WW2 Nominal Roll - Clive William Miller
Commonwealth of Australia Gazette - page 490, position 46 - 28 February 1946
London Gazette page 1076, position 34 - 22 February 1946 [Flying Officer “N.M. Agnew (Aus-42303i)”]
WW2 Nominal Roll - Neil Masson Ewing Agnew

RAAF Museum Point Cook - Air-Sea Rescue Units
RAAF No. 100 Squadron Unit History Sheet July 1-31, 1945
FindAGrave - John Paul Carter, Sr (photo)
80th Fighter Squadron Headhunters Association - Headhunter Headlines Vol XVIII, No. 7 February 1, 2008
Thanks to Bob Piper and Edward Rogers for research and analysis

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Last Updated
June 30, 2020


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