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  P-38 Lightning Serial Number ?  
USAAF
5th AF
8th FG
80th FS
"Headhunters"

Pilot  1st Lt. Elwood C. Krisher, O-437977 (MIA / KIA) Conesus, NY
Crashed  August 21, 1943
MACR  none

Pilot History
Elwood C. Krisher was born in 1920 in Conesus, Livingston County, New York. On July 17, 1941 enlisted in the U. S. Army in Rochester, New York as an aviation cadet with serial number 12025170.

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. Likely, this aircraft was either a P-38G or P-38H. Disassembled and shipped overseas to Australia and reassembled.

Wartime History
Assigned to the 5th Air Force (5th AF), 8th Fighter Group (8th FG), 80th Fighter Squadron (80th FS) "Headhunters". No known nickname or nose art.

Mission History
On August 21, 1943 around 10:00am took off from 3-Mile Drome near Port Moresby piloted by 1st Lt. Elwood C. Krisher as one of sixteen P-38s providing close escort for B-25 Mitchells on a strike mission against Dagua and But near Wewak.

This aircraft was part of a four plane element led by Norbert "Norb" Ruff. Inbound, Ruff experienced an oil failure and aborted the mission and turned his flight over to 1st Lt John Guttel and returned to base alone. During the flight, there was an overcast over the mountains and scattered clouds over the Wewak area.

Roughly fifteen miles south of Dagua, the formation was intercepted by approximately 20-40 Ki-43 Oscars and a dog fight began with U. S. aircraft claiming eleven enemy fighters shot down. During the air combat, one P-38 smoking badly was seen in the vicinity of Dagua and was last seen going through the clouds at 1,000' and was never seen again.

When this aircraft failed to return, it was officially listed as Missing In Action (MIA). Also lost was P-38 pilot Guttel (MIA) and P-38 pilot Feehan (MIA).

Memorials
Krisher was officially declared dead on January 12, 1946. He earned the Distinguished Flying Cross (DFC) with Oak Leaf Cluster, Air Medal with Oak Leaf Cluster and Purple Heart, posthumously. Krisher is memorialized on the tablets of the missing at Manila American Cemetery.

References
NARA World War II Army Enlistment Records - Elwood C. Krisher
No Missing Air Crew Report (MACR) was created for this loss
NARA World War II Prisoners of War Data File does not list Elwood C. Krisher as an official POW of the Japanese
No Missing Air Crew Report (MACR) was created for this loss
Dunkirk Evening Observer Friday, October 1, 1943 page 1
"Flier Gets Award: Headquarters, South Pacific, Oct. 1--(UP) -- Lt. Gen. George C. Kenny, commander of Allied air forces in the southwest Pacific, today awarded the air medal to 1st Lt. Elwood C. Krisher, missing, RFD 1, Conesus, N. Y. "
Beatrice Daily Sun Tuesday, July 27, 1943 page 1
"[photo caption] Three P-38 Lightning pilots indicate by spread fingers the bag of Jap Zero fighter planes, totaling 14, shot down in an aerial battle near Lae, New Guinea, June 21, Here are Lieutenants James O. Ince, Boulder, Colo., Charles K. Taylor, Magnolia, Miss., and Elwood C. Krisher, Conesus, N. Y. Ince and Krisher were each credited with a Zero while Taylor got credit for a probable."
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - Elwood C. Krisher
FindAGrave - 1Lt Elwood C Krisher (tablets of the missing photo)
PNG Museum Aircraft Status Card - P-38 Lightning piloted by Krisher
Ruff Stuff (2006) by Tina Susedik with Norbert C. Ruff page 128
"[Krisher] was part of one of the most costly missions flown by the 80th on August 21, 1943; one that still affects Norb today. None of the other pilots who returned from this mission knew what had happened to them."
MacArthur's Eagles: The U.S. Air War Over New Guinea, 1943-1944 (2005) pages 84, 343
(Page 84) "The 80th lost 2nd Lts. Robert E. Feehan, John Guttel, and Elwood G. Krisher."
Japanese Army Air Force Fighter Units And Their Aces appendix

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Last Updated
February 18, 2020

 

Tech Info
P-38

Tech Info
MIA
1 Missing
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