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  P-38G Lightning Serial Number ?  
13th AF
347th FG
339th FS

Pilot  James Morton (rescued)
Ditched  February 13, 1943
MACR  none

Aircraft History
Built by Lockheed Aircraft Corporation (LAC) in Burbank. Delivered to the U. S. Army. Disassembled and shipped overseas to the South Pacific and reassembled.

Wartime History
Assigned to the 13th Air Force (13th AF), 347th Fighter Group (347th FG), 339th Fighter Squadron (339th FS). No known nickname or nose art.

Mission History
On February 13, 1943 took off from Fighter 2 (Kukum) on Guadalcanal piloted by Lt. James Morton on a mission to escort six B-24s on the second wave of a bombing mission to the Shortland-Buin area. Two P-38s and three P-40s had to return to Guadalcanal, leaving four P-38s (along with seven P-40s) to escort the bombers.

The B-24s were attacked by 30 A6M Zeros and 15 float-equipped fighters with heavy flak fired by naval vessels below. Lost in combat are: P-40F 41-14825, P-40F 41-14110, B-24D 41-2398, B-24D 41-23975 and P-38G piloted by Rist.

Justin Taylan adds:
"I researched this mission at the Tokyo Defense archives. The following Japanese aircraft attacked: 11 Rufes (one aborted) of 802nd Kōkūtai, 20 Zeros of the 252nd Kōkūtai and 9 Zeros of the 204th Kōkūtai. A total of 39 Japanese aircraft."

Returning from the mission, the three remaining P-38s were short on fuel from excessive maneuvering during the air combat and all three ditched near the Russell Islands and the three pilots survived unhurt: P-38G pilot Cramer (rescued), P-38G pilot Lockridge (rescued) and P-38G pilot Morton (rescued).

Afterwards, all three pilots were rescued and returned to duty.

347th Fighter Group Advanced Echelon APO 709 "Preliminary Intelligence Summary of Operations of Army Fighter Planes at Cactus - December 1, 1942 to February 17, 1943" February 21, 1943 - does not list this loss
Kodochosho, 802 Kōkūtai, February 13, 1943
Kodochosho, 204 Kōkūtai, February 13, 1943
Kodochosho, 252 Kōkūtai, February 13, 1943
Guadalcanal and the Origins of the 13th Air Force pages 180-181
Vampire Squadron (1985) by William H. Starke pages 25-26
Air & Space Magazine "Above & Beyond: A Bougainville Mystery by Paul A. Roales, November 2006
Thanks to Paul A. Roales for additional information

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Last Updated
June 29, 2019


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