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  P-38F Lightning Serial Number ?  
5th AF
35th FG
17th PS

Pilot  Captain Jim Porter (survived)
Ditched  November 4, 1942
MACR  none

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

Wartime History
On September 17, 1942 assigned to the 5th Air Force, 35th Fighter Group. In November 1942 assigned to the 17th Pursuit Squadron (Provisional) at Amberley Field until disbanded during late December 1942 or early January 1943.

Mission History
On November 4, 1942 took off from Amberley Field piloted by Captain Jim Porter as one of seven P-38s plus a B-25 Mitchell on a ferry flight flying via Horn Island Airfield bound for Port Moresby.

After landing at Horn Island Airfield to refuel, the formation took off again. After take off, the right engine of this P-38 failed. Unable to release his drop tanks, Porter made a steep turn and ditched into the sea 500 yards off Horn Island (Ngurapai) halfway between King Point Quarry and bottom of Horn Island Airfield no. 1 runway. Porter was unhurt in the ditching.

Immediately, Porter was rescued by a launch and transported to Horn Island.

Afterwards, this P-38 was towed from the sea onto King Point beach using a truck and salvaged and stripped by an Australian Repair Salvage Unit (RSU).

Keith Hopper adds:
"I have a photocopy of a photograph of Porter's P-38 on the beach being stripped by Australians (RSU), they used a blitz truck to tow it up onto the beach."

NAA "No. 28 Operational Base Unit (RAAF) at Horn Island" November 4-5, 1942
"November 4, 1942 - 1400 hours B-25 and 8 P-38’s left for Moresby [their arrival at Horn Is is not mentioned], took off from No. 2 runway. One P-38 starboard engine cut out over King Point, made a steep turn and went into sea 500 yards off shore halfway between King Point Quarry and bottom of No. 1 runway.  Pilot picked up OK by rescue launch.  All aircraft returned to Horn Island.  Attempted salvage P-38.
November 5, 1942 - 0945 B-25 and 7 P-38’s departed.  P-38 taken to King Point beach, required next hightide to complete beaching."
39th Fighter Squadron Diary - November 6, 1942
"Douglas, Rauch and six strangers brought up eight ships to replace the ones we almost sent to Guadalcanal."
The location of the ditching was not given in records.
Thanks Keith Hopper and Edward Rogers for additional information.

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Last Updated
June 29, 2019


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