|Pilot Captain Wyatte P. Exum (survived) Galax,VA
Force Landed May 28, 1942
Built by Bell in Buffalo, New York. Delivered to the U. S. Army Air Force (USAAF) as P-39F-1-BE Airacobra serial number 41-7190. Disassembled and shipped overseas to Australia and reassembled.
Assigned to the 5th Air Force (5th AF), 8th Fighter Group (8th FG) "Cyclone's Flying Circus", 36th Fighter Squadron (36th FS) "The Flying Fiends". No known nose art or nickname.
On May 28, 1942 at 7:50am took off from 7-Mile Drome near Port Moresby piloted by Captain Wyatte P. Exum on a scramble mission to intercept A6M2 Zeros over Port Moresby. Climbing to 20,000' Exum dove down on a Zero, but his his guns jammed with only his wing .30 caliber machine guns firing. While firing, he attempted to clear the other guns but was fired on from the rear and hit. Damaged, oil began to leak coating his canopy and the propeller was disabled. Diving, he headed for 30 Mile Drome with a Zero on his tail and bailed out at 500' while the Zero circled him as he descended in his parachute. Exum landed unhurt near where his Airacobra crashed. Officially, this aircraft was written off on October 31, 1944.
Fate of the Pilot
reached the ground safely unhurt and returned returned to duty.
Note, wartime references list his first name as both "Wyatte" and "Wyatt".
USAF Serial Number Search Results - P-39F-1-BE Airacobra 41-7190
"7190 condemned Oct 31, 1944"
PNG Museum Aircraft Status Card - P-39 Airacobra piloted by Exum
Thanks to Edward Rogers for additional research and analysis
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February 18, 2020