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  P-39N-5-BE "Blazing Blonde" Serial Number 42-18813  
USAAF
5th AF
71st TRG
110th TRS

Former Assignments
35th FG
41st FS


Norman Barnes 1943


5th AF 1944

Click For Enlargement
Justin Taylan Sept 2005

Click For Enlargement
Ferrante May 1, 2019
Pilot  1st Lt. Gabriel J. Eggud, O-669878 (MIA / KIA, BR) Staten Island, NY
Crashed  July 6, 1944
MACR  none

Aircraft History
Built by Bell in Buffalo, New York. Delivered to the U.S. Army Air Force (USAAF) as P-39N-5-BE Airacobra serial number 42-18813. Disassembled and shipped overseas to Australia and reassembled.

Wartime History
Assigned to the 5th Air Force (5th AF), 35th Fighter Group (35th FG), 41st Fighter Squadron (41st FS) "The Flying Buzzsaws". Nicknamed "Blazing Blonde" with the nose art of a blonde woman seated with her left leg raised wearing high heel, a skirt, bra and bow in her blonde hair atop a white background spanning the entire lower half of the cockpit door.

Later, assigned to the 71st Tactical Reconnaissance Group (71st TRG), 110th Tactical Reconnaissance Squadron (11th TRS). Likely, this Airacobra retained the nickname and nose art. The tail was painted white. Assigned to pilot Lt. Gabriel J. Eggud and crew chief SSgt Brown.

Wartime History
On July 6, 1944 took off from Tadji Airfield piloted by 1st Lt. Gabriel J. Eggud armed with a bomb on an armed reconnaissance mission to bomb and strafe Japanese troop concentrations, supply routes and artillery positions between Suain to Wewak on the north coast of New Guinea.

While making a dive bombing attack from approximately 110', his bomb either exploded prematurely or his plane was too low and caught in the explosion that blew off both wings and caused the plane to crash. When this aircraft failed to return it was officially listed as Missing In Action (MIA).

Wreckage
In fact, this P-39 crashed at Banak. Today, the crash site is located near the village water supply. As of 2005, the crash site includes the tail section, propeller hub, main landing gear legs and a few other pieces of wreckage. Nearby is a single machine gun and the 37mm cannon.

Justin Taylan visited the crash site in 2005:
"According to local memory, this aircraft was hit by anti-aircraft fire over Kairiru Island and flew smoking and on fire to the coast of New Guinea then crashed at this location. This Airacobra has a Aeroproducts hydraulic propeller, indicating it was either a P-39F, P-39K-1, P-39N or P-39Q model."

On May 1, 2019 an Investigation Team (IT) from Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA) conducted interviews and dug a test pit and screened soil at the crash site. Between August 13, 2019 until September 17, 2019 a Recovery Team (RT) from Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA) conducted an archaeological survey and excavation at the crash site. They recovered human remains including teeth, material evidence, life-support equipment, and diagnostic and non-diagnostic aircraft wreckage including cockpit plexiglass, a rudder pedal, a cockpit door handle, a brake control unit and instrument panel components. Afterwards, all evidence was sent to the DPAA Laboratory at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam (JBPHH) for identification.

On September 17, 2020 the Department of Defense (DoD) announced the identification of Eggud. To identify his remains, scientists from DPAA used dental and anthropological analysis, material and circumstantial evidence. Additionally, scientists from the Armed Forces Medical Examiner System (AFMES) used mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) analysis.

Memorials
Eggud was officially declared dead the day of the mission after being declared non-recoverable on September 20, 1949. He earned the Air Medal and Purple Heart, posthumously. Eggud is memorialized at Manila American Cemetery on the tablets of the missing. After his identification, a rosette was added next to his name indicating he was accounted-for.

Eggud will be buried at Arlington National Cemetery in section 60 on September 16, 2022.

Relatives
Gabriel Eggud born 1878 (father)
Lydia Eggud born 1886 died September 21, 1954 (mother)
Emma Eggud born 1906 (sister)
Julia Eggud born 1908 (sister)
Mary Eggud born 1910 (sister)
Wilhelmina Eggud born 1915 (sister)
Mary "Betty" Elizabeth (née Reardon) Eggud (wife)
Donna Gabrielle (née Eggud) McLean born July 23, 1944 died June 25, 2015 (daughter)
Tracey McLean (granddaughter)

References
Pacific Wrecks - 1st Lt. Gabriel J. Eggud
NARA 1930 United States Federal Census, New York, Richmond, Richmond Borough, 43-301, Sheet 4A, line 43- Gabriel Eggud age 11
NARA WWII Draft Registration Card - Gabriel J. Eggud
NARA World War II Army Enlistment Records - Gabriel J. Eggud
NARA WWII Honor List of Dead and Missing - New York page 117 - Gabriel J. Eggud
New York State Military Museum - World War II Honor List - Gabriel J. Eggud
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - Gabriel J. Eggud
FindAGrave - 1Lt Gabriel J Eggud (photo, tablets of the missing photo)
USAF Serial Number Search Results - P-39N-5-BE Airacobra 42-18813
110th Tactical Reconassiance Squadron, July 1944 page 2
110th Tactical Reconassiance Squadron, July 1944 page 2 "B. Narrative Report on Combat Operations... Our squadron lost two planes carrying the pilots with them… 1st Lieut. Gabriel J. Eggud, flying the other lost plane was last seen crashing after dropping his bomb two [sic too] low, thereby coming under the full weight of the explosion."
5th Air Force Statistical Summary - July 1944 - P-39N Airacobra 42-18813
"Bomb exploded immediately on release. Complete Loss. Pilot killed."
Staten Island Advance "Salute to the Services" circa 1944
Staten Island Advance "Army Pilot Is Killed in South Pacific" July 1944
Air Force magazine "Gabby" Vol. 31 No. 6 (June 1948) page 46
"'Gabby': As a member of the Air Force Ass'n [USAF Association], I wonder if any of the members could help me with some information I have been seeking for the last three years. It is in reference to my brother who was assumed killed in action over New Guinea in July, 1944, when a bomb exploded prematurely in his plane. I would be grateful for any aid in contacting anyone who knew my brother. He was Lt. Gabriel J. Eggud, 110 Recon (F) Squadron, 71 Recon (F) Group. His nickname was 'Gabby', Wilhelmina Eggud, 565 Oakland Ave., Staten Island, 10, N.Y."
Rocky Boyer's War: An Unvarnished History of the Air Blitz that Won the War in the Southwest Pacific (2017) by Allen D. Boyer pages 253 (Eggud loss), 417 (index)
DPAA Investigation Team Visits East Sepik Province [Image 1 of 7] DPAA investigation May 1, 2019
U.S. Army Air Force Erection and Maintenance Instructions For Army Model P-39 Series page 12A, 13, 18-19, 30
"P-39F, P-39K-1, P-39N-O, P-39N-1 and P-39Q-1 airplanes employ an Aeroproducts hydraulic propeller"
DPAA News Release 20-102 "Pilot Accounted For From World War II (Eggud, G.)" released September 22, 2020, updated October 5, 2021
DPAA Personnel Profile - 1st Lt Gabriel J. Eggud
WIVB4 "Remains of NY veteran killed in WWII identified" October 5, 2021
Times Union "After 78 years, a World War II pilot’s journey is complete" by Chris Carola September 16, 2022
DC News Now "Soldier who died in World War II finally laid to rest in Arlington National Cemetery" by Dave Leval September 17, 2022
SILive "Staten Island WWII pilot laid to rest at Arlington National Cemetery 78 years after his death" by Dr. Gracelyn Santos September 23, 2022
Thanks to Tracey McLean, Paul Barnes, Justin Taylan and Edward Rogers and Sean Everette for additional information

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Last Updated
September 27, 2022

 

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