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Built by Bell in Buffalo, New York. On April 29, 1943 delivered to the U.S. Army Air Force (USAAF) as P-39N-5-BE Airacobra serial number 42-19039. Disassembled and shipped overseas to Australia arriving May 27, 1943 and reassembled.
Assigned to the 5th Air Force (5th AF), 71st Tactical Reconnaissance Group (71st TRG), 82nd Tactical Reconnaissance Squadron (82nd TRS). Nicknamed "San Antonio Rose" on the left side of the cockpit and "Jackie and Norma". Assigned to Lt. Charles W. Borders with crew chief was Sgt. Eugene F. Behnkendorf. A scoreboard was painted on the side of the nose wit six bomb insignia and one Japanese flag for a victory claim.
This Airacobra operated from Dobodura, Finschafen, Saidor, Owi and Biak flown by Lt. Charles W. Borders, who flew 56 combat missions in this plane. Next, assigned to the 110th Tactical Reconnaissance Squadron and operated from Tadji Airfield. On May 21, 1945 stricken from service and abandoned.
Until 1967 this aircraft remained in situ at Tadji Airfield.
During 1967 salvaged by the Goroka Branch of Air Force Association. Disassembled and loaded onto RAAF Caribou transport, and taken to Goroka, where it was initially displayed at the show grounds. After the plane was vandalized, it was put into storage.
It was not until the early 1980's, through the efforts of volunteer Rick Giddings that it was properly mounted on a pole and displayed again at J.K. McCarty Museum.
PNG Museum Aircraft Status Card - P-39N Airacobra 42-19039
Airacobra Advantage by Rick Mitchell and letter from Rick Giddings
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