|Pilot 1st Lt. Maryan J. Zaleski, O-662716 (KIA, BR) MS
Crashed March 6, 1944
Built by Bell in Buffalo, New York. Delivered to the U. S. Army Air Force (USAAF) as P-39Q-5-BE Airacobra serial number 42-19939. Disassembled and shipped overseas and reassembled.
On November 24, 1943 assigned 5th Air Force, 71st Tactical Reconnaissance Group, 82nd Tactical Reconnaissance Squadron. No known nose art or nickname.
On March 6, 1944 took off from Horanda Airfield near Dobodura piloted by 1st Lt. Maryan J. Zaleski and crashed into the jungle while buzzing the runway roughly a mile to the northwest, killing the pilot on impact. Another report says this P-39 crashed on take off near Popondetta. The cause of the crash was unknown.
Recovery of Remains
The next day, Zaleski's body was recovered and buried at Soputa Cemetery.
Zaleski was officially declared dead the day of the mission. Postwar, his remains were transported to the United States for permenant burial at Arlington National Cemetery at section 12 site 4646.
PNG Museum Aircraft Status Card - P-39Q Airacobra 42-19939
Missing In Action according to US Army CILHI list circa 1990s, page 11 (incorrectly listed as MIA)
M/Sgt. W. E. Ursprung Jounral
March 6 - Lt. Zaleski (Zero Zeke) crashed into the jungle while buzzing our engineering section
March 7 - Lt. Zaleski buried. I was member of firing squad.
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March 3, 2019