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Frank Sabben 1973
|Pilot 2nd Lt William B. Felker, O-789012 (MIA / KIA, BR) Somerset, ME
MIA December 3, 1942
Built by Bell in Buffalo, New York. Delivered to the U. S. Army Air Force (USAAF) as P-39 Airacobra model and serial number unknown. Disassembled and shipped overseas to Australia and reassembled.
Assigned to the 5th Air Force (5th AF), 35th Fighter Group (35th FG), 40th Fighter Squadron. No known nickname or nose art. No known nose number.
On December 3, 1942 took off from 7 Mile Drome near Port Moresby on a patrol mission over the Buna area. During the mission, this aircraft experienced engine troubles and told to fly highter. This AIracobra failed to return and was declared Missing In Action (MIA).
Felker was officially declared dead on December 12, 1945. After the recovery of remains, he was buried in a private cemetery in Maine.
During 1973, locals recovered a pair of machine guns and belted 50 caliber and 30 caliber ammunition from the crash site plus an ID braclete. These items were transported to Kokoda and given to kiap Doug Robbins. Later, the remains were taken to the U. S. Embassy in Port Moresby.
Frank Sabben adds:
"The bullets were mostly, if not all, dated 1942. I did not see the aircraft but was told it had one engine, one cockpit and amongst the gear recovered by locals were 30cal and 50cal bullets."
NARA World War II Army Enlistment Records - William B. Felker
40th Fighter / Flight Test Squadron Associate "WWII Honor Roll" via Wayback Machine July 23, 2008
FindAGrave - Lieut William Blin Felker (grave photos)
Thanks to Frank Sabben, Edward Rogers and Daniel Leahy for additional information
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