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|Pilot Captain Eldon E. Stratton, O-428388 (MIA / KIA) McDonald County, MO
Crashed August 30, 1943
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 the South Pacific (SOPAC) and reassembled.
Assigned to the 13th Air Force (13th AF), 18th Fighter Group (18th FG), 12th Fighter Squadron (12th FS). No known nose art or nickname.
On August 30, 1943 took off from Fighter 2 (Kukum) on Guadalcanal piloted by Captain Eldon E. Stratton on a mission to escort B-24 Liberators bombing Kahili Airfield (Buin) on southern Bougainville. Over the target, Stratton was hit by anti-aircraft fire over the target, then entered combat with A6M Zeros over the target. Stratton claimed one shot down, but was hit from behind by another Zero, sustaining more damage. His wingman Moore chased this Zero away, but more attacked, and Moore again attempted to protect him. Unable to stop further attacks, Stratton's Airacobra was set on fire and crashed into the sea off the target.
Stratton was officially declared dead the day of the mission. Stratton is memorialized at Manila American Cemetery on the tablets of the missing. Also, a memorial marker at Peace Valley Cemetery in Anderson, MS.
Previously, during the April 18, 1943 "Yamamoto Mission" Stratton flew a P-38 Lightning on the flying top cover in the second flight, as element leader.
NARA World War II Army Enlistment Records - Eldon E. Stratton
Fold3 NARA "COMAIR New Georgia Combat Report" page 39
"August 30, 1943 - Remarks: P-39 pilot down off Genongga, rescued by natives [incorrect]. 1st Lt. W. T. Mayberry (VMF-123) shot down between Fauro I and N. of Vella. CW notified... Own losses: 1 P-39 or 0 down SE Shortlds."
Diary of Myron Pedersen, 339th Fighter Squadron (339th FS) September 2, 1943 via Mike Pedersen (son)
"Sept 2  - Capt Stratton, Eddy, and [August 25, 1943] Joe Hill - all shot down over Kahili [August 30, 1943] in P-39's. Stratton was best 39 pilot I have yet seen fly."
13th Fighter Command in World War II pages 139, 150 (photo), 202
No MACR was apparently created for this loss
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - Eldon E. Stratton
FindAGrave - Capt Eldon E Stratton (tablets of the missing)
FindAGrave - Capt Eldon E. Stratton (memorial marker photo)
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