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  P-40E "Tarheel" Serial Number 41-5509 Tail 85
5th AF
49th FG
9th FS

49th FG c1942

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John Sluce 1970

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Stan Gajda 1982

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via Aerothentic 1999
Pilot  2nd. Lt. George E. Preddy Jr. (survived) Greensboro, NC
Crashed  July 12, 1942
MACR  none

Aircraft History
Built by Curtiss in Buffalo, New York. Constructors Number 16501. Delivered to the U.S. Army Air Force (USAAF) as P-40E Warhawk serial number 41-5509. Disassembled and shipped to Australia and reassembled.

Wartime History
Assigned to the 5th Air Force (5th AF), 49th Fighter Group (49th FG), 9th Fighter Squadron (9th FS) "The Flying Knights". Assigned to pilot 2nd. Lt. George Preddy with crew chief Sgt Yates. Nicknamed "Tarheel" for Peddy's home state of North Carolina painted in white block letters on the left side of the nose below the engine exhaust stacks. The right side of the nose had the nose art of a dragon puffing smoke out of its nose. Assigned Squadron Number 85 painted in white on the center of the cowling.

Mission History
On July 12, 1942 in the late afternoon took off from Livingstone Airfield (34 Mile) near Darwin piloted by 2nd. Lt. George E. Preddy Jr. as one of four P-40s on a training flight to simulate a dogfight over Manton Reservoir south of Darwin. The formation was led by P-40E 41-35943 pilot 2nd. Lt. John Sauber, with P-40E "Tarheel" 41-5509 pilot 2nd. Lt. George Preddy, Lt. Jack Donalson and 2nd Lt. Deems Taylor.

During a simulated dogfight, Sauber dove in from a higher altitude on Preddy, but misjudged the distance and collided over the Manton Reservoir. After the impact, was injured Preddy but managed to bail out before his damaged Warhawk crashed into the ground.

The crash site of this P-40 remains near Manton Reservoir south of Darwin.

Stan Gajda adds:
"I have visited that crash in August 1982 after being given directions on how to find the wreck site by John Sluce who used to live in Darwin."

During 1970 to 1982, the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) recovered the engine from this crash site.

Fate of the Pilot
After recovering from his injuries, Preddy was reassigned to the European Theater of Operations (ETO) to the 352nd Fighter Group, 328th Squadron flying the P-51D Mustang. In total, he claimed 26.83 victories. On December 25, 1944 during the "Battle of the Bulge" accidentally shot down by U.S. ground forces near Liege in Belgium and was killed on impact.

Preddy was buried at Lorraine American Cemetery and Memorial Saint-Avold, Departement de la Moselle, Lorraine, France at plot A, row 21, grave 43. He earned the Distinguished Service Cross (DFC), Silver Star with Oak Leaf Cluster.

The Preddy Exhibit devoted to George Preddy and his brother Bill Preddy at the Piedmont Triad International Airport (Greensboro Airport). Also, business I-85 in Greensboro, North Carolina is named "Preddy Boulevard" after the two Preddy brothers.

USAF Serial Number Search Results - P-40E Warhawk 41-5509
"5509 collided with P-40E 41-35943 Manton Dam Jul 10, 1942."
AWM Kittyhawks, Darwin (F01778) playback time: 0:00-0:10 pilot Preddy and the dragon nose art of this aircraft parked at Livingston Field prior to July 12, 1942
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - George E. Preddy Jr.
FindAGrave - Maj George Earl Preddy, Jr (photos, grave photo)
Protect & Avenge (1995) page 50 (map) date of crash incorrectly listed as July 10th, 64-65 date of crash incorrectly listed as July 10th
George Preddy, Top Mustang Ace (1999) by Joe Noah and Samuel L. Sox
49th Fighter Group Aces of the Pacific (2004) page 20 (photo)
Oz @ War - Mid-Air collision of Two Kittyhawks west of Manton Reservoir
The Preddy Memorial Foundation - George Preddy
The Preddy Memorial Foundation - Piedmont Triad International Airport Preddy Exhibit

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Last Updated
July 6, 2021


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