|Pilot 1st Lt Robert Parker, O-661368 (MIA / KIA) MI
MIA November 15, 1943 at 10:05am
Built by Curtiss in Buffalo, New York. Delivered to the U. S. Army Air Force (USAAF) as P-40N Warhawk serial number 42-105509. Disassembled and shipped overseas to Australia and reassembled.
Assigned to the 5th Air Force, 8th Fighter Group, 35th Fighter Squadron. No known nose art or nickname. Squadron letter "W" was painted on both sides of the nose. The spinner was painted yellow with a white stripe on the leading edge of the wing and the lower sides of the nose. When lost, engine V-1710-81 serial number 43-107725. Weapon serial numbers unknown.
On November 15, 1943 took off from 3-Mile Drome (Kila) near Port Moresby piloted by 1st Lt. Parker on a patrol mission over Kaiapit to Lae with wingman Lt. West.
Over Kaiapit, the formation encountered Japanese fighters they claimed to be "Zeros" [Ki-43 Oscars from the 248th Sentai]. During the combat, West claimed to shoot down a "Zero" [Ki-43 Oscar] off the tail of Parker's P-40, then Parker made a diving turn and shot a Zero off the West's tail, and claimed a fighter shot down.
Pulling up towards another, this P-40 collided with a "Zero" [Ki-43 Oscar] tearing off the wing and causing the P-40 it to spin towards the ground, north of Sagarak near Kaiapit at roughly Lat 06.12 Long 146.10.
Neither pilot in the collision was observed to bail out. Wingman west followed this P-40 down to 500', but did not observe it to crash. Parker failed to return and was officially credited with two fighters shot down.
Afterwards, Lt. West and Major Davis took off from Nadzab Airfield at 2:00pm on a search mission, but failed to located the crash due to rough terrain and partial jungle coverage. Later, two liaison planes also searched without result.
Parker officially declared dead the day of the crash. He is memorialized on the tablets of the missing at Manila American Cemetery.
Parker earned the Silver Star, Distinguished Flying Cross, Air Medal with Oak Leaf Cluster, Purple Heart (posthumously).
USAF Aerial Victory Credits -
Robert Parker November 15, 1943
Missing Air Crew Report (MACR)
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) Robert Parker
FindAGrave - 1Lt Robert Parker (tablets of the missing)
PNG Museum Aircraft Status Card - P-40 Kittyhawk 42-105509 pilot Parker
248th Hoku Sentai "Hard Luck" Fighter Unit, Part 2 by Richard Dunn
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May 12, 2019