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|Pilot 2nd Lt. Dale F. Arnold, O-814629 (MIA / KIA) Wayne County, OH
Crashed April 7, 1944 at 8:20am
Built by Curtiss in Buffalo, New York. Delivered to the U. S. Army Air Force (USAAF) as P-40N-5-CU Warhawk serial number 42-105517. Disassembled and shipped overseas and reassembled.
Assigned to the 5th Air Force (5th AF), 49th Fighter Group (49th FG), 8th Fighter Squadron (8th FS). No known nickname or nose art. When lost, engine Allison V-1710-81 serial number 43-10243. Armed with six .50 caliber machine guns manufactured by Savage Arms, serial numbers 87455, 874548, 874413, 874541, 398926 and 874378. Also aboard was flare pistol E-133440.
On April 7, 1944 at 6:45am took off from Gusap Airfield piloted by 2nd Lt. Dale F. Arnold on a strike mission to strafe targets of opportunity in the Wewak area. This aircraft was part of "Red Flight" flying as wingman for the flight leader Captain Aschenbrener. The weather was scattered cumulus clouds over the shore with ceiling and visibility unlimited (CAVU) over the sea.
At 7:30am, the formation including "White Flight" and "Red Flight" was over the target area and circled "the island just off Wewak" (likely Raboin Island) and started back towards base following the north coast of New Guinea flying over Wewak and Cape Moem. Approaching Cape Moem, Captain Aschenbrener spotted a barge and flew to investigate it with Arnold flying with him.
At this same moment, This P-40 was observed to crash into the sea roughly 100 yards northeast of Cape Moem. Another source places the loss as approximately one mile offshore from Moem Point. The crash was observed by P-40N pilot 1st Lt. LaNore and P-40N pilot 1st Lt. Howard. When this aircraft failed to return it was officially listed as Missing In Action (MIA). It was believed this aircraft was flying too low, hit the sea and crashed.
1st Lt. Wayne B. Howard states in Missing Air Crew Report 4341 (MACR 4341) page 8:
"I saw spray come from his plane. It appeared that he had either hit the water and caused the spray or that his coolant had boiled over. He immediately turned out to sea, and because of his low altitude, went down about 150 yards off Cape Moem. I turned and flew over the oil-slick and saw him swimming out to sea. I could not tell if he had his rubber boat, but he apparently had his life vest, as I could see the orange color. I then flew over Cape Moem to see if anybody was going to attempt to come out to capture him. After looking the cape [Moem] over, I returned to the oil-slick and could not see him. The flight circled until relief came but he was never seen again."
Arnold was officially declared dead on April 8, 1945. He earned the Air Medal and Purple Heart, posthumously. Arnold is memorialized on the tablets of the missing at Manila American Cemetery.
NARA World War II Army Enlistment Records - Dale F. Arnold
USAF Serial Number Search Results - P-40N-5-CU Warhawk 42-105517
"105517 (49th FG) lost Apr 7, 1944, SW Pacific."
Missing Air Crew Report 4341 (MACR 4341)
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - Dale F. Arnold
FindAGrave - 2Lt Dale F Arnold (tablets of the missing)
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April 7, 1944
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