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Built by Curtiss in Buffalo, NY. Delivered to the U. S. Army Air Force (USAAF) as P-40E Warhawk serial number 41-???? (last four digits unknown). Disassembled and shipped overseas to Australia and reassembled.
Assigned to the 49th Fighter Group (49th FG), 7th Fighter Squadron (7th FS). Assigned to pilot Lt. A. T. House. Nicknamed "Poopy".
On March 14, 1942 at 11:45am took off from Horn Island Airfield piloted by 2nd Lt. A. T. House as one of four P-40E Warhawks "A" Flight flying as wingman for flight leader Captain Bob Morrissey with element leader 2nd Lt. Clarence E. Sanford and element wingman Lt. Burtnette that scrambled at 15 second intervals to intercept an incoming formation of Japanese aircraft including G4M1 Betty bombers and A6M2 Zeros from the 4th Kōkūtai (4th Air Group).
Flying at 10,000' to the south of Horn Island, the P-40s charged their guns as bombs started to hit the western end of Horn Island Airfield. Intercepting the escorting fighters, one of the Zeros opened fire on Captain Morrissey. At the start of the air combat, House's guns failed to fire and he spontaneously decided to deliberately ram the attacking Zero to protect his flight leader. On impact, A6M2 Zero pilot Oishi exploded and spiraled into the ocean. Although his P-40 sustained damage, House was unhurt and after three landing attempts he managed to land safely at Horn Island Airfield. Lost after the dog fight, P-40E pilot Sanford ditched and was rescued.
2nd Lt. A. T. House adds:
"I continued my course directly at the enemy aircraft, expecting to get his fuselage in the heavy part of my wing. He started firing, but must have observed my approach and changed course. I continued to dive and the leading edge of my right wing went through his fuselage approx. in the middle of the canopy. I went to ram the plane, the wing went through the canopy and blew it up. There were pieces on fire and falling everywhere. My plane started falling and flipping over. The oxygen mask had me blinded for a while."
Ultimate fate of this aircraft is unknown, likely scrapped or otherwise disappeared. Afterwards, House was assigned P-40E "Hero's Poopy".
USAF Historical Study No. 85 USAF Credits For The Destruction of Enemy Aircraft, World War II Alphabetical: House A. T. Jr. page 91 (PDF page 98), Alphabetical list by theater of operation (SWP) 03/14/43 (two victories) page 335 (PDF page 342), 03/03/43 (two victories) page 340 (PDF page 346)
Horn Island (2002) pages 17, 19, 21
Darwin's Air War (Revised Edition) (2011) page 50
FindAGrave - LTC Arthur T House, Jr (photo, grave photo)
Thanks to A. T. House for additional information
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