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|Pilot 2nd Lt. Jesse R. "Toughy" Hague, O-425516 (MIA / KIA) Iowa
Crashed August 2, 1942
Built by Bell in Buffalo, New York. Assigned Royal Air Force (RAF) serial number BX232 and painted in a three-color camouflage scheme. Instead, delivered to the U. S. Army Air Force (USAAF) as P-400 Airacobra serial number BX232. Disassembled and shipped overseas to Australia and reassembled.
Assigned to the 5th Air Force, 35th Fighter Group, 41st Fighter Squadron. No known nose art or nickname.
On August 2, 1942 took off from 7-Mile Drome near Port Moresby along with two other Airacobras: P-400 piloted by Lt Jack Wilson and P-400 AP290 piloted by Dore on a mission to escort B-26 Marauders from the 22nd Bombardment Group on a bombing mission over Buna. Over the target, this aircraft was shot down by A6M2 Zeros from the Tainan Kōkūtai over the Ambasi area. Hague managed to ditch into the sea near the Ambasi Mission and swam ashore unhurt.
Fate of the Pilot
After swimming ashore at Ambasi, Hague joined a group of downed American aviators and Australian Army spotters. Later, they join Anglican missionaries Reverend James Benson, May Hayman and Mavis Parkins from Gona Anglican Mission. The group tried to escape inland but were found near Dobudura No. 2.
Haugh was last seen by Reverend James Benson firing his Tommy gun at the Japanese while attempting to lead them away from the group. He was never seen again, and presumably caught and killed by the Japanese.
After the war the graves of those killed in this incident were found, and their remains recovered. Hauge was never found and is still listed as Missing In Action (MIA). He is not known to be a Japanese Prisoner Of War (POW). Likely, his remains were buried in an isolated burial where he was buried by Japanese or local people.
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