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  P-400 Airacobra Serial Number ? Nose 54
5th AF
35th FG
40th FS

Pilot  2nd Lt. Orville A. Kirtland, O-428830 (MIA / KIA) WA
MIA  July 11, 1942
MACR  none

Aircraft History
Built by Bell in Buffalo, New York. Assigned Royal Air Force (RAF) serial number unknown and painted in a three-color camouflage scheme. Instead, delivered to the U.S. Army. Disassembled and shipped overseas to Australia and reassembled.

Wartime History
Assigned to the 5th Air Force, 35th Fighter Group (35th FG), 40th Fighter Squadron (40th FS). No known nose art or nickname. Nose number 54.

Mission History
On July 11, 1942 took off 7-Mile Drome near Port Moresby piloted by 2nd Lt. Orville A. Kirtland during a scramble against Japanese bombers. Last seen at approximately 11:00 during an interception mission in the vicinity of 30 Mile Drome (Rogers). Engaged by A6M2 Zeros, Kirtland was not observed to crash and failed to return from the mission.

A search was conducted afterwards by aircraft in the vicinity of the engagement but revealed no trace of his plane.

Kirtland was officially declared dead the day of the mission. He is memorialized on the tablets of the missing at Manila American Cemetery.

The Aircraft Wrecks in the South Pacific Area, Pacific Aviation Society
Joe Baugher "Airacobra I for RAF, P-400"
American Battle Monuments Comission (ABMC) - Orville A. Kirtland
FindAGrave - 2Lt Orville A Kirtland (tablets of the missing photo)
40th Fighter / Flight Test Squadron Associate "WWII Honor Roll" via Wayback Machine July 23, 2008
Thanks to Edward Rogers for additional information

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Last Updated
July 3, 2021


Technical Info

1 Missing
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