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  P-47D-3-RA Thunderbolt Serial Number 42-22659  
USAAF
5th AF
1st FECF (P)

Pilot  2nd Lt. Gene M. Smith, O-824757 (MIA / KIA) TN
MIA  August 6, 1944 at noon
MACR  8111

Aircraft History
Built by Republic at the Indiana Division of Republic Aviation in Evansville, IN. Constructor Number 410. On August 17, 1943 delivered to the U. S. Army Air Force (USAAF) as P-47D-3-RA Thunderbolt serial number 42-22659. Disassembled and shipped overseas to the Pacific and reassembled.

Wartime History
Assigned to the 5th Air Force, 1st Far East Composite Fighter, Provisional (FEAF (P). No known nose art or nickname. When lost, engine R-2800-21 serial number 42-125786. Armed with eight .50 caliber machine guns makers and serial numbers unknown.

Mission History
On August 6, 1944 took off from 7 Mile Drome (Jacskon) near Port Moresby piloted by 2nd Lt. Gene M. Smith as one of four P-47 Thunderbolts led by instructor Lt. Itzkowitz on a training flight bound for Finschafen Airfield. The weather was broken overcast at 2,000' to 2,400' with scattered showers.

Last seen roughly 34 miles off Salamaua at noon, where it was believed he buzzed the beach area. He did not contact or signal anyone else in the flight. When this aircraft failed to return it was officially listed as Missing In Action (MIA). The other three P-47s in the formation were unable to land at Finschafen Airfield due to bad weather an diverted to Lae Airfield, but also found it closed in by bad weather and instead flew further south to Dobodura Airfield and landed safely.

Search
The next day, 5th Fighter Command was contacted a search was conducted for Smith without results.

Memorials
Smith was officially declared dead the day of the mission. He is memorialized at Manila American Cemetery on the tablets of the missing. Smith also has a memorial marker in Chattanooga National Cemetery in Chattanooga, TN at plot MA, 23.

References
USAF Serial Number Search Results - P-47D-3-RA Thunderbolt 42-22659
"22659 (1st Far East Composite Fighter Group) lost Aug 6, 1944 from unknown cause 34 mi From Salamaua Morobe, Papua New Guinea. Pilot MIA and presumed killed. MACR 8111"
Missing Air Crew Report (MACR) 8111
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - Gene M. Smith
FindAGrave - 2Lt Gene M Smith (tablets of the missing)
FindAGrave - Gene Marshall Smith (memorial marker)
PNG Museum Aircraft Status Card - P-47 Thunderbolt 42-22659
Thanks to Kenneth D. Wilson for constructor number

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Last Updated
August 3, 2019

 

Tech Info
P-47

Map
Map
May 27, 1944

MIA
MIA
1 Missing
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