|Pilot 2nd Lt. Gene M. Smith, O-824757 (MIA / KIA) TN
MIA August 6, 1944 at noon
Built by Republic at the Indiana Division of Republic Aviation in
Evansville, IN. Constructor Number 410. Delivered to the U. S. Army on August 17, 1943. Disassembled and shipped overseas to the Pacific and reassembled.
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. Weapon serial numbers unknown.
On August 6, 1944 one of four P-47s that took off from 7 Mile Drome (Jacskon) near Port Moresby on a training flight bound for Finschafen Airfield, led by instructor Lt. Itzkowitz. 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.
For the rest of the formation, bad weather prevented them from reaching their destination and instead attempted to land at Lae Airifeld, but also found it closed it, forcing them to instead land at Dobodura Airfield.
The next day, 5th Fighter Command was contacted a search party was conducted for Smith without results.
Smith was officially declared dead the day of the mission. He is memorialized on the tablets of the missing at Manila American Cemetery. Smith also has a memorial marker in Chattanooga National Cemetery in Chattanooga, TN at plot MA, 23.
Missing Air Crew Report (MACR) 8111
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) -
Gene M. Smith
FindAGrave - 2Lt Gene M Smith (tablets of the missing)
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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February 4, 2018