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Wiedmeyer May 1944
|Pilot 1st Lt. Raymond P. Wiedmeyer, O-686045 (MIA / KIA) Washington County, WI
MIA October 14, 1944 at 10:55am
Built by Republic at the Indiana Division of Republic Aviation in Evansville, IN. Constructor Number 2662. Delivered to the U. S. Army Air Force as P-47D-28-RA Thunderbolt serial number 42-28500. Disassembled and shipped overseas to the South West Pacific Area (SWPA) and reassembled.
Assigned to the 5th Air Force (5th AF), 35th Fighter Group (35th FG), 41st Fighter Squadron (41st FS). Assigned to pilot 1st Lt. Raymond P. Wiedmeyer. Nicknamed "Claire-Doll III" with the nose art of a photograph with woman's head inside a square. Below the left side of the cockpit was the name of the pilot Lt. Wiedmeyer, crew chief and armorer. When lost, engine R-2600-59 serial number FF-003847. Armed with eight .50 caliber machine guns makers and serial numbers listed in Missing Air Crew Report 10025 (MACR 10025).
On October 14, 1944 took off from from Wama Airfield (Guama, Morotai) on Morotai piloted by 1st Lt. Raymond P. Wiedmeyer as one of eight P-47s from the 41st Fighter Squadron (41st FS) plus other P-47Ds from the 40th Fighter Squadron (40th FS) on a fighter sweep over Manggar Airfield southeast Borneo to support of the bombing mission by B-24s of the oil refineries at Balikpapan.
Wiedmeyer was flying in the no. 4 position of "Beaver Red Flight". Before reaching the target, Wiedmeyer signaled to his element leader flying in the no. 3 position P-47D "Nancie-A" 42-28493 pilot 1st Lt Walter L. Sweeney that his radio was not working or transmitting.
The weather was generally clear of the the target with cumulus clouds north of the target up to 25,000' and light cumulus clouds at the northeast end of Manggar Airfield. Over the target at 10:35am at 20,000', the formation made "S turns" down the coast and after completing one of these turns "Beaver Red Flight" became strung out amid enemy fighters with Ki-43 Oscars in front of the them with then the first element, more Ki-43 Oscars then P-47D "Nancie-A" 42-28493 pilot 1st Lt Walter Sweeney, another Ki-43 Oscar then this aircraft and immediately a dogfight unfolded.
Ahead of Wiedmeyer as the dog fight began, the Oscar ahead of him made a firing pass then turned to fire on him. Returning fire, Wiedmeyer hit the Oscar exploding it and it fell into the sea. This was later officially credited as an aerial victory claim, his first and only kill. Meanwhile, Sweeney observed an enemy closing in on a crippled P-47 and dove down to its aid but lost sight of Wiedmeyer and had to maneuver to avoid another Oscar on his tail.
Wiedmeyer was last seen at approximately Lat 1° 13' S Long 116° 57' E. Afterwards, he failed to rejoin the formation and was never seen again. Since none of the pilots observed him crash, there was a possibility he bailed out or force landed. When this aircraft failed to return it was officially listed as Missing In Action (MIA).
Statement of 1st Lt. Walter L. Sweeney via Missing Air Crew Report 10025 (MACR 10025) page 3
"On 14 October 1944, I was flying #3 position in Beaver Red flight, 41st Fighter Squadron, on a mission of 8 P-47's on a fighter sweep to Balikpapan. We arrived over Manggar Strip at 1035/I, at 20,000 feet, and began to make large S turns down the coast. Completing one of these S turns, I found myself in a long string formation, with [Ki-43] Oscars leading the parade. Next came my first element, then more Oscars, then myself, then another Oscar, then Lieutenant Wiedmeyer, my wingman. After I had made my pass, I looked behind and observed the Oscar to my rear firing at me. Lieutenant Wiedmeyer was firing at the Oscar, and I observed the enemy fighter blow up in mid-air, and began to fall in a ball of fire towards the water.
After Lieutenant Wiedmeyer shot the Oscar from my tail, I dived to gain speed, to rejoin the flight and at a considerable distance away over the water, saw a Zeke [sic, likely a Ki-43 Oscar] closing on a crippled P-47. I went after the Zeke [sic Ki-43], and sometime during this pass Lieutenant Wiedmeyer became separated from me, for I had an Oscar on my tail, and there was no P-47 behind it. I do not know if he was shot down or just damaged enough to bail out.
Prior to the arrival over the target, Lieutenant Wiedmeyer made sings to me that his radio was not working, so no word was heard from him on the air."
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