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  P-47D-2-RE Thunderbolt Serial Number 42-8059  
5th AF
348th FG
342nd FS

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342nd FS July 11, 1943

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Alfred Hagen 1996

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Via B-25 Down 1996
Pilot  F/O Wilfrid J. Desilets, Jr., T-60814 (MIA / KIA, BR) Worcester, MA
MIA  August 18, 1943
MACR  none

Aircraft History
Built by Republic at Farmingdale, NY. Delivered to the U. S. Army. Disassembled and shipped overseas to Australia and reassembled.

Wartime History
Assigned to the 5th Air Force, 348th Fighter Group, 342nd Fighter Squadron "Scourgers". No known nose art or nickname.

Mission History
On August 18, 1943 took off from 5 Mile Drome (Wards) near Port Moresby on an escort mission for C-47 Dakotas bound for Wau Airfield. This aircraft and P-47D 42-8144 entered a cumulus clouds over the Owen Stanley mountains and both became lost and failed to return from the mission and were officially declared Missing In Action (MIA). These two aircraft became the first weather related P-47 Thunderbolt losses in New Guinea. In fact, both aircraft crashed into the mountains.

Afterwards, Captain Ed Roddy of the 342nd Fighter Squadron searched for these two P-47 unsuccessfully.

In 1996, Alfred Hagen located the wreckage of this P-47 at an elevation of 8,000' on Mount Strong near Arabuka village.

Recovery of Remains
Later, the remains were recovered by US Army CILHI, coded PNG-89.

Desilets was officially declared dead on December 18, 1945. He is memorialized on the tablets of the missing at Manila American Cemetery. After his remains were recovered and identified. He was buried in June 1999 at Notre Dame Cemetery in Worcester, Massachusetts.

Note, the correct spelling of his first name is "Wilfrid" but sometimes listed as "Wilfred"
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - Wilfrid J. Desilets Jr.
Black Sunday mentions this loss
B-25 Down Hunt For A Hero footage of this P-47 crash site appears in the documentary
Kearby's Thunderbolts page 32-33

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Last Updated
June 29, 2019


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1 Missing

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