|Pilot 1st Lt James H. Pratt, O-665442 (MIA / KIA) MI
Crashed December 26, 1943 at 5:00pm approximately
Built by Republic at Farmingdale, NY. Delivered to the U. S. Army. Disassembled and shipped overseas to Australia and reassembled.
Assigned to the 5th Air Force, 348th Fighter Group, 342nd Fighter Squadron. When lost, engine R-2800 serial number 42-125024. No known nose art or nickname.
Took off on a mission to escort bombers over Cape Gloucester. Off the southwest coast of New Britain, at 18,000' they encountered Japanese fighters and bombers.
Missing Air Crew Report (MACR), page 3
Statement by 1st Lt. Wynans E. Frankfort:
"At approximately 1650 hours, Lt. Pratt was seen to peel off into a long steep dive after a Japanese fighter, and disappeared into the clouds at about 6,000'."
Lost near Sakar Island, west of Cape Gloucester, possibly shot down by Allied anti-aircraft fire.
An extensive search by US Navy PBY Catalina searched the area for three days and PT Boats and U. S. Navy ships covered the area searched while on other missions. Other 348th FG fighters also searched the area for fourteen days. Nothing was ever found.
Pratt was declared dead on January 16, 1946. He is memorialized on the tablets of the missing at Manila American Cemetery.
Pratt earned the Distinguished Flying Cross with Oak Leaf Cluster, Air Medal, Purple Heart (posthumously).
Frame 264 microfilm A0808. Aircraft believed to have been shot down by Allied anti-aircraft fire, possibly shot down by friendly AA fire
Missing Air Crew Report (MACR) 4474 incorrectly lists this loss as being in 1944
PNG Museum Aircraft Status Card - P-47 Thunderbolt 42-8095
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February 4, 2018