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Built by Republic. Delivered to the U. S. Army Air Force (USAAF) as P-47D Thunderbolt serial number 42-????? (last five digits unknown). Disassembled and shipped overseas to the South West Pacific Area (SWPA) and reassembled.
During November 1943 assigned to the 5th Air Force (5th AF), 49th Fighter Group (49th FG), 9th Fighter Squadron (9th FS) at Gusap Airfield. Assigned to pilot 1st Lt. Ralph H. Wandrey who painted a black rectangular on the left side of the nose with "1st Lt. R. H. Wandrey" and a scoreboard with Japanese rising sun flags indicating his aerial victory claims. No known nose art or nickname. This aircraft was flown by Wandrey on combat missions in New Guinea.
On December 10, 1943 at 7:40am took off from Gusap Airfield piloting on a patrol mission. Aboard was the 9th Fighter Squadron mascot a white duck wrapped in a sheet under the seat. The formation was alerted by ground controllers of approaching enemy fighters and prepared to intercept. Wandrey discovered his guns failed to charge and the duck had wriggled free and was flying around the cockpit. During the air combat, he was forced to make feint attacks without any working guns as the terrified duck flew in the cockpit shedding feathers and droppings. Despite these challenges, he was able to land safely cursing his bad luck with both the mascot and guns.
On March 13, 1944 took off from Gusap Airfield leading a formation of sixteen P-47Ds over Wewak. At 11:00am at 16,000' over the target, the Thunderbolts spotted Ki-43 Oscars overhead. Wandrey ordered the formation to release their drop tanks and climb to intercept. Although the enemy fighters entered clouds, he managed to fire a long burst into the Oscar at the rear of the formation causing it to roll over and fell into the sea. Afterwards, Wandrey was credited with his sixth aerial victory claim, his last victory of World War II. He was one of only six pilots from the squadron to claim an aerial victory in the Thunderbolt.
During early 1944 when the squadron transition back to the P-38 Lightning. Afterwards, this P-47 might have been transferred to another squadron or even the CRTC (CRTC). Ultimate fate unknown likely scrapped or otherwise disappeared.
Fighter Pilot (1950/2006) by Ralph H. Wandrey
Thanks to Ralph H. Wandrey for additional information
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