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  F-6D-10-NA Mustang Serial Number 44-14633  
USAAF
5th AF
71st TRG
82nd TRS

Pilot  1st Lt. James G. Richards, O-676652 (MIA / KIA) Teton County, WY
Crashed  December 4, 1944 at 5:45pm
MACR  12190

Aircraft History
Built by North American Aviation (NAA) in Inglewood. Constructor Number 109-28266. Delivered to the U. S. Army Air Force (USAAF) as P-51D-10-NA Mustang serial number 44-14633. Converted to F-6D-10-NA photographic reconnaissance version. Disassembled and shipped overseas to the South West Pacific Area (SWPA) and reassembled.

Wartime History
Assigned to the 5th Air Force, 71st Tactical Reconnaissance Group, 82nd Tactical Reconnaissance Squadron. No known nickname or nose art. When lost, engine V-1650-7 serial number unknown. Armed with six .50 caliber machine guns serial numbers unknown.

Mission History
On December 4, 1944 at 3:00pm took off from Biak Island piloted by 1st Lt. James G. Richards as one of six Mustangs on a ferry flight bound for Wama Airfield on Morotai Island. After take off, the formation separated into two flights. This aircraft was part of the second flight including Lt. Richards and his wingman 1st Lt. Charles R. Garner.

At 3:45pm the formation passed Middleburg, checked the weather then proceeded to Morotai. Approaching the northern tip of Halmahera, the weather became bad with heavy towering cumulus clouds from sea level to 30,000'. Due to a shortage of fuel, the formation could not turn back and attempted to fly through an opening at 12,000', but the weather closed in at 5:45pm. Richards became separated in the bad weather and was heard by 2nd Lt. Philips, 1st Lt. Garner and 2nd Lt. Lambert contacting Morotai for weather reports by radio.

F-6D Mustang piloted by Garner bailed out and was later rescued. The rest of the formation were told to reverse course, flew for 15 minutes but experienced weak radio signal, so returned to their original heading and landed safely at 6:15pm at Wama Airfield. When this aircraft failed to arrive it was officially declared Missing In Action (MIA).

Memorials
Richards was officially declared dead the day of the mission. He earned the Air Medal with Oak Leaf Cluster. As the mission was non-combat, he did not earn the Purple Heart posthumously. Richards is memorialized at Manila American Cemetery on the tablets of the missing.

References
NARA World War II Army Enlistment Records - James G. Richards
USAF Serial Number Search Results - P-51D-10-NA Mustang 44-14633
"14633 (F-6D, 82nd Tactical Reconnaissance Squadron, 71st Tactical Reconnaissance Group, 5th AF) crashed due to bad weather 20 mi S of Morotai Island in Pacific Ocean while on ferry flight to Wama airfield, Morotai Island in Maluku Islands, Indonesia Dec 4, 1944. MACR 12190"
Missing Air Crew Report 12190 (MACR 12190) created February 14, 1945
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - James G. Richards
FindAGrave - 1Lt James G Richards (tablets of the missing photo)

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Last Updated
March 1, 2020

 

Tech Info
F-6D

MIA
MIA
1 Missing
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