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3rd Air Commando Group
|Pilot 2nd Lt. Jerome B. Yates, O-801355 (MIA / KIA) MS
MIA February 1, 1945 5:30pm
Built by North American in Inglewood, California as a P-51D-10-NA Mustang. Constructors Number 109-28832. Disassembled and shipped overseas to the South West Pacific Area (SWPA) and reassembled.
Assigned to the 5th Air Force, 3rd Air Commando Group, 4th Fighter Squadron, Commando (4th Squadron). No known nickname or nose art. When lost, engine V-1650-7 serial number V-325842. Weapon serial numbers not noted in Missing Air Crew Report 13400.
On February 1, 1945 took off from Mangaldan Airfield on Luzon pilot 2nd Lt. Jerome B. Yates on a mission to bomb and strafe a Japanese destroyer and destroyer escort off Camiguin Island in northern Luzon. This aircraft was flying with wing man P-51 piloted by 1st Lt. Robert E. LaCroix. Weather was ceiling and visibility unlimited (CAVU).
Over the enemy vessels, a depth charge dropped exploded near Lt. Yates' tail. About a second later, coolant was observed streaming from his Mustang. His wingman LaCroix informed him of the leak and he acknowledge he was going to bail out and climbed to 2,000' then successfully bailed out.
LaCroix saw his Mustang crash at 5:30pm and circled his parachute until he landed in the sea and deployed his life raft and waved. At that time, the enemy vessels were roughly 10 miles away. The destroyer was stopped and the other headed away. He landed roughly 10 miles north of Camiguin Island roughly 15 miles off the northern coast of Luzon. When he failed to return Yates was officially declared Missing In Action (MIA).
Feb 1, 1945
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