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Lt. Col. David A. Campbell
5th Air Force (5th AF), 49th Fighter Group (49th FG) Commanding Officer (C. O.)

Background
David A. Campbell was born on January 29, 1917 in Plattsburg, Ohio. He attended grammar school and worked as a mechanic or repairman.

Wartime History
On October 31, 1942 enlisted in Cleveland, Ohio. in the U. S. Army as a private with serial number 35519984. He attended flight school and earned his wings and was commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant with serial number O-392746. Sent overseas to Australia in the South West Pacific Area (SWPA).

Click For EnlargementAssigned to the 5th Air Force (5th AF), 8th Fighter Group (8th FG), 35th Fighter Squadron (35th FS) as a fighter pilot based at Port Moresby. During May 1942 he claimed three aerial victories. On May 2, 1942 his P-39 Airacobra was badly damaged but he managed to land safely. During July 1942 or August 1942returned to the United States for rest and recouperation. In November 1942, he was assigned to the 348th Fighter Group (348th FG), 341st Fighter Squadron (341th FS) as the Commanding Officer (C. O.) and continued to fly the P-47D Thunderbolt on combat missions over New Guinea. During late December 1943 with the rank of Major became 49th Fighter Group (49th FG) Commanding Officer (C. O.) at Gusap Airfield in New Guinea.

Mission History
On June 3, 1944 took off piloting P-38J Lightning 43-28516 on a mission to escort B-25 Mitchells over Babo and went Missing In Action (MIA). Campbell was leading "Blue Flight" with wingman Major Robert V. McHale and second element 1st Lt. Alfred B. Lewelling with his wingman 1st Lt. Huard H. Norton. Over the target between 11:30am to 11:45am at an altitude of 8,000', the P-38s spotted six enemy planes below flying at approximately 1,000'.

The formation released their drop tanks and the formation made a steep dive to intercept. During the dive, be became separated from his wingman Major Robert V. McHale and second element 1st Lt. Alfred B. Lewelling and 1st Lt. Huard H. Norton never located or rejoined him due to clouds. After the dive, a sprawling dogfight ensued between the P-38s with approximately 15-20 A6M Zeros and Ki-43 Oscars. Two other 49th FG P-38 pilots saw Col. Campbell chasing an enemy plane into a cloud, but nobody saw either plane come out.

Another pilot saw plane parts falling out from the bottom of the cloud, and suspect an aerial collision. When Campbell failed to return from the mission he was officially declared Missing In Action (MIA). Possibly, Campbell might have bailed out near Kasira and was captured by the Japanese and became a Prisoner Of War (POW) and later executed.

Aerial Victory Claims
Campbell was officially credited with four aerial victories between May 1, 1942 to March 13, 1944.

Victory Date Location Aircraft Notes on claim
1 05/01/42 Port Moresby   First aerial victory claim.
2 05/03/42 Port Moresby   Second aerial victory claim.
3 05/29/42 Port Moresby   Third aerial victory claim.
4 03/13/44     Fourth aerial victory claim.

Memorials
Campbell was officially declared dead on February 9, 1946. He earned the Distinguished Service Cross (DSC), Distinguished Flying Cross (DFC) with Oak Leaf Cluster, Air Medal with two Oak Leaf Clusters and Purple Heart, posthumously.

Campbell is memorialized at Manila American Cemetery on the tablets of the missing. He also has a memorial marker at Plattsburg Cemetery in Plattsburg, OH.

References

NARA World War II Army Enlistment Records - David A. Campbell
USAF Historical Study No. 85 USAF Credits For The Destruction of Enemy Aircraft, World War II Alphabetical: Campbell David A. page 35 (PDF page 40)
Missing Air Crew Report 6060 (MACR 6060) created June 5, 1944
NARA World War II Prisoners of War Data File does not list David A. Campbell as an official prisoner of the Japan
Protect & Avenge (1995) pages 226 (becomes Group CO), 228 (January 1944), 232, 236-239, 241-247, 250, 254-258, 355 (index Campbell, D Group CO)
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - David A. Campbell
FindAGrave - LtC David A Campbell (tablets of the missing photo)
FindAGrave - David Andrew Campbell (memorial marker photo) date of death listed as June 3, 1943 incorrectly
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