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2nd Lt. Jesse R. "Toughy" Hague
U. S. Army Air Force (USAAF) P-40 Warhawk and P-400 Airacobra Pilot
Missing In Action (MIA) New Guinea
Background
Jesse Robert Hague was born December 15, 1918 in Dallas County, Iowa. He completed three years of college and was employed as a construction foremen. Nicknamed "Toughy".

Wartime History
On December 28, 1940 enlisted at Fort MacArthur in San Pedro, California in the U. S. Army Air Corps (USAAC) as an aviation cadet with serial number 19051127. After flight training as a pursuit pilot, he earned his wings and was comissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant with serial number O-425516. On June 20, 1941 he became a member of the U. S. Army Air Force (USAAF).

After the start of the Pacific War, Hague was sent overseas to the South West Pacific Area (SWPA). Assigned to the Far East Air Force (FEAF), 24th Pursuit Group (24th PG), 17th Pursuit Squadron (17th PS) as a P-40E Warhawk pilot and participated in the Java campaign. He was assigned P-40E Warhawk "Colleen" named for his girlfriend back in America and flew missions from Ngoro Airfield on eastern Java. On February 20, 1942 his aircraft was flown by Lt. Thomas L. "Tommy" Hayes on an escort mission when damaged by Zeros and crash while landing at Ngoro Airfield.

Afterwards, assigned to the 5th Air Force (5th AF), 35th Fighter Group (35th FG), 41st Fighter Squadron (41st FS) equipped with early model P-39 Airacobras and P-400 Airacobras in Australia and later depoloyed to 7-Mile Drome near Port Moresby.

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Mission History

On August 2, 1942 took off piloting P-400 Airacobra BX232 on a mission to escort B-26 Marauders from the 22nd Bombardment Group (22nd BG) bombing Buna. Over the target, this aircraft was shot down by A6M2 Zeros from the Tainan Kōkūtai over the Ambasi area. Hague managed to ditch into the sea near the Ambasi Mission and swam ashore unhurt. Over the target, this aircraft was shot down by A6M2 Zeros from the Tainan Kōkūtai (Tainan Air Group). Hague managed to sucessfully ditch into the sea near Ambasi Mission at Ambasi and swam ashore unhurt.

Fate of the Pilot
After swimming ashore at Ambasi, Hague joined a group of downed American aviators and Australian Army spotters. Later, they join Anglican missionaries Reverend James Benson, May Hayman and Mavis Parkins from Gona Anglican Mission. Together, the group attempted to escape inland but were found near Dobudura No. 2.

Memorials
Hague was officially declared dead December 17, 1945. He earned the Air Medal and Purple Heart, posthumously. He was promoted to the rank of 1st Lieutenant, posthumously. Hague is memorialized at Manila American Cemetery on the tablets of the missing. He also has a memorial marker at Oakdale Cemetery in Adel, Iowa.

Relatives
Peg Hague Baum (sister passed away November 2, 2000)

References
NARA World War II Army Enlistment Records - Jesse R. Hague date of birth listed as 17 sic 1918
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) Jesse R. Hague
FindAGrave - 1Lt Jesse Robert Hague (tablets of the missing)
FindAGrave - Jesse Robert Hague (memorial marker photo)
Everyday A Nightmare (2010) pages 28, 29-31 (aboard USS Polk), 46-48 (aboard USS Polk), 64, 73-75, 79-83 (Hamilton Field), 88, 106-108, 121-128, 131, 133, 140-141, 160-162, 178, 180-181, 216 (visits Malang), 218 (Palembang mission), 239-240 (recon mission) 241, 250 (February 20, 1942 aids Hayes), 243 (aerial victory claims), 265-266 (evacuates Ngoro), 267-268 (train Jogjakarta), 305, 341-343 (35th FG, executed as POW), 343 (photo), 349 (Table 4 USAT President Polk, Hague), 376 (footnote 19), 390 (footnote 10), 418 (footnote 23), 391 (footnote 15), 475 (index Hague)
Thanks to William Bartsch and Edward Rogers for additional information

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