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Charles H. MacDonald
475th Fighter Group, 431st Fighter Squadron
P-38 Lightning Ace Pilot
Background
Charles Henry MacDonald was born November 23, 1914 in Dubois, Pennsylvania. Nicknamed "Mac".

Wartime History
On October 1, 1943 with the rank of Major joined the 475th Fighter Group "Satan's Angels" (475th FG) as executive officer at Dobodura.

On October 15, 1943 took off P-38 #193 on a scramble to intercept Val dive bombers over Oro Bay and claimed two aerial victories and two damaged by was damaged and force landed wheels up and survived unhurt.

On November 9, 1943 claimed his fourth and fifth victory and became an ace when he downed two Zekes [sic Ki-43 Oscars] near Alexishafen Airfield.

On November 10, 1943 promoted to Lieutenant Colonel and became the Commanding Officer (C. O.) of the 475th Fighter Group (475th FG).

On November 10, 1943 promoted to the rank of Lieutenant Colonel.

PARTIAL HISTORY

On May 15, 1944 promoted to the rank of Colonel.

On July 28, 1944 took off piloting a P-38J Lightning from Mokmer Drome on Biak Island leading a fighter sweep over Amahai Island. Over the target, the P-38s intercepted Ki-51 Sonia pilot Yokogi shot down and Ki-51 Sonia pilot Shimada that had evaded other attacking P-38s from the 49th Fighter Group, 9th Fighter Squadron. Near Amahai Airfield, the P-38s intercepted and Charles A. Lindbergh shot down the Sonia during a head on pass. Afterwards, this Sonia was credited to Lindbergh, his first and only aerial victory credit. MacDonald claimed credit for damage.

On August 1, 1944 the scheduled a mission over Ceram was canceled due to bad weather. Regardless, Charles H. MacDonald, Meryl Smith and Danny Miller invited Charles A. Lindbergh to participate in a fighter sweep over Palau in search of aerial victories. The four P-38s took off at 9:27am from Mokmer Drome on Biak Island flying northward for the 1,200 mile mission mostly over open ocean. Despite some bad weather the flight reached Peleliu roughly 2 hours 30 minutes later at an altitude of 15,000' and flew northward then dove down over Koror and were met by anti-aircraft fire then flew to Babelthuap then turned southward at low level and strafed several small vessels then spotted two A6M2-N Rufes and released their drop tanks to engage. One Rufe was shot down by MacDonald and crashed into the sea. Lindbergh attacked the second Rufe but accidentally fired on Smith's P-38 but missed. Suddenly another Zero was spotted above as Smith shot down the second Rufe. The Zero attempted to line up on Lindbergh but was chased away by MacDonald. Calling to withdraw after thirty minutes over the target area, the four spotted a Val dive bomber and MacDonald shot it down. While withdrawing southward, a Zero in pursuit was spotted by Lindbergh and he attempted to intercept it but the Zero got on his tail and opened fire but missed. In defense he made a hard right turn and the Zero was fired on by MacDonald and Miller and left smoking as the four departed. This was likely the most harrowing combat Lindbergh experienced and might have resulted in him being shot down.

Afterwards, MacDonald was grounded by General Paul Wurtsmith sixty day "punitive leave" and sent to the U. S. for leave as punishment for placing Lindbergh in a dangerous situation. Previously, 5th Fighter Command had stated it was impossible for fighters to escort bombers to Palau due to the distance and weather. The four P-38s fighter sweep revealed it was possible.

After his leave in the United States, MacDonald returned to the 475th FG and on October 13, 1944 became 475th FG Commanding Officer (C. O.) during the liberation of the Philippines until July 14, 1945.

Assigned Aircraft
At least five P-38 Lightnings were assigned to MacDonald each nicknamed "Putt Putt Maru" with squadron number 100 including:
P-38J "Put Put Maru" 42-67144  ultimate fate unknown
P-38J "Put Put Maru II" 42-104024  ultimate fate unknown
P-38L "Put Put Maru III" 42-24843  pilot Henry L. Condon crashed January 2, 1945
P-38L "Put Put Maru IV" 44-25643  damaged January 27, 1945 ultimate fate unknown
P38L "Put Put Maru V" 44-25471  lost February 6, 1945

Aerial Victory Claims
MacDonald was credited with a a total of 27 aerial victory claims, 2 probables and 4.5 damaged and was the third highest ace in the Pacific during World War II. All of his aerial victory claims were made piloting the P-38 Lightning over New Guinea, New Britain and the Philippines. His aerial victory claims include:

Victory Date Location Aircraft Notes on claim
1 10/15/43 Oro Bay Val First aerial victory claim.
2 10/15/43 Oro Bay Val Second aerial victory claim.
  10/15/43 Oro Bay Val Claimed as damaged
  10/15/43 Oro Bay Val Claimed as damaged.
3 10/23/43 Rabaul Oscar Third aerial victory claim.
4 10/25/43 Vunakanau Airfield "Zeke" Fourth aerial victory claim.
5 11/09/43 Alexishafen "Zeke" Fifth aerial victory claim for a "Zero" [sic Ki-43 Oscar], became an "ace".
6 11/09/43 Alexishafen "Zeke" Sixth aerial victory claim for a "Zero" [sic Ki-43 Oscar].
  11/09/43 Alexishafen Oscar Claimed as probable.
7 12/21/43 Arawe Val Seventh aerial victory claim.
8 12/21/43 Arawe Val Eighth aerial victory claim.
9 01/10/44 Wewak Tony Ninth aerial victory claim.
  01/10/44 Wewak Tony Claimed as damaged.
10 01/18/44 Wewak Hamp Tenth aerial victory claim a "Hamp" [sic Ki-43 Oscar], became a double "ace".
  03/30/44 Hollandia Tony 1/2 claimed as damaged.
11 06/08/44 Manokwari Zeke Eleventh aerial victory claim.
  07/28/44 Amahai Airfield Sonia Claimed as damaged.
12 08/01/44 Koror Island Rufe Twelfth aerial victory claim.
13 08/01/44 Koror Island Val Thirteenth aerial victory claim.
14 11/10/44 Ormoc Bay Oscar Fourteenth aerial victory claim.
15 11/11/44 Ormoc Bay Jack Fifteenth aerial victory claim, became a triple "ace".
16 11/11/44 Ormoc Bay Jack Sixteenth aerial victory claim.
17 11/28/44 Ormoc Bay Zeke Seventeenth aerial victory claim. (USAF Aerial Victory lists as 11/29/44)
18 12/07/44 Ormoc Bay Jack Eighteenth aerial victory claim.
19 12/07/44 Ormoc Bay Jack Nineteenth aerial victory claim.
20 12/07/44 Ormoc Bay Jack Twentieth aerial victory claim, became a quadruple "ace".
21 12/13/44 Negros Sally Twenty-first aerial victory claim.
22 12/25/44 Mabalacat Jack Twenty-second aerial victory claim.
23 12/25/44 Clark Field Jack Twenty-third aerial victory claim.
24 12/25/44 Clark Field Zeke 52 Twenty-fourth aerial victory claim.
  12/25/44 Mabalacat Airfield Jack Claimed as probable.
25 01/01/45 Clark Field Dinah Twenty-fifth aerial victory claim, became a quintuple "ace".
26 01/01/45 Clark Field Tojo Twenty-sixth aerial victory claim.
27 02/13/45 IndoChina Topsy Twenty-seventh aerial victory claim.

Memorials
MacDonald passed away at age 87 on March 3, 2002. His burial or memorial marker is unknown.

References
USAF Historical Study No. 85 USAF Credits For The Destruction of Enemy Aircraft, World War II Alphabetical: MacDonald, Charles H. page 119 (PDF page 126)
Stars & Bars (1995) page 65 (475th FG, MacDonald) 417 (MacDonald, Charles H.)
Possum, Clover & Hades 475th Fighter Group in World War II (2004) pages 6 (photo), 7 (forward), 96-98 (November 9, 1943), 287 (475th FG C.O.), 307 (Aerial victory claims 11/09/43 Headquarters), 333 (index MacDonald)



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