|Pilot 2nd Lt. Robert L. Nesmith (rescued)
Force Landed January 1, 1945
Flying a low-level across Attu, Nesmith got too close to the ground. From his cockpit he could see grains of the accumulated snow on the ground and attempted to gain altitude, but overcorrected, 'mushing' into the snow. Still airborne, the starboard engine was torn off after the collision, and the left propeller was torn off. The Lightning glided over a rise and made a smooth landing, skidding to a stop. Uninjured, Nesmith ran from the aircraft, afraid it might explode. Nesmith walked to the coast and a waited for a rescue boat.
In 1979, Ted Spencer of the Alaska Aviation Heritage Museum nominated this P-38 to the National Register of Historic Places.
Recovery & Restoration
During June 1999 the P-38 was recovered and transported to Elmendorf AFB and registered as N55929. A team of volunteers "Project Lightning Save" began restoration work during December 1999.