|Pilot 1st Lt Thomas B. McGuire, Jr., O-437031 (survived)
Crashed October 17, 1943
Built by Lockheed Aircraft Corporation (LAC) in Burbank, California. Constructors Number 1254. Delivered to the U. S. Army. Disassembled and shipped overseas to Australia and reassembled.
Assigned to the 5th Air Force, 475th Fighter Group, 431st Fighter Squadron. Assigned to 1st Lt Thomas B. McGuire, Jr. Squadron number 131 painted on the nose and tail. Likely, this P-38 was nicknamed "Pudgy" after his wife. This was the first aircraft to bear this nickname.
On October 17, 1943 took off from North Borio Airfield (Doboudra No. 12) near Dobodura piloted by 1st Lt. McGuire on a mission to intercept incoming Japanese A6M Zero fighters off Oro Bay at 10:30am. During the air combat, McGuire claimed three Zeros shot down before he was shot down. He bailed out or ditched into the sea.
Also lost are P-40N 42-104991 (MIA), P-38H 42-66561 (MIA), P-38H 42-66743 (MIA), P-38H "We Dood It" 42-66908 (survived).
McGuire was rescued by a USS Hilo AGP-2 and returned to duty. Afterwards, he was assigned P-38H "Pudgy II" 42-66817, the second aircraft to bear this nickname.
Thanks to Edward Rogers for additional research and analysis
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January 7, 2017