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  A6M3 Model 32 Zero Manufacture Number 3148 Tail Code S-112
IJN
252 Kōkūtai

Former Assignments
201 Kōkūtai
Chitose Kōkūtai

Aircraft History
Built by Mitsubishi on September 16, 1942 as the 148th A6M3 Model 32 built. Assigned to the Imperial Japanese Navy (IJN).

Assigned to the Chitose Kokutai with tail code S-112 and operated in the Marshall Islands. On December 1, 1942 the Chitose Kokutai was redesignated as the 201 Kokutai and operated in the Marshall Islands until July 1943

During July 1943, assigned to the 252 Kokutai with tail code Y2-128. During September 1943, the unit's tail prefix was changed to "52" and the tail code was changed to 52-130.

Wartime History
Operated from Taroa Airfield. Disabled or abandoned at the airfield.

Wreckage
Until 1991, this Zero remained in situ at the airfield.

Recovery
During 1991, recovered by John Sterling. After a year of negotiation, including sleeping in the jungle for nearly 3 months to perform the recovery of this and other Zeros: A6M3 3685, A6M3 3318, A6M2 31574 that were disassembled, crated and shipped back to his home in Boise, Idaho in May 1991.  He focused his efforts on restoring A6M3 3318 and using parts from the others to support this.

Restoration
Later this Zero was sold to the Evergreen Aviation in Oregon.  Next sold to Vintage Aircraft Ltd in Colorado. Then to Legend Flyers in Everett, Washington. This airframe is being used as the basis of the restoration, with parts from A6M3 3318.

References
Production figures of the Mitsubishi/Nakajima A6M Zero by Jim Long
FlyPast January 1998 article by Ron Werneth, and "The Return of japan's Legendary Zero Fighter".
Asahi Journal Vol 1 No 2 has an interview with John Sterling.
YouTube "Birdseye Zero" posted November 8, 2013
YouTube "A6M3-32 Zero Rollout" posted December 19, 2013
Facebook "Isamu Miyazaki: A Last Zero Pilot on Taroa Island"
includes artwork with HoKo 994
Thanks to Ryan Toews and Jim Lansdale for additional information.

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Last Updated
October 28, 2018

 

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