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.
Operated from Taroa Airfield. Disabled or abandoned at the airfield.
Until 1991, this Zero remained in situ at the airfield.
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.
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.
Thanks to Ryan Toews and Jim Lansdale for additional information.
FlyPast January 1998
article by Ron Werneth, and "The Return of japan's Legendary Zero
Asahi Journal Vol 1 No 2 has an interview with
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
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January 9, 2018