|Pilot 1st Lt Charles Cobb Lanphier (MIA / POW died May 15, 1944) Omaha, NB
Crashed August 28, 1943
Charles C. Lanphier was born in Omaha, Nebraska then moved to Detroit Michigan. Son of WWI veteran Lt. Col. Thomas G. Lanphier and brother of Thomas G. Lanphier, Jr. who participated in the famous Yamamoto mission and claimed credit for shooting down G4M1 Betty 2656 with Admiral Yamamoto aboard.
On the evening of April 18, 1943, brother Thomas G. Lanphier, Jr. visited the VMF-214 camp at Fighter 1 Airfield
and told his brother and other pilots about the Yamamoto mission, making him aware of the mission.
On August 4, 1943, VMF-214 F4U Corsairs led by Burnett and Synar participated in a multi-service mission fighter sweep over the Central Solomons. During the air combat, Charlies Lanphier claimed one victory. A confused air combat marked by mistaken identity of RNZAF P-40s for Ki-61 Tonys pilots from VMF-214 claimed three kills including one claimed by Charlies Lanphier.
Built by Vought. Assigned to the United States Marine Corps (USMC). Assigned to squadron VMF-214 "Swashbucklers" operating Fighter 1 Airfield on Guadalcanal. No known nickname or nose art.
On August 28, 1943 took off from Fighter 1 Airfield on Guadalcanal on a strafing mission against Kahili Airfield (Buin) on southern Bougainville. En route to the target, the formation experienced bad weather and the formation became separated and this Corsair was never seen again. When this aircraft failed to return, it was declared Missing In Action (MIA).
Only one aircraft, F4U piloted by Lt. Alvin J. Jensen managed to reach the target and strafed parked aircraft claiming 24 burned. Japanese records indicate only five were burned on this day.
Fate of the Pilot
In fact, Lanphier bailed out over southern Bougainville and landed unhurt. Later, he was captured by the Japanese and became a Prisoner Of War (POW). He was transported to Rabaul and imprisoned in the Rabaul POW Camp in early September 1944. On May 15, 1944 he died in captivity of disease and neglect in captivity.
Recovery of Remains
Postwar, Lanphier's remains were exhumed and transported to the United States for permanent burial.
Lanphier was officially declared dead on May 15, 1944. Lanphier was permanently buried at Arlington National Cemetery at section 11 at site 789.
Testimony of Jose Holguin "First Lieutenant Charles Cobb LANPHIER U. S. Marine
Corps, Detroit. died 15 May 1944, from dysentery, starvation and beri-beri."
USN Overseas Aircraft Loss List August 1943
Omaha World Herald "Charles Lanphier Missing In Action"
Dallas News "Marine Pilot's Reburial Held" April 6, 1949
FindAGrave - Charles C Lanphier (grave photo, news articles) grave hometown is Michigan and rank as Captain
New York Times "Thomas G. Lanphier Jr., 71, Dies; U.S. Ace Shot Down Yamamoto" November 28, 1987
Warbird Forum - The prisoners of Rabaul
Target Rabaul page 125
Are you a relative or associated with any person mentioned?
Do you have photos or additional information to add?
April 20, 2018