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Gregory "Pappy" Boyington (POW, survived)
Crashed January 3, 1944 at 8:45am
During the combat, Boyington shot down a Zero from dead astern (his 20th victory) claiming it went down burning, and was confirmed by several other witnesses. Afterwards, Boyington's wingman F4U Corsair 02723 piloted by Captain George M. Ashmun was overwhemed by attacking Zeros and lost.
Boyington then got the brunt of the Zero attacks and was hit by a 20mm cannon shell that exploded in the belly of his plane, wounded him in the leg, head, ear and forearm. Severely damaged, he leveled off over St. Georges Channel, flew for a half mile until his fuel tank caught fire. At approximately 0845, Boyington bailed out at low altitude with his parachute opening moments before he hit the water. When this aircraft failed to return, it was officailly listed as Missing In Action (MIA).
Prisoner of War
On February 15, 1944 Boyington and fifteen other Allied prisoners were to be flown to Japan, but the flight was aborted due to an Allied attack warning. On February 17, 1944 Boyington was one of six Allied prisoners transported aboard a G4M1 Betty bomber from Rabaul to Truk. That same day, transported aboard a L2D Tabby (DC-3) from Truk to Saipan then Iwo Jima and on March 7, 1944 arrived in Japan. Transported to Ofuna Camp near Yokohama where he was detained as a prisoner until the surrender of Japan.
Medal of Honor Citation
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