Kenneth W. Ambrose (MIA / KIA / BR) PA
Built by Lockheed Aircraft Corporation (LAC) in Burbank, California. Delivered to the U. S. Army on September 4, 1942.
Assigned to the 11th Air Force, 343rd Fighter Group, 54th Fighter Squadron. No known nose art or nickname. Operated from in California and Washington
State then flown to Elmendorf Field.
28, 1942 took off from Elmendorf Field in Alaska on a flight bound for Paine Field in Washington State where it was to
be overhauled and a new fuel tank installed. Instead, it failed to arrive and was officially declared Missing In Action (MIA). This aircraft was officially
condemned on December 31, 1943.
In fact, this Lightning crashed into a steep hillside in the North
Cascade Mountains in Whatcom
County in the Pasayten wilderness to the east of Mount Baker. It crashed in a horizontal position and the force
impact flipped the tail section up hill and at the same time much
of the aircraft's parts broke off uphill from the impact spot. A fire
at the impact spot but was confined to a small area. It is suspected
the pilot was killed on impact, or after parachuting out of the plane.
During 1998, this crash site was discovered by Chad
Norris and Ben Lynch. The pair found four of the five guns and many
parts with serial numbers. Parts of the
cockpit were found but no seat, control wheel or parachute were observed.
Chad Norris adds:
"We found no evidence of human remains but our time at the site was
by bad weather and thus a more exhaustive search might be in order.
We photographed the site and documented the tail number. The hillside is littered in unspent 50 cal. rounds and
no military clean-up has been done. The site has not been disturbed
in 59 years."
Ben Lynch adds:
"At first I was exhilarated having spotted a World War II plane wreck on the steep hillside. Seeing machine guns, large 50 caliber ammunition laying everywhere and plane parts scattered is not what one expects find hiking out of the North Cascades. I came home and proudly told my friends what Chad and I found. Then after a year or two, I became aware through Steve’s work that there was a father and husband inside the downed P-38 cockpit. My attitude toward the wreck changed instantly. I sincerely thank Steve for his continuous effort in solving the mystery. His work has brought proper closure for Ambrose’s wife and daughter. I wish the Ambrose family the best and hold Lt Ambrose in highest regard."
Recovery of Remains
During late August 2004, the P-38 crash site was investigated by JPAC
and confirmed to be P-38E 41-2276. The team was led by Captain Funk and included anthropologist Sam O'Connell and Aaron Lehl plus a Sergent. Led by Stephen and Chad Norris, the group reached the crash site during a rain storm.
During the middle of July 2005, a JPAC recovery team performed a recovery of remains from this crash site, along
with SBD Dauntless 36338.
This was the first Joint Field Activity mission in the continental United States
On May 18, 2006 Ambrose was buried at Indiantown Gap National Cemetery at section 16-C site 330. In attendance was his daughter Kathleen Edwards.
Kathleen Edwards (daughter of Ambrose)
USAAF Aircraft Status Card - P-38E Lightning 41-2276
Solving The Mystery of P-38E 41-2276 by
Stephen & Chad Norris - Washington State P-38 Discovery
Seattle PI - Missing flier comes out of thin air by Mike Barber August 31, 2003
Seattle PI - Mystery of missing WWII pilot may end soon by Mike Barber September 13, 2004
Seattle PI - Mother, daughter waiting a lifetime to say goodbye by Mike Barber February 20, 2006
Seatlle PI - After 64 years, a mystery is laid to rest by Mike Barber May 19, 2006
FindAGrave - Lieut Kenneth W. Ambrose
Thanks to Stephen Norris, Chad Norris
and Ben Lynch for additional information
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September 26, 2018