|Pilot F/O Edwin L. DeGraffenreid, T-1041 (survived) Shreveport, LA
Ditched August 21, 1943
Built by Lockheed Aircraft Corporation (LAC) in Burbank, California. Delivered to the U. S. Army. Disassembled and shipped overseas and reassembled.
Assigned to the 5th Air Force, 8th Fighter Group, 80th Fighter Squadron. No known nickname or nose art.
On August 21, 1943 one of sixteen P-38 Lightnings from the 80th Fighter Squadron that took off from 3-Mile Drome near Port Moresby around 10:00am on a mission to escort bombers attacking Dagua and But near Wewak. This was his first combat mission.
Over the target, DeGraffenreid claimed three enemy aircraft shot down, but was badly shot up and damaged. Lost over the target were P-38 piloted by Feehan, P-38 piloted by Guttel and P-38 piloted by Krisher.
Returning, DeGraffenreid managed to return to Port Moresby but ditched into Joyce Bay near Manubada Island (Local Island) off Port Moresby. He survived the ditching unhurt and returned to duty.
Degraffenreid passed away on January 22, 1978. He is buried at Sunset Park Cemetery in Lakeview, OR at lot 91, block 205.
PNG Museum Aircraft Status Card - P-38F Lightning 41-12637
FindAGrave - Lieut Edwin Lafayette Degraffenreid (photo, grave photo)
80th Fighter Group Headhunters - World War II Memoir by Paul Murphey
"Twelve of us were picked to be the first of 43-D to go overseas. Edwin L. DeGraffenreid, Richard E. Dotson, Robert E. Feehan, Stanley Johnson, Paul C. Murphey, John C. McClean, Jennngs L. Myers, Louis Schriber, James R. Farris, Robert W. Wood, William F. Williams and Murtha J. McCarthey [sic McCarthy]... All this early action came at Bogadjim, Madang, and Lae. We lost our second man (Feeham) at the same place two weeks later. Losing these two men so quick sure focused your attention on what you were doing."
MacArthur's Eagles: The U.S. Air War Over New Guinea, 1943-1944 page 84, 86, 341
Thanks to Richard Dunn for additional information
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September 26, 2018