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  P-38F-5-LO "Synchronized Sal" Serial Number 42-12646  
5th AF
35th FG
39th FS

Click For Enlargement
Justin Taylan 2006

Pilot  2nd Lt. Charles F. Rowsey (KIA, BR) TX
Crashed  December 4, 1942
MACR  none

Aircraft History
Built by Lockheed Aircraft Corporation (LAC) in Burbank, California. Delivered to the U. S. Army. Disassembled and shipped overseas and reassembled.

Wartime History
Assigned to the 5th Air Force, 35th Fighter Group, 39th Fighter Squadron on September 17, 1942. Nicknamed "Synchronized Sal".

Mission History
On December 4, 1942 took off from Amberley Field at 10:50am piloted by 2nd Lt. Charles F. Rowsey as one of four P-38s on a training mission along with Lt. Douglas Morgan, Lt. John O'Neill and Lt. Rowsey. This aircraft was flying on the wing of 2nd Lt. John O'Neill.

During a crossover, Lt. Rowsey accidentally collided with 2nd Lt. John O'Neill and went into a spiral to the left from approximately 5,000' and crashed into mountains at Peak Crossing. While attempting to bail out, Rowsey was caught on his tail boom and died when his plane impacted the ground. Meanwhile, O'Neill managed to trim his damaged P-38 to fly on one engine and made a safe landing back at Amberley Field.

Recovery of Remains
At the crash site, Rowsey's remains were recovered and buried in Australia. Postwar, his remains were transported to the United States and permanently buried.

This aircraft crashed at Peak Crossing approximately 20 miles from Amberley. Afterwards, one engine was recovered from the crash site and is displayed at RAAF Amberley Museum.

Rowsey was officially declared dead the day of the mission. He is permanently buried at Fort Sam Houston National Cemetery at section N, site 84.

AFHRA 370th Service Squadron / 17th PS (IRIS 00070873) History 370th Service Squadron pages 1-2
"On December 4th, while engaged in a routine training mission as a member of a flight, 2nd Lt. Charles F. Rowsey suddenly locked wings with another plane in the same flight piloted by 2nd Lt. John O'Neill. Lt. O'Neill quickly brought his plane under control, returning to Amberley Field and landed safely. Lt. Rowsey was forced to bail out, but in so doing his parachute became entangled on the empennage of his plane and fell to his death."
FindAGrave - Charles F Rowsey (grave photo)

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Last Updated
September 26, 2018


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