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  P-38F-5-LO Lightning Serial Number 42-12649  
5th AF
35th FG
39th FS

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Bob Halstead 2004

Pilot  2nd Lt. Richard T. Cella (survived)
Ditched  November 4, 1942

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 35th Fighter Group, 39th Fighter Squadron on September 17, 1942. No known nickname or nose art.

Mission History
On November 4, 1942 took off from Milne Bay piloted by 2nd Lt. Richard T. Cella as one of eleven P-38 Lightnings on a ferry flight bound for Guadalcanal. After take off, this aircraft suffered an engine failure and ditched off Milne Bay. Pilot Chello was unhurt in the landing.

Afterwards, Chello was rescued and returned to duty.

During 2004, discovered by Bob Halstead off Milne Bay.

Bob Halstead adds:
"Located on a reef slope between 12 and 17 meters deep. The propellers are feathered and pilot made perfect water landing. No damage to aircraft. Beautiful site as wreck has heavy coral and colourful sponge growth. I have brass radio call tag and it reads 2-12649 very clear."

NARA Death Files, 1936 - 2007 - Richard T. Cella born September 16, 1916 died April 16, 1998
Thanks to Bob Halstead for discovery notes and Keith Hopper for additional historical information.

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Last Updated
September 26, 2018


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