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On December 31, 1942 took off from 14 Mile Drome (Schwimmer) near Port Moresby piloted by 2nd Lt. Kenneth Sparks as one of twelve P-38s led by Thomas J. Lynch on a mission to escort A-20 Havocs, B-25 Mitchells and B-26 Marauders on a bombing mission against Lae Airfield near Lae. Over the target, the P-38s engaged eight Zeros (actually Ki-43 Oscars from the 11th Sentai). During the combat, Sparks fired at a Zero (actually a Ki-43 Oscar) and witnessed it crash. During the combat, Ki-43 Oscar piloted by Hasegawa collided with this P-38, damaging the right aileron and wingtip. Returning, to 14 Mile Drome Sparks made a direct landing approach and nearly collided with P-38F piloted by 1st. Carl G. Planck who was also damaged and landing in the opposite direction. To avoid a head on collision, Planck swerved off the runway. jammed on his breaks and narrowly missing the control tower. The P-38s claimed a total of ten enemy "Zeros" shot down. In fact, only Ki-43 piloted by Shishimoto was shot down and bailed out and his fighter crashed into the sea.
Next, assigned to the 475th Fighter Group, 431st Fighter Squadron and later 433rd Fighter Squadron. Afterwards, assigned to the 8th Fighter Group, 36th Fighter Squadron from the fighter pool at Port Moresby in February or March 1943.
During early 1944, this aircraft suffered a nose wheel collapse at Finschafen Airfield and was written off. On June 6, 1944 officially stricken.
Later, during 2002, this and other wreckage was transported by road on city streets during Melbourne morning rush hour traffic and identified as P-38s and P-47s by many drivers. Containered along with other aircraft salvaged, including P-38J "Jandina III" 42-103988 plus P-47D 42-75284, P-47D 42-22521 and P-47D 42-8074.
Shipped to Westpac Restorations at Rialto Airport in California. During 2003-2004, this wreckage was stored at their facility during 2003-2004. At the time, details on this aircraft were unknown due to non-disclosure agreement with the owner/client Paul Allen / Flying Heritage Collection.
This recovery was cited as an illegal recovery in the PNG Government Public Accounts Committee Report in 2006.
Today, this aircraft is under restoration at Westpac Restorations in Colorado Springs. During May 2009, the twin tail booms under restoration. Both engines were tested on October 26, 2015. Restored in the markings of the 39th Fighter Squadron "White 33". Restored for Jim Slattery.
On October 29, 2016 the restored P-38 made its first flight over Colorado Springs. Watching from another aircraft was Frank Royal, 101 year old veteran from the 39th Fighter Squadron and flew this Lightning. Restored, this Lightning is displayed at the National Museum of World War II Aviation.
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