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  P-38G-5-LO Lightning Serial Number 42-12857  
USAAF
5th AF
8th FG
80th FS

Click For Enlargement
John Douglas 1995

Pilot  Lt. Campbell P. M. Wilson (survived)
Force Landed  April 12, 1943
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, 8th Fighter Group, 80th Fighter Squadron. No known nose art or nickname.

Mission History
On April 12, 1943 one of three P-38s from the 80th Fighter Squadron that took off from 3-Mile Drome (Kila Drome) near Port Moresby to patrol the area. Leading their formation was 1st Lt. Donald C. McGee, wingman Lt. Robert Siebenthal. The third was piloted by Lt. Campbell Wilson. The formation was vectored to intercept Japanese bombers and fighters attacking Port Moresby.

The P-38s climbed towards the formation of G4M1 Betty bombers. While climbing, Wilson experienced trouble with his right engine and fell behind the other two Lightnings, dropped into cloud cover, and did not participate in the interception.

Later, inland of Yule Island, this P-38 was attacked by a A6M Zero from the rear and a single burst of gunfire shattered his cockpit and holed the left engine. The attacking Zero flew above it, allowing Wlison to spiral to the left and escape.

Wilson was wounded by shattered perspex glass and shrapnel in his eye, but landed at Rogers Drome (30 Mile Drome) veering off the runway while landing. Afterwards, this aircraft was written off.

Wreckage
During the 1970s, the wreckage was noted as having the starbord engine missing. The nose section, separated from the wreck, was recovered for the PNG Museum restoration of P-38F 42-12647 in 1978. Wreckage remained at the airfield until at least 1995.

Justin Taylan adds:
"As of 2004, the wreckage at Rogers was either scraped or otherwise missing."

References
Afterwards, Wilson was promoted to Major and became C.O. of the 433rd Weapons Squadron during August 15, 1944 - March 13, 1945.
PNG Museum Aircraft Status Card - P-38G Lightning 42-12857
Attack & Conquer, page 104
Last Major Japanese Air Raid Over Port Moresby Operation I-Go: April 12, 1943
Thanks to Bruce Hoy and Edward Rogers for additional information

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Last Updated
September 26, 2018

 

Tech Info
P-38

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