John A. Mancini was born on April 23, 1919 in Ballston Lake, New York. As a child he contracted tuberculosis (TB) but overcame the disease. In college, he drove a an old 1927 Ford Model T.
On October 31, 1941 Mancini enlisted in the U. S. Army Air Force (USAAF) as an aviation cadet with serial number 12034933. After graduating flight training, he earned his wings and was commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant with serial number O-660652. Sent overseas to the South Pacific.
Assigned to the 13th Air Force, 4th Photo Reconnaissance Group (4th PRG), 17th Photo Reconnaissance Squadron (17th PRS) as a F-5 Lightning pilot operating from Fighter 2 (Kukum) on Guadalcanal and flying photographic reconnaissance mission in the Solomon Islands.
On April 22, 1943 1st Lt. John A. Mancini took off from Fighter 2 (Kukum) on Guadalcanal piloting F-5A-10-LO Lightning 42-12967 on a photographic and visual search mission over Kahili on southern Bougainville and the Shortlands. The weather was open to Kolombangara Island, northward was heavy clouds with thunderheads, squall lines and ceiling at 700'. Last seen after take off from Fighter 2 (Kukum). When this aircraft failed to return it was officially declared Missing In Action (MIA).
Mancini was officially declared dead on December 17, 1945. He earned the Air Medal and Purple Heart, posthumously. Mancini is memorialized on the tablets of the missing at Manila American Cemetery.
On September 7, 1943 the 17th Photo Reconnaissance Squadron (17th PRS) held a memorial service on Guadalcanal to honor the members of the squadron MIA/KIA to that date including 1st Lt. Harold W. Erwin, 1st Lt. John A. Mancini (MIA F-5A 42-12967), 2nd Lt. Ardell A. Nord (MIA F-5A 42-12678), 2nd Lt. Charles Roberts, Jr. (MIA pilot F-5A 42-12680) 2nd Lt. Fred H. Baird (MIA F-5A 42-12983), 2nd Lt. Roy L. Peterson (MIA F-5A 42-12977) and Pvt Edward P. Gray.
John Mancini (nephew)
Bernard Mancini (great nephew)
World War II Army Enlistment Records - John A. Mancini
Albany Times-Union "11 Area Youths Sign Up Today For Air Corps" October 31, 1941 page 3
"Others who will be enlisted today are... John A. Mancini of Ballston Lake."
The Knickerbocker News "Aviation Cadets" October 31, 1941 (photo)
"Aviation Cadets who left Albany today to join a new pilot training class at Sikeston, Missouri, are: left to right front row John Mancini, Ballston Lake.... Standing left to right... Kenneth J. Murphy, Rensselaer."
Albany Times-Union "Are Awarded 'Wings' " May 17, 1942
"Eight Albany area men are among the 78 throughout the state who are being graduated with "wings" from the Gulf Coast Air Corps training Center, Randolph Field, Texas and affiliated air fields of the government... Albany; Lieut. John A. Mancini, Ballston Lake"
YouTube "With The 17th Photo Reconnaissance Squadron on Guadalcanal" includes footage of Mancini flying a photographic reconnaissance mission on February 20, 1943
F-5A-10-LO Lightning 42-12967 Missing In Action April 22, 1943
Missing Air Crew Report 619 (MACR 619)
created August 21, 1943
17th Photo Reconnaissance Squadron (17th PRS) Guadalcanal Memorial Service September 7, 1943
Program for 17th Photo Reconnaissance Squadron (17th PRS) Guadalcanal Memorial Service September 7, 1943
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - John A. Mancini
1Lt John A Mancini (tablets of the missing)
Thanks to John Mancini, Bernard Mancini, Donna Esposito, Edward Rogers and Justin Taylan for additional research and analysis
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