Pacific Wrecks
Pacific Wrecks    
  Missing In Action (MIA) Prisoners Of War (POW) Unexploded Ordnance (UXO)  
Chronology Locations Aircraft Ships Submit Info How You Can Help Donate
 
  F-5A-10-LO Lightning Serial Number 42-12983  
USAAF
13th AF
4th PRG
17th PRS

Pilot  2nd Lt. Fred H. Baird, O-415110 (MIA / KIA) St. Clair County, MI
MIA  July 2, 1943
MACR  44

Aircraft History
Built by Lockheed Aircraft Corporation (LAC) in Burbank, California. Constructors Number 222-7420. Converted from a model P-38G-10-LO Lightning into a photographic reconnaissance version. Delivered to the U. S. Army Air Force (USAAF) as F-5A-10-LO Lightning serial number 42-12983. Disassembled and shipped overseas to the South Pacific and reassembled.

Wartime History
Assigned to the 13th Air Force, 4th Photo Reconnaissance Group (4th PRG), 17th Photo Reconnaissance Squadron (17th PRS). No known nickname or nose art. When lost, engines V-1710-55 serial number 43-32248 and V-1710-51 serial number unknown. Aboard were aerial cameras K-17 24" (spit view vertical) and K-17 6" (tri-met).

Mission History
On July 2, 1943 took off from Fighter 2 on Guadalcanal at 2:45pm piloted by 2nd Lt. Baird on a solo photographic and visual search over Kahili Airfield on southern Bougainville. This aircraft was last seen on take off. When this aircraft failed to return it was officially listed as Missing In Action (MIA). His loss was described as "No information what so ever."

That weather was deemed unfavorable with scattered showers with thunderstorms. Over the Choiseul route, there were high broken clouds at 18,000' and low broken clouds at 2,000' down to 500; with moderate showers. Scattered moderate showers were reported in the area from Vangunu Island to the Russell Islands to San Jorge, becoming frequent and moderate after 6:00pm. The rest of the route to target had scattered moderate showers and thunderstorms over Shortlands after 4:00pm. Visibility was 10 miles, lowering to 1 mile in moderate showers to zero visibility inside the storms.

Search
When this aircraft was late returning, search lights were turned on at Fighter 2 in an attempt to guide the plane if lost. Radio messages to the aircraft were not returned. Radar stations on Guadalcanal were notified to look for this aircraft, without success. Afterwards, no information about this aircraft or pilot was reported by coastwatchers or natives.

Memorials
Baird was officially declared dead on December 18, 1945. He earned the Air Medal and Purple Heart, posthumously. He 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.

References
USAF Serial Number Search Results - F-5A 42-12983
"12983 (17th PRS, 4th PRG) lost Jul 2, 1943, Solomon Islands. MACR 44"
Missing Air Crew Report 44 (MACR 44)
17th Photo Reconnaissance Squadron (17th PRS) Guadalcanal Memorial Service September 7, 1943

American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - Fred H. Baird
FindAGrave - 2Lt Fred H Baird (tablets of the missing photo)
Thanks to Edward Rogers for additional research

Contribute Information
Are you a relative or associated with any person mentioned?
Do you have photos or additional information to add?

Last Updated
January 5, 2018

 

Tech Info
F-5A

MIA
MIA
1 Missing
  Discussion Forum Daily Updates Reviews Museums Interviews & Oral Histories  
 
Pacific Wrecks Inc. All rights reserved.
Donate Now Facebook Twitter YouTube Google Plus Instagram