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|Pilot 2nd Lt William G. Seiber, O-797726 (survived)
Crashed October 15, 1943
Built by Lockheed Aircraft Corporation (LAC) in Burbank. Constructors Number 1033. Delivered to the U. S. Army Air Force (USAAF) as P-38H-1-LO Lightning serial number 42-66522. Disassembled and shipped overseas and reassembled.
Assigned to the 5th Air Force (5th AF), 475th Fighter Group (475th FG) "Satan's Angels", 431st Fighter Squadron (431st FS) "Hades". Squadron Number 112. No known nickname or nose art.
On October 15, 1943 took off from North Embi Airfield (Dobodura No. 12) piloted by 2nd Lt. William G. Seiber on a mission to intercept a 54 Japanese air raid attacking Oro Bay.
The enemy formation included 39 A6M Zeros from 201 Kokutai, 204 Kokutai and 253 Kokutai escorting 15 D3A Val dive bombers from 582 Kokutai attacking Oro Bay. During the air combat, Seiber claimed a Japanese aircraft shot down and was damaged himself and bailed out over the Solomon Sea.
Fate of the Pilot
Seiber was rescued and returned to duty.
USAF Serial Number Search Results - P-38H-1-LO 42-66522
431st Fighter Squadron History, frame 1754
431st Fighter Squadron, 475th Fighter Group "Subject: Narrative Combat Report" 16 October 1943
(page 2) "One plane, AC #42-66522. Sq. No. 112, piloted by 2nd Lt. Seiber failed to return. 'D' Battery, of the 102nd Coast Artillery, as well as 2/3 Battery (Aust.) reported that they had seen a plane heading in toward land from out over the sea; it made a 180° turn and headed back out over the water, crashing into Oro Bay about ten miles out from shore at a heading of 40°. This is believed to have been Lt. Seiber."
Japanese Naval Air Force Fighter Units And Their Aces 1932–1945 page 395 (pilots KIA), 432 (claims)
49th Fighter Group Aces of the Pacific page 66-67
“On the 15th [October 1943] all three of the group’s squadrons were in action when a large formation of Japanese aircraft were detected heading for Allied positions in New Guinea. The first to be scrambled were the P-40Ns of the 7th FS, closely followed by seven 9th FS P-38s, again led by Maj Johnson. But the fighters of the newly-formed 475th FG beat the latter unit into action, attacking alongside the 7th FS.”
Air Power History “Shootout at Rabaul” by Richard Dunn, page 20
“On the 15th [October 1943] the Japanese mounted an attack against American shipping sighted off the New Guinea coast. Thirty-nine Zeros escorted fifteen dive bombers of 582 Ku and ran into more than fifty P-38s and eight P-40s. The dive bombers were virtually annihilated and five Zeros also went down (American claims totaled 26 dive bombers and 18 fighters). Only one American fighter went down although others were hit including some damaged beyond repair.”
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