|Pilot 2nd Lt. Virgil A. Hagan, O-746094, (MIA / KIA) Salem, OR
MIA October 17, 1943
Built by Lockheed Aircraft Corporation (LAC) in Burbank, California. Delivered to the U.S. Army. Disassembled and shipped overseas and reassembled.
Assigned to the 5th Air Force, 475th Fighter Group, 433rd Fighter Squadron. No known nickname or nose art. Squadron number 181 painted in white on the nose and tail. When lost, engines (left) V-1710-91 serial number 42-93621 (right) V-1710-89 serial number 42-29680. Weapon serial numbers noted in MACR 1420.
took off from North Borio Airfield (Dobodura No. 15) flying as wing man for 1st Lt. John Babel on a mission to patrol over Allied shipping off Morobe Harbor off Cape Ward Hunt at 18,000' at 10:30am. Weather was favorable.
A large group of forty or more Japanese aircraft were sighted and the P-38s climbed to 20,000', released their drop tanks and dove to attack roughly a dozen A6M Zeros. This P-38 was last seen in a dive at 2,000' off Cape Ward Hunt chasing an enemy fighter over the sea east of Buna by 1st Lt. Babel.
When this aircraft failed to return, Hagan was officially reported Missing In Action (MIA).
Also lost are P-40N 42-104991 (MIA), P-38H 42-66743 (MIA), P-38H 42-66836 (rescued), P-38H "We Dood It" 42-66908 (survived).
Hagan was officially declared dead the day the mission. He is memorialized on the tablets of the missing at Manila American Cemetery.
Missing Air Crew Report 1420 (MACR 1420)
Western Union telegram reporting Hagan missing in action piloting P-38H 42-66561
Letter from Daniel T. Roberts to Hagan;s mother October 22, 1943 [PDF]
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - Virgil A. Hagan
FindAGrave - 2Lt Virgil A Hagan (photos, Tablets of the Missing)
PNG Museum Aircraft Status Card - P-38H Lightning 42-66561
Thanks to the Hagan family for additional information
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February 4, 2018