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  P-38H-1-LO Lightning Serial Number 42-66572  
USAAF
5th AF
475th FG
431st FS

Pilot  2nd Lt. Ralph E. Schmidt, O-743512 (MIA / KIA) CA
MIA  August 18, 1943
MACR  752

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, 475th Fighter Group, 431st Fighter Squadron. When lost, engine serial numbers V-1710-89 serial number 42-93645 and V-1710-91 serial number 42-29662. Weapon serial numbers not listed in MACR.

Mission History
On August 18, 1943 took off from 12 Mile Drome (Berry) near Port Moresby on a mission escorting B-25s over Wewak. This P-38 was flying in Captain Jett's flight as the No. 2 aircraft. The weather was a building overcast with poor visibility.

Over the target, Jett and Schmidt released their drop tanks, then Schmidt chased a "Zeke" (Ki-43 Oscar) spotted to the south. This aircraft was last seen southeast of Dagua at 10:00am by the flight's No. 3 2nd Lt. Edward Czarnecki.

Wreckage
During 1948, this aircraft was located by Australian Police, roughly eight miles west of Woginara / Sagitoga Creek at 2,000' on Mount Simnar at roughly Lat 3.29 Long 143.10. The remains of the pilot were recovered.

Memorials
Schmidt was officially declared dead the day of the mission. After his remains were recovered, he was transported to the United States and permanently buried at Golden Gate National Cemetery at section O grave 165.

References
Missing Air Crew Report 752 (MACR 752)
FindAGrave - Ralph E Schmidt (grave photo)
PNG Museum Aircraft Status Card - P-38H Lightning 42-66572

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Last Updated
February 4, 2018

 

Tech Info
P-38

MIAMIA
Remains Recovered

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