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|Pilot 1st Lt. Jennings L. Myers, O-743483 (MIA / KIA) NC
MIA December 22, 1943 at 10:10am
Over the target, the formation was jumped by enemy fighters and this P-38 sustained damage to the both engines.
Returning from the mission, this P-38 was observed by P-38 Lightings from the 475th Fighter Group, 431st Fighter Squadron that called to the pilot over the radio but received no reply. This P-38 was observed in a long power glide flying towards the ocean with the right engine feathers and the left engine turning but only under partial power, flying parallel to the beach on the north coast of New Guinea at low altitude.
At 10:10am, this P-38 ditched parallel to the coastline near Murik and the mouth of the Sepik River. The ditching was observed by P-38 piloted by Major Meryl M. Smith who immediately made a diving turn and buzzed it, observing the tail sticking out of the water and believed he saw the pilot wading ashore in knee deep water wearing his life vest. Smith buzzed the beach and area for approximately 15 minutes but did not observe the pilot again. The ditched P-38 sank after his first pass. Other pilots reported this P-38 had tail letter "C" indicating it was assigned to the 80th Fighter Squadron to pilot Myers.
When Myers failed to return from the mission, he was officially declared Missing In Action (MIA). Also lost was P-38J 42-67142 (MIA).
The next day, Major Meryl M. Smith led a search mission with P-38 piloted by Lt. Ratajski from the 475th FG, 432nd FS, arriving over the Murik area at 9:30am and searched until 10:20am without results. Nothing was observed on the beach where the plane ditched. Native canoes were sighted in Karau Lagoon with natives. At 9:50am, eight P-38s from the 80th Fighter Squadron arrived in the same area to continue the search before departing towards Wewak. The wreckage of a B-25 tail vertical stabilizer painted white was observed near the mouth of the Karau Lagoon.
Afterwards, routine searches were flown by fighters and bombers over the Wewak area. No trace of this aircraft or the pilot was ever observed.
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