|Pilot Captain Daniel "Danny" T. Roberts, O-426977 (MIA / KIA) Tucumcari, NM
Crashed November 9, 1943
Roberts earned Distinguished Service Cross, Silver Star, Distinguished Flying Cross with 2 Oak Leaf Clusters, Air Medal and Purple Heart
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. Tail Number 198. Assigned to pilot Daniel T. Roberts with crew chief Ted Hanks. No known nickname or nose art.
On November 9, 1943 took off from North Borio Airstrip (Dobodura No. 15) near Dobodura on a mission to escort B-25 Mitchells and A-20 Havocs over Alexishafen. Leading the flight of four was Captain Roberts with P-38H 42-66546 piloted by Meyers flying as his wing man with element leader Lt. Jeakle and wing man Lt. Grady.
Over the target at 10:20am, they engaged 25 enemy fighters near Alexishafen over Sek Harbor. At roughly 200', both Roberts and Meyers were pursuing a Ki-43 Oscar that turned suddenly. Roberts turned to follow and collided with Meyers who failed to turn fast enough and collided.
This P-38 was seen to catch fire, explode and crash. P-38H 42-66546 piloted by Meyer crashed about 600 yards to the left of Roberts on land east of Alexishafen Airfield. Also lost was P-38H 42-66596.
Bob Rocker adds:
"Crew Chief Ted Hanks told me that when he was told of Danny Roberts death at Alexishafen that he went off into the jungle and cried for several hours and not a single day in his long life did he not think of Danny Roberts who's life was taken at such a young age."
After the crash, Japanese Army troops located the crash site and buried Roberts at the site. During 1947, his remains were located by the Australian Army and recovered.
Roberts was officially declared dead the day of the mission. After his remains were recovered, he was buried at Manila American Cemetery plot J row 2, grave 23.
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) -
Daniel T. Roberts Jr.
PNG Museum Aircraft Status Card - P-38H Lightning 42-66834
FindAGrave - Capt Daniel T Roberts (grave photo, photo)
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January 5, 2018