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  P-38H-5-LO Lightning Serial Number 42-66888  
USAAF
13th AF
347th FG
339th FS

Pilot  2nd Lt George D. Richards, O-743504 (MIA / KIA) IN
MIA  October 19, 1943 at 11:25am
MACR  809

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 13th Air Force, 347th Fighter Group, 339th Fighter Squadron. No known nickname or nose art.

Mission History
On October 19, 1943 took off from Fighter 2 (Kukum) on Guadalcanal on a mission to escort B-24 Liberators on a bombing mission over Kara Airfield on southern Bougainville. Part of a flight of four flying low cover for the bombers, led by 1st Lt. Bill Harris with wing man Lt. Richards. Leading the second element was 1st Lt. James L. Eubanks and wingman 2nd Lt Jarrold D. Lilliedoll. Weather was reported as good.

Returning, the formation was scissoring in elements of two over the lead bomber formation. Attacked by 10-12 Zeros. An enemy Zero was observed peeling off to try to make an overhead attack on Eubank.

Flight leader Harris responded by pulling over to assist Eubanks, causing the enemy to pull back. While scissoring in formation, this P-38 clipped by P-38H 42-66626 piloted by Eubanks causing his right wing to break off and right engine to explode.

Last seen by 2nd Lt. Jarrold D. Lilliedoll., the crash was observed by fellow pilots 1st Lt. John R Mulvey, 1st Lt. Bill Harris. Both aircraft crashed into the sea roughly three miles northeast of the East Cape of Fauro Island. No parachutes was observed.

Memorials
Richards was officially declared dead the day of the mission. He is memorialized on the tablets of the missing at Manila American Cemetery. Richards also has a memorial marker at Fairview Cemetery in Servia, IN.

References
Missing Air Crew Report 809 (MACR 809)
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - George D. Richards
FindAGrave - 2Lt George D Richards (tablets of the missing)
FindAGrave - Lieut George D Richards (memorial marker)

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Last Updated
February 4, 2018

 

Tech Info
P-38

MIA
MIA
1 Missing
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