|Pilot 1st Lt John P. Cox (POW, executed March 3/4, 1944, BR)
Crashed December 25, 1943 at aprox 12:10
Built by Lockheed Aircraft Corporation (LAC) in Burbank, California. Delivered to the U. S. Army. Disassembled and shipped overseas and reassembled.
Assigned to the 13th Air Force, 18th Fighter Group, 44th FIghter Squadron. No known nickname or nose art.
On December 25, 1943 took off from Munda Airfield on a mission to escort B-24 Liberators on a bombing mission over Rabaul. Weather was clear with ceiling and visibility unlimited. 1Lt Cox was flying in formation with Captain Smith and Lt Green. Over the target, Cox dived down after an enemy Zero and was last seen about 10,000' at which point Lt Green pulled up to rejoin the formation. Cox was last seen off Duke of York Island at approximately 1210pm. No one observed if he crashed. When he failed to return from the mission he was listed as Missing In Action (MIA).
Fate of the Pilot
Cox was captured by the Japanese and held as a prisoner at Rabaul POW Camp and Tunnel Hill POW Camp. On March 3/4, 1944 he was executed by the Japanese near Tunnel Hill.
Recovery of Remains
Postwar, his remains were recovered and transported to to the United States aboard USAT Albert M. Boe.
Cox was officially declared dead on December 25, 1943. After his remains were recovered, he was buried on March 21, 1950 in a group burial at Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery at section 78, graves 930-934.
FindAGrave - John P Cox (grave photo)
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January 5, 2018