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|Pilot 1st Lt John P. Cox, O-794209 (POW, executed March 3/4, 1944, BR)
Crashed December 25, 1943 at approximately 12:10pm
Built by Lockheed Aircraft Corporation (LAC) in Burbank, California. Delivered to the U. S. Army Air Force (USAAF) as P-38H-5-LO Lightning Serial Number 42-66892. Disassembled and shipped overseas and reassembled.
Assigned to the 13th Air Force, 18th Fighter Group, 44th Fighter Squadron. No known nickname or nose art. When lost, engines V-1710-89 serial numbers left 42-94096 and right 42-30128. Armed with four .50 caliber machine guns and a single 20mm cannon, serial numbers not listed in Missing Air Crew Report 1493 (MACR 1493).
On December 25, 1943 took off from Munda Airfield on New Georgia piloted by 1st Lt John P. Cox on a mission to escort B-24 Liberators on a bombing mission over Rabaul. Weather was clear with ceiling and visibility unlimited (CAVU). 1Lt Cox was flying in formation with Captain Smith and Lt Green.
Over the target, Cox dived after a A6M 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 12:10pm. No one observed if he crashed.
When he failed to return from the mission he was listed as Missing In Action (MIA). Also lost was P-38J 42-67773 piloted by F/O Rex A. Byers (MIA).
Fate of the Pilot
Cox was captured by the Japanese and became a Prisoner Of War (POW) and was detained at Rabaul POW Camp then 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.
USAF Serial Number Search Results - P-38H-5-LO Lightning 42-66892
"66892 (18th FG, 44th FS) shot down by Japanese fighter during raid on Rabaul, New Guinea Dec 25, 1943. MACR 1493. Pilot KIA"
Missing Air Crew Report 1493 (MACR 1493) created January 5, 1944
FindAGrave - John P Cox (group burial photo) date of death listed as March 5, 1944
Dec 25, 1943
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