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  P-38H-5-LO Lightning Serial Number 42-66897  
USAAF
13th AF
347th FG
339th FS

Pilot  1st Lt. Glen E. Hart, O-736195 (survived)
Crashed  January 17, 1944 at 1:30pm
MACR  1772

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 January 17, 1944 took off from Stirling Airfield on a bomber escort mission over Rabaul. Last seen over New Ireland at 1:30pm.

Rescue
In fact, Hart bailed out a few miles south of Ambitle Island off New Ireland and landed unhurt. He was able to deploy his life raft and drifted as sea for six days before his raft was spotted off Cape St. George by a Royal New Zealand Air Force (RNZAF) pilot and reported.

On January 24, 1944 the same RNZAF pilot led a U. S. Navy (USN) PBY Catalina #17 piloted by Lt(jg) O. H. Patterson from VP-14 to rescue the pilot. Since the original sighting, Hart drifted eighteen miles to the southeast roughly 30 miles south of Cape St. George and landed. After the PBY Catalina took off, several Japanese planes pursuing a returning U. S. strike went after the Catalina, but broke off when the Catalina headed southward. At 2:15pm, the PBY landed roughly 15 miles west of Torokina to rescue pilot Major R. G. Owens pilot F4U Corsair 02285 that ditched that same day. Afterwards, took off again and flown to Blanche Harbor landing at 3:00pm. Both rescued pilots were transferred to a seaplane tender for medical care.

References
Missing Air Crew Report 1772 (MACR 1772)
Bureau of Naval Personnel Information Bulletin, NAVPERS, July 1944:
"A tip from a New Zealand pilot, returning from Rabaul, led to the rescue of 1st Lt. Glen E. Hart, a P-38 pilot. He had been adrift off New Ireland for a week, but clung to the hope of rescue by a PBY. Too weak to paddle, he drifted for days. Then on the seventh day he saw the "Cat Kids" coming for him. Asked what his reaction was to the sight of the PBY coming alongside him, Lieutenant Hart said: 'The PBY was my only hope. When it arrived, I just broke down and cried."
Thanks to Jim Sawruk and Edward Rogers for additional information

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Last Updated
January 5, 2018

 

Tech Info
P-38
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