Pacific Wrecks
Pacific Wrecks    
  Missing In Action (MIA) Prisoners Of War (POW) Unexploded Ordnance (UXO)  
Chronology Locations Aircraft Ships Submit Info How You Can Help Donate
  P-38H-5-LO "Japanese Sandman II" Serial Number 42-66905  
5th AF
475th FG
431st FS

Former Assignment
35th FG
39th FS

Click For Enlargement
Richard E. Smith 1943

Click For Enlargement
D Pennefather 1986

Click For Enlargement
Click For Enlargement
Justin Taylan 2000

Click For Enlargement
Justin Taylan 2003

Click For Enlargement
Daniel Leahy 2006
Pilot  Lt. Dolphus Ransome Dawson, II (survived) Kingston, NC
Crashed  December 4, 1943
MACR  none

Aircraft History
Built by Lockheed Aircraft Corporation (LAC) in Burbank, California. Constructors Number 1416. Delivered to the U. S. Army. Project number 96121. Disassembled and shipped overseas and reassembled.

Wartime History
Assigned to the 5th Air Force, 35th Fighter Group 39th Fighter Squadron. Nose Number 33. Assigned to pilot Lt. Richard E. Smith O-725368 who nicknamed it "Japanese Sandman II" to replace his original aircraft P-38F "The Japanese Sandman" that was damaged. Flown by Smith until the 39th Fighter Squadron replaced their P-38 Lightings with P-47 Thunderbolts.

Afterwards, assigned to the 475th Fighter Group, 431st Fighter Squadron based at North Borio Airstrip (Dobodura No. 15).

Mission Landing
On December 4, 1943 took off from North Borio Airstrip (Dobodura No. 15) piloted by Lt. Dawson on a training exercise. During the flight, this P-38 suffered mechanical difficulties and force landed into a swamp area near Embi Airfield No. 2. Pilot Dawson survived unhurt.

During September 1995, this wreck was reported by Frank Egiembari to kiap (patrol officer) David Pennefather. On the side of the cockpit, "R. E. Smith" was still visible on the side of the cockpit. Also, the radio call sign was still attached to the instrument panel. During 1986, former pilot Richard E. Smith and his wife Dorine visited the wreckage.

In late 2000, both tail booms and various fittings were recovered by Robert Greinert / HARS. Greinert claimed at the time the parts would be restored or used in other P-38 restorations. During 2003, the booms were in storage at Bankstown Airport and were later loaned to Classic Jets Museum, then became part of lawsuit between HARS and Classic Jets Museum over their ownership.

During 2006, the parts were transported to Precision Aerospace, where they are stored outdoors and claimed to be owned by Gerald Yagen. On one of the tail booms, the hand painted project number "96121" was visible in white paint.

Dawson remained in the U. S. Air Force (USAF) and retired as a Major. He passed away on August 21, 1995 and is buried at Augusta Cemetery at Augusta Cemetery in Augusta, MT at plot I, 4.

Smith remained in the U. S. Air Force (USAF) and retired as a Captain. He passed away on February 19, 2006 and is buried at Barrancas National Cemetery in Pensacola, FL at plot A-8 A 15.

Kari Dawson-Ekeland (daughter of Dawson)
"He didn't go by Junior he used II. He retired from the USAF as a Major, went on to get a PhD and was a Econ Professor and rancher. Interestingly I was under the assumption that my Dad had been shot down but that may have been latter in his career. He passed away in 1995. His brother Roy Dawson was a navigator in the military. His children are: Anita Armold, Danielle Neal, Kari Dawson-Ekeland and Dolphus R. Dawson III."

NARA 431st Fighter Squadron Microfilm 1065 No. 3, frame 882
PNG Museum Aircraft Status Card - P-38 Lightning 42-66905
"Aircraft crashed in a swamp, 3 miles northeast of airstrip #12, Dobodura"
FindAGrave - Dolphus Ransome Dawson (grave photo)
FindAGrave - Richard E Smith (grave photo)
Discovery of P-38H "Japanese Sandman II" by David Pennefather
Pacific Ghosts CD-ROM - includes this wreck prior to recovery
Thanks to Richard E. Smith, Kari Dawson-Ekeland, David Pennefather, Robert Greinert and Gerald Yagen for additional information

Contribute Information
Are you a relative or associated with any person mentioned?
Do you have photos or additional information to add?

Last Updated
November 30, 2019


Tech Info

Photo Archive

Richard Smith Interview

  Discussion Forum Daily Updates Reviews Museums Interviews & Oral Histories  
Pacific Wrecks Inc. All rights reserved.
Donate Now Facebook Twitter YouTube Instagram