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  P-38J-10-LO Lightning Serial Number 42-67773  
USAAF
13th AF
18th FG
44th FS

Pilot  F/O Rex A. Byers, T-60645 (MIA / KIA) PA
MIA  December 25, 1943 at 12:05pm
MACR  1496

Aircraft History
Built by Lockheed Aircraft Corporation (LAC) in Burbank, California. Construction Number 2284. Purchased with funds PR, Army Air Force Order Number AC-24636. Project number 96341R. On November 5, 1943 delivered to the U. S. Army and that same day flown to Oakland, CA. Disassembled and shipped overseas to "EPIC" arriving at Nouméa on New Caledonia on November 14, 1943 and reassembled at Tontouta Airfield (La Tontouta).

Wartime History
Assigned to the 13th Air Force, 18th Fighter Group, 44th Fighter Squadron. No known nickname or nose art. When lost, engines V-1710-91 serial number (left) 42-35777 and (right) 42-36027. Weapon serial numbers were noted in Missing Air Crew Report 1496 (MACR 1496).

Mission History
On December 25, 1943 took off from Munda Airfield on New Georgia a mission to escort B-24 Liberators on a bombing mission against Rabaul. The weather was ceiling and visibility unlimited (CAVU). Over the target area, last contacted by radio while over the off Duke of York Island at roughly 12:05pm.

When he failed to return from the mission he was listed as Missing In Action (MIA). Officially, this aircraft was condemned the day of the mission

Wreckage
A P-38 engine cowling with "2284-R", the constructors number for this P-38 was found in Papua New Guinea. Salvaged by Robert Jarrett and exported to Australia. Stored at the Classic Jets Fighter Museum (CJFM) until offered for sale at auction. During 2016, this cowling was sold to Keith Hopper.

Memorials
Byers was officially declared dead the day of the mission. He is memorialized on the tablets of the missing at Manila American Cemetery. Byers also has a memorial marker at Indiantown Gap National Cemetery at section MA site 213.

References
Individual Aircraft Record Card (IARC) - P-38J Lightning 42-67773
Missing Air Crew Report 1496 (MACR 1496)
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) Rex A. Byers
FindAGrave - FLt O Rex A Byers (tablets of the missing photo)
FindAGrave - Rex A Byers (grave photo)

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Last Updated
January 5, 2018

 

Tech Info
P-38

POW
MIA
1 Missing
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