|Pilot F/O Robert M. Gentile, T-060795 (MIA / KIA) MA
MIA November 7, 1943 at 1:00pm
Built by Lockheed Aircraft Corporation (LAC) in Burbank, California. Delivered to the U. S. Army. This
aircraft had a natural aluminum finish. Disassembled and shipped overseas and reassembled.
Assigned to the 5th Air Force, 8th Fighter Group, 80th Fighter Squadron. Nicknamed "Lil-De-Icer / G.I Annie". When lost, V-1710-55 and V-1710-89
serial number 42-32956 and 42-28960. Weapon serial numbers not noted in Missing Air Crew Report 1202 (MACR 1202).
On November 7, 1943 took off from Kiriwina Airfield escorting B-24 on a bombing mission against Rabaul. As the formation reached Wide Bay, Gentile gave the snafu signal to abort the mission and asked to be escorted back to base.
Escorted by element 1st Lt. Leland B. Blair roughly 30 miles south of Wide Bay before entering a bad weather overcast at 25,000'. Blair called to him on the radio to fly on his wing and try to fly around the weather. He did not get the radio message and flew into the weather at slow speed and was never seen again south of St. George's Channel and west of Wide Bay. Blair searched the area for 30 minutes before returning to base and reporting Gentile as Missing In Action (MIA).
Afterwards, a routine search by American fighters and bombers in this locality failed to locate any trace of this plane or pilot.
Gentile was officially declared dead the day of the mission. He is memorialized on the tablets of the missing at Manila American Cemetery.
Missing Air Crew Report 1202 (MACR 1202) created November 8, 1943
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - Robert M. Gentile
FltOff Robert M Gentile (tablets of the missing photo)
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September 25, 2018