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-38J-15-LO Lightning Serial Number 43-28516  
USAAF
5th AF
49th FG
9th FS

Pilot  Lt. Col. David A. Campbell, O-392746 C.O. 49th FG (MIA / KIA) OH
MIA  June 3, 1944
MACR  6060

Aircraft History
Built by Lockheed Aircraft Corporation (LAC) in Burbank, California. Delivered to the U. S. Army. Disassembled and shipped overseas to Australia and reassembled.

Wartime History
Assigned to the 5th Air Force, 49th Fighter Group, 9th Fighter Squadron. No known nickname or nose art. When lost, engines V-1710-91 serial number A-045543 and V-1710-89 serial number A-045066. Weapon serial numbers not listed in Missing Air Crew Report 6060 (MACR 6060).

Mission History
On June 3, 1944 took off from Hollandia Airfield at 8:30am piloted by Lt. Col. David A. Campbell as one of nineteen P-38s from the 49th Fighter Group on a mission to escort B-25 Mitchells over Babo. Weather was scattered cumulus clouds with 7/10 coverage from 2,000' to 8'000' with good visibility.

Campbell was leading "Blue Flight" with wingman Major Robert V. McHale and second element 1st Lt. Alfred B. Lewelling with his wingman 1st Lt. Huard H. Norton. Over the target between 11:30am to 11:45am at an altitude of 8,000', the P-38s spotted six enemy planes below flying at approximately 1,000'.

The formation released their drop tanks and the formation made a steep dive to intercept. During the dive, be became separated from his wingman Major Robert V. McHale and second element 1st Lt. Alfred B. Lewelling became and 1st Lt. Huard H. Norton. and never located or rejoined him due to clouds.

After the dive, a sprawling dogfight ensued between the P-38s with approximately 15-20 A6M Zeros and Ki-43 Oscars. Two other 49th FG P-38 pilots saw Col. Campbell chasing an enemy plane into a cloud, but nobody saw either plane come out.

Another pilot saw plane parts falling out from the bottom of the cloud, and suspect an aerial collision. When Campbell failed to return from the mission he was officially declared Missing In Action (MIA).

Possibly, Campbell might have bailed out near Kasira and was captured by the Japanese and became a Prisoner Of War (POW) and later executed.

Search
On June 4, 1944 a search mission led by Major Robert V. McHale was made over the area, flying over the coastal area from Wakde Island around Geelvink Bay to Roon Island then over the shoreline of many islands in the Geelvink Bay area. There was no sign of this aircraft or any life boats observed.

Wreckage
Postwar, the crash site of this P-38 was located but no remains were found in the vicinity.

Memorials
Campbell was officially declared dead on February 9, 1946. He earned the Distinguished Service Cross (DSC), Distinguished Flying Cross (DFC) with Oak Leaf Cluster, Air Medal with two Oak Leaf Clusters and Purple Heart, posthumously. He is memorialized on the tablets of the missing at Manila American Cemetery.

References
USAF Serial Number Search Results P-38J-15-LO Lightning 43-28516
Missing Air Crew Report 6060 (MACR 6060)
June 1944 USAAF Overseas Accident Reports does not list this loss
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - David A. Campbell
FindAGrave - LtC David A Campbell (tablets of the missing photo)
PNG Museum Aircraft Status Card - P-38J Lightning 43-28516

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

Last Updated
September 25, 2018

 

Tech Info
P-38

MIA
MIA
1 Missing

Map
Map June 3, 1944

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