|Pilot 1st Lt. Robert F. Russell, O-760490 (MIA / KIA) WI
MIA November 11, 1944 at 9:30am
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 13th Air Force, 18th Fighter Group, 12th Fighter Squadron in bare aluminium finish. Squadron number 229 was painted on the nose and tail booms. Painted on the left engine's outer cowl was "Tessie". When lost engines V-1710-89 serial numbers V1710-01 serial numbers left A-049621 right A-049363. Weapon serial numbers not listed in MACR.
On November 11, 1944 took off from Wama Airfield on Morotai on a fighter sweep over Tacloban on Leyte. Intercepted by Japanese Zeros over Cebu at 9:30am, Major Smith claimed two Zeros shot down off the tail of Russell's aircraft. Another pilot 1st Lt. Squire radioed Russell to "get out of the area" and he acknowledged. Last seen over the northern tip of Negros.
No search was conducted after his loss as the formation of P-38s flew to Leyte and then returned to base on Morotai. A message was sent to search units based at Leyte and Filipino guerilla units in the area to alert them to the possibility this pilot had landed in their area.
Russell was officially declared dead the day of the mission. He is memorialized on the tablets of the missing at Manila American Cemetery.
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January 5, 2018