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|Pilot 1st Lt. Darrell S. Cramer, O-730390 (survived) Ogden, UT
Ditched February 13, 1943
Built by Lockheed Aircraft Corporation (LAC) in Burbank. Delivered to the U. S. Army Air Force (USAAF) as P-38G Lightning serial number unknown. Disassembled and shipped overseas to Australia and reassembled.
Assigned to the 13th Air Force (13th AF), 347th Fighter Group (347th FG), 339th Fighter Squadron (339th FS). No known nickname or nose art.
On February 13, 1943 took off from Fighter 2 (Kukum) on Guadalcanal piloted by 1st Lt. Darrell S. Cramer on an escorting six B-24s on the second wave of a bombing mission to the Shortland-Buin area. Two P-38s and three P-40s had to return to Guadalcanal, leaving four P-38s (along with seven P-40s) to escort the bombers.
The B-24s were attacked by 30 A6M Zeros and 15 float-equipped fighters with heavy flak fired by naval vessels below. Lost in combat are: P-40F 41-14825, P-40F 41-14110, B-24D 41-2398, B-24D 41-23975 and P-38G piloted by Rist.
The B-24s were attacked by 30 A6M Zeros and 15 float-equipped fighters with heavy anti-aircraft fire from the vessels below. Lost in combat are: P-40F 41-14825 (MIA), P-40F 41-14110 (MIA), B-24D 41-2398 (MIA), B-24D 41-23975 (MIA) and P-38G pilot Rist (MIA).
Justin Taylan adds:
"I researched this mission at the Tokyo Defense archives. The following Japanese aircraft attacked: 11 Rufes (one aborted) of 802nd Kōkūtai, 20 Zeros of the 252nd Kōkūtai and 9 Zeros of the 204th Kōkūtai. A total of 39 Japanese aircraft."
Returning from the mission, the three remaining P-38s were short on fuel from excessive maneuvering during the air combat and all three ditched near the Russell Islands and the three pilots survived unhurt: P-38G pilot Cramer (rescued), P-38G pilot Lockridge (rescued) and P-38G pilot Morton (rescued).
Afterwards, all three pilots were rescued and returned to duty.
After completing his tour in the South Pacific, he was assigned to a P-46 training school in Abiline, TX. Afterwards, served in ETO as a P-51 Mustang pilot with the 55th Fighter Group and claimed 11 German aircraft. Postwar, he continued in the U. S. Air Force (USAF) in the Utah Air National Guard until recalled to active duty for the Berlin Airlift the held positions in the United States. During the Vietnam War, he was commander of the 432nd Tactical Reconnaissance Wing in Thailand. He retired with the rank of Brigadier General. He passed away on January 17, 2007 and is buried at Lindquists Memorial Gardens of the Wasatch in South Ogden, UT.
NARA World War II Army Enlistment Records - Darrell S. Cramer
347th Fighter Group Advanced Echelon APO 709 "Preliminary Intelligence Summary of Operations of Army Fighter Planes at Cactus - December 1, 1942 to February 17, 1943" February 21, 1943 - does not list this loss
Kodochosho, 802 Kōkūtai, February 13, 1943
Kodochosho, 204 Kōkūtai, February 13, 1943
Kodochosho, 252 Kōkūtai, February 13, 1943
USAF Historical Study No. 85 USAF Credits For The Destruction of Enemy Aircraft, World War II Alphabetical: Cramer Darrell S page 46 (PDF page 51)
Guadalcanal and the Origins of the 13th Air Force pages 180-181
Vampire Squadron (1985) by William H. Starke pages 25-26
Air & Space Magazine "Above & Beyond: A Bougainville Mystery by Paul A. Roales, November 2006
USAF - Brigadier General Darrell Stuart Cramer
FindAGrave - Darrell Stuart Cramer (photo, grave photo)
Thanks to Paul A. Roales and Edward Rogers for additional research and analysis
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