|Pilot 2nd Lt John J. Durkin, O-7489321 (rescued) Westfield, NJ
Ditched November 8, 1943
Built by Lockheed Aircraft Corporation (LAC) in Burbank, California. Delivered to the U. S. Army serial number unknown. Disassembled and shipped overseas and reassembled.
Assigned to the 5th Air Force, 475th Fighter Group, 431st Fighter Squadron. Nose Number ?. No known nickname.
On November 8, 1943 took off from Kiriwina Airfield on a escort mission over Rabaul. Returning, this P-38 became lost in bad weather and ditched into Porlock Harbor off the north coast of New Guinea near Cape Nelson. He landed unhurt next to a U. S. Navy vessel and was immediately rescued and returned to duty.
The Courier-Mail "Lifetime of thrills in 6 weeks' flying" by J. E. Vine, Courier-Mail War Correspondent, Friday 10 December 1943
"NEW GUINEA, Dec. 9. — A Lightning pilot, Lieut. John J. Durkin, of Westfield, New Jersey, began his New Guinea flying in late October. He has packed enough excitement into the six weeks which have passed since then to last most folk a lifetime.
Eight days separated two crash landings — one into the sea, the other into a jungle swamp. For the first there was a naval craft conveniently at hand to rescue him from the water, but it took 18 days and a series of adventures to get him out of the second jam. Life proceeded smoothly for Lieut. Durkin. who is 23, until November 8. It was then that he made his Bismarck Sea landing off Cape Nelson, after his unit had been scattered by a vicious storm."
Afterwards, on November 16, 1943 Durkin survived the force landing of P-38H "Hold Everything" 42-66826
Thanks to Keith Hopper for additional information.
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January 5, 2018