|Pilot 1st Lt John Guttel, O-367709 (MIA / KIA) Boston, MA
Crashed August 21, 1943
Guttel had flown approximately 110 combat missions prior to his loss.
Built by Lockheed Aircraft Corporation (LAC) in Burbank, California. Delivered to the U. S. Army, serial number unknown. Likely, this aircraft was a P-38H or early model P-38G. Disassembled and shipped overseas to Australia and reassembled.
Assigned to the 5th Air Force, 8th Fighter Group, 80th Fighter Squadron "Headhunters". No known nickname or nose art.
USAAF serial number unknown.
On August 21, 1943 took off from 3-Mile Drome near Port Moresby around 10:00am as one of sixteen P-38s providing close escort for B-25 Mitchells on a strike mission against Dagua and But near Wewak.
Part of a four fighter element led by Norbert "Norb" Ruff. When Ruff's aircraft experienced an oil failure and he was forced to aboard and return to base alone, and turned the flight over to Guttel.
There were scattered clouds over the target and an overcast en route over the mountains. The formation was attacked by between 20 and 40 Ki-43 Oscars about 15 miles south of Dagua, eleven of which were claimed to have been shot down (Japanese records indicate 7 losses, and 6 pilots killed). This P-38 was lost in the engagement. One P-38 smoking badly was seen in the vicinity of Dagua. It went through the clouds at 1,000' and was not seen again.
When this aircraft failed to return, it was officially listed as Missing In Action (MIA). Also lost were P-38 piloted by Feehan and P-38 piloted by Krisher.
Guttel was officially declared dead on January 12, 1946. He is memorialized on the tablets of the missing at Manila American Cemetery.
No Missing Air Crew Report (MACR) was created for this loss
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - John Guttel
FindAGrave - 1Lt John Guttel (tablets of the missing)
Ruff Stuff page 128
"John Guttel was one of the few Jewish pilots [in the 80th FS]. Guttel was part of one of the most costly missions flown by the 80th on August 21, 1943; one that still affects Norb today. None of the other pilots who returned from this mission knew what had happened to them."
MacArthur's Eagles: The U.S. Air War Over New Guinea, 1943-1944 page 84, 86, 341
"The 80th lost
2nd Lts. Robert E. Feehan, John Guttel, and Elwood G. Krisher."
Japanese Army Air Force Fighter Units And Their Aces appendix
PNG Museum Aircraft Status Card - P-38 Lightning piloted by Guttel
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August 11, 2019