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|Pilot Lt. Raymond K. Hine, O-431436 (MIA / KIA) IN
MIA April 18, 1943
MACR 599 / 609
After spotting the enemy formation, P-38G 42-12690 piloted by Holmes was unable to release his drop tanks, and P-38G piloted by Hine stayed with him, until he was able to release his tanks.
This aircraft failed to return from the mission. Hine was reported as Missing In Action (MIA) in the Shortland area.
MACR 599 states Hine was last seen by Major Mitchell four miles north of Shortland just above the sea with one engine smoking and three Zeros making firing passes.
MACR 609 states Hine was last seen south of Shortland at 9:40am by Lt. Besby T. Holmes, seen trailing smoke or vapor from the left engine and headed in the direction of Wilson Strait to the southwest of Shortland.
PBY Catalina of VP-44 piloted by Lt(jg) Harry Metke was flying a mission to supply coastwatchers on New Georgia and perform a rescue patrol USAAF mission of "unknown purpose and destination". Crew member AMM1c Charles Marsh recalled in 1994 that he observed a damaged P-38 with the the left engine feathered and bullet holes in the cowling. Possibly and likely, this was Hine's Lighting. The PBY contacted the Lightning, and it reported it was ok and had enough fuel to return to base. The PBY offered to rescue the pilot if he wanted to ditch, but instead the P-38 banked away, asked for a compass heading for Guadalcanal, and was never seen again.
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