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|Pilot 1st Lt. John T. Lockridge (survived) Dallas County, TX
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 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. Nose number 113.
On February 13, 1943 took off from Fighter 2 (Kukum) on Guadalcanal piloted by 1st Lt. John T. Lockridge 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 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.
Lockridge earned the Silver Star for this mission. Overseas, he contracted malaria three times and was sent back to the United States as a flight instructor in San Antonio, TX.
Lochridge passed away December 4, 1986. He is buried at Lakeland Hills Memorial Park in Burnet, TX.
NARA World War II Army Enlistment Records - John T. Lockridge
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
Delta Chi Quarterly Volume 41, Number 1 September 1944 page 8 (photo)
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
FindAGrave - John Thomas Lochridge (photos, grave photo)
Congressional Record, V. 153, Pt. 7, April 18, 2007 to April 26 2007 page 9327
"Tribute To Brigadier General Darrell S. Cramer - Mr. Hatch, Madam President, I wish to pay special tribute to an etraordianary man, a loving husband, father and grandfather: a valliant soldier: and a true patriot in every sense of the word - BG Darrell S. Cramer."
Thanks to Paul A. Roales and Edward Rogers for additional research and analysis
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