|Pilot 2nd Lt. Francis S. Love, O-736269 (survived) Dexter, Iowa
Crashed July 13, 1943
Built by Lockheed Aircraft Corporation (LAC) in Burbank, California. Delivered to the U. S. Army Air Force (USAAF) as P-38 Lightning serial number unknown. Disassembled and shipped overseas to Australia and reassembled.
Assigned to the 5th Air Force, 49th Fighter Group, 9th Fighter Squadron. No known nickname or nose art.
On July 13, 1943 took off from Dobodura piloted by 2nd Lt. Francis S. Love on a mission. During the flight, Love's windscreen fogged up, forcing him to bail out in the vicinity of Hercules Bay near the Mambare River to the west of Cape Ward Hunt. This P-38 was last by the formation making a 150 degrees turn to the right and headed out to sea. It is believed that the pilot had by then already bailed out, possibly due to engine trouble. No trace of pilot or plane was found.
Fate of the Pilot
Love landed unhurt. Later, he was rescued by a Piper L-4 roughly 25 miles up the coast from Cape Ward Hunt and returned to duty. On November 2, 1943 Love was killed piloting P-38G Lightning 42-12848 over Rabaul.
PNG Museum Aircraft Status Card - P-38 Lightning piloted by Love
Thanks to Keith Hopper for additional information
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September 26, 2018