|Pilot James Morton (rescued)
Ditched February 13, 1943
Built by Lockheed Aircraft Corporation (LAC) in Burbank, California. Delivered to the U. S. Army. Disassembled and shipped overseas to the South Pacific and reassembled.
Assigned to the 13th Air Force, 347th Fighter Group, 339th Fighter Squadron. No known nose art or nickname.
On February 13, 1943 took off from Fighter 2 (Kukum) on Guadalcanal 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 flak fired by naval vessels below. Lost in combat are: P-40F 41-14825, P-40F 41-14110, B-24D 41-2398, B-24D 41-23975 and P-38G piloted by Rist.
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 combat. All three ditched near the Russell Islands. Pilot was rescued.
Air & Space A Bougainville Mystery Paul A. Roales, Nov 2006
Guadalcanal and the Origins of the 13th Air Force, page 180-181
Vampire Squadron, page 25-26
Kodochosho, 802nd Kōkūtai, February 13, 1943
Kodochosho, 204th Kōkūtai, February 13, 1943
Kodochosho, 252nd Kōkūtai, February 13, 1943
Thanks to Paul A. Roales for additional information
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September 25, 2018