347th Fighter Group Advanced Echelon APO 709
Subject: Combat report - Fighter Escort
Date: February 14, 1943
Time: Take-off 1000 - Land 1330
Place: Buin-Shortlands area.
2. Weather: Ceiling and visibility unlimited.
3. Forces engaged: Own: (a) 10 P-38's (b) 12 F4U's (c) nine PB4Y's.
8. Lt. Mulvey's rescue:
Shortly after Lt. Mulvey had joined the bombers, one PB4Y made a crash landing northeast of Vanguan Island. He didn't see any of the crew get out.
Mulvey then went as far as he could and, running out of gas, prepared for a crash landing. He was able to slow the P-38 down to 80 mph and made a good landing in Sunlight Channel in the Russell Islands.
The plane sank in 30 seconds, but Mulvey had already opened his canopy and climbed out immediately. He inflated his rubber life raft, and was preparing to get in his boat when he was picked up by natives in a canoe.
He was taken to the village of Hai where he met the "head man", and from there by canoe to the coast watcher's house.
A radio message was sent and signal panels were put out. These were observed by search planes the next morning. He was picked up by that afternoon by a PBY and returned safely to Cactus.
He was slightly injured when he hit his head on the windshield in climbing out of the '38.
Mulvey reported that the natives were very friendly and attentive, and was most grateful for the splendid treatment he received from the coast watchers.
Large quantities of Japanese supplies were observed, and there were indications that the Japs had left the Russells hurridly.
It was learned that the natives were frequently frightened by our fighter planes testing their guns over the Russells. Steps have been taken to correct this.
For Col. McNeese
J. P. King, Jr.
1st Lt., USMCR