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  P-38F Lightning Serial Number ?  
5th AF
35th FG
39th FS

Pilot  1st Lt. Fred Burnam Shifflet, Jr., O-406491 (rescued) OH
Ditched  October 14, 1942
MACR  none

Aircraft History
Built by Lockheed Aircraft Corporation (LAC) in Burbank, California. Delivered to the U. S. Army, model and serial number unknown. Disassembled and shipped overseas and reassembled.

Wartime History
Assigned to the 5th Air Force, 35th Fighter Group, 39th Fighter Squadron. No known nickname or nose art.

Mission History
On October 14, 1942 one of eight P-38s that took off from 14 Mile Drome (Schwimmer) near Port Moresby on a patrol mission over Waigela. Over the north coast of New Guinea, this P-38 suffered an engine failure and the other engine smoking and ditched into the sea.

Fate of the Pilot
When Shifflet failed to return, he was declared Missing In Action (MIA) until the next day when he was reported as rescued. Shifflet survived the ditching and was slightly wounded in the crash.

Afterwards, he was rescued from the sea by Maclaren King and transported to Waigela where he rescieved medical treatment from the Australian Army 2/10 Infantry Battalion and was flown from Waigela Airfield to Port Moresby.

Shifflet returned to his unit and later returned to flying duty. On March 3, 1943 Shifflet went Missing In Action (MIA) piloting P-38G Lightning 42-12715.

39th Fighter Squadron Diary - October 14-15, 1942
14 October 1942 - Eight four-ship patrol over Wanigila [sic]. No enemy sightings. Lt [Fred T.] Shifflet down with one engine out and the other smoking. Not located so far.
15 October 1942 - Shifflet reported picked up by ship McLeron [Maclaren] King, slightly injured. On way back by air. Three four-ship patrol over Wanigola. [sic]"
AWM "2nd Australian Imperial Force and Commonwealth Military Forces unit war diaries, 1939-45 war - 2/10 Infantry battalion July - December 1942 - October 14, 1942 (AWM: AWM52 8/3/10/24 - July - December 1942)
"14 [October 1942] 1745 McLaren [Maclaren] King anchors at Wanigela with 12 engineers and equipment. A [2/10 Infantry Battalion] coy commences unloading at 1800 hrs. McLaren King also rescued flying officer [1st Lt. Shifflet] who had been forced down in sea - plane Lockheed Lightning unsalvageable - pilot hurt and brought to Bn RAP."
Thanks to Edward Rogers for information and research

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Last Updated
September 25, 2018


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