|Pilot 1st Lt. Grover D. Gholson, O-431862 (survived)
Crashed May 29, 1942
Built by Bell in Buffalo, New York. Delivered to the U.S. Army. Disassembled and shipped overseas to Australia and reassembled.
Assigned to the 5th Air Force, 8th Fighter Group, 36th Fighter Squadron. No known nose art or nickname.
On May 29, 1942 took off from Port Moresby on a mission to intercept Japanese aircraft. This Airacobra was shot down and crashed east of Port Moresby near Rigo in a dogfight with A6M2 Zeros from the Tainan Kōkūtai.
Wreckage remained into the 1980s near Rigo off the Rigo Road.
Bruce Hoy adds:
"Wreckage of the P-39 is off the Rigo Road, about 35
kms down the coast just wreckage only."
Gholson retired as a Captain in the U. S. Air Force (USAF). For his service, he earned the Silver Star, Distinguished Flying Cross (DFC), Purple Heart and Air Medal. He passed away on
December 7, 1994. He is buried at Enon Baptist Church Cemetery in Oxford, NC.
PNG Museum Aircraft Status Card - P-39D Airacobra 41-7116
Grover Gholson wrote on April 17, 1978 to Bruce Hoy:
"On May 29th, intercepted Zeros at around 20,000 feet. While making a climbing pass at one, my P-39, I stalled out and spun. While coming act of the spin, my plane was hit. I suffered bad burns on both arms, and bailed out about 20 miles inland from the coast."
FindAGrave - Grover Durelle Gholson, Jr (grave photo)
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January 5, 2018