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  P-39F-1-BE Airacobra Serial Number 41-7116  
USAAF
5th AF
8th FG
36th FS

Pilot 1st Lt. Grover D. Gholson, O-431862 (survived)
Crashed  May 29, 1942
MACR  none

Aircraft History
Built by Bell in Buffalo, New York. Delivered to the U.S. Army. Disassembled and shipped overseas to Australia and reassembled.

Aircraft History
Assigned to the 5th Air Force, 8th Fighter Group, 36th Fighter Squadron. No known nose art or nickname.

Mission History
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
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."

Memorials
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.

References
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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Last Updated
January 5, 2018

 

Tech Information
P-39
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