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  P-39N-5-BE Airacobra Serial Number 42-18812  
5th AF
71st TRG
110th TRS

Pilot  1st Paul P. Swanson, O-725816 (MIA / KIA / BR) MN
Crashed  February 16, 1944 at 10:35am
MACR  3737

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

Wartime History
Assigned to the 5th Air Force, 71st Tactical Reconnaissance Group, 110th Tactical Reconnaissance Squadron. When lost, engine V-1710-85 serial number 42-98562. Weapon serial numbers not noted on Missing Air Crew Report.

Mission History
On February 16, 1944 took off from Nadzab No. 4 (Newton Field) on a mission to drop leaflets intended for natives in the area west of Madang and Alexishafen. This aircraft was leading the second element with 2nd Lt. Jesse L. McNeill as a wingman. Weather was scattered cumulus clouds at 5,000'.

After dropping the leaflets from 100', Lt. Swanson turned left towards the coast and started to descend in the vicinity of five to seven miles west of Madang and a little south of Madang Airfield in the vicinity of Ulugum plantation, while dropping pamphlets at low level from 100', this Airacobra was observed to crash into trees and exploded on impact, causing a huge fire.

It is believed pamphlets blocked the air intake scoop, causing the engine to cut out or stall, then crash. The crash was observed by 2nd Lt. Jesse L. McNeill piloting another Airacobra, who circled the crash site then immediately returned to base to report the loss.

No search was made as it was deemed completely demolished by the impact and because the incident happened in enemy territory.

Recovery of Remains
During late April 1944, after this area was liberated by Allied forces, this crash site was located and Swanson's remains were recovered.

Swanson was officially declared dead the day of the mission. He is buried at Manila American Cemetery at plot F row 16 grave 52.

American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - Paul P. Swanson
FindAGrave - 1Lt Paul P Swanson (tablets of the missing)
PNG Museum Aircraft Status Card - P-39N Airacobra 42-18812

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Last Updated
February 4, 2018


Tech Info

February 16, 1944

1 Missing

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