|Pilot 2nd Lt. Eugene L. Anderson, O-735730 (MIA / KIA, BR) MN
Crashed January 20, 1944
Built by Bell in Buffalo, New York. Delivered to the U.S. Army. Disassembled and shipped overseas and reassembled.
Assigned 5th Air Force, 8th Fighter Group, 36th Fighter Squadron. No known nose art or nickname. When lost, engine V1710-85 serial number 42-97576. Armed with 50 caliber machine guns serial numbers not listed Missing Air Crew Report 1783.
On January 20, 1944 took off from 17 Mile Drome (Durand) near Port Moresby at 10:00am on a flight bound for Gusap Airfield. The weather was heavy clouds and overcast. Entering bad weather, Anderson became separated from the formation in the pass south of Daba and was never seen again.
When this aircraft failed to return, it was listed as Missing In Action (MIA) as a non-battle casualty. In fact, this Airacobra crashed into a swamp near Kosipe. Anderson was killed in the crash.
Recovery of Remains
On January 22, 1944 the remains of the pilot was recovered from the wreckage and buried at near the rest house at Kosipe. Later, his remains were exhumed and transported to Bomana War Cemetery on May 30, 1944 until later exhumed and buried at Ipswich on August 7, 1945. Postwar, transported to Hawaii for permanent burial.
Anderson was officially declared dead the day of the mission. On January 14, 1949 Anderson was buried at National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific (Punchbowl) at plot A grave 153.
During late September 2014, Michael Claringbould visited the crash site of a Airacobra reported to be this aircraft and photographed the tail painted white with traces of "219" visible on both sides and a yellow and red horizontal stripe at the tip of the tail. Also, one of the cockpit doors.
NARA World War II Army Enlistment Records - Eugene L. Anderson
Missing Air Crew Report 1783 (MACR 1783) incorrectly lists this Airacobra's serial number as "42-49041" this serial number is associated with an AT-6 Texan. The correct serial number is in fact 42-19041.
PNG Museum Aircraft Status Card - P-39 Airacobra piloted by Anderson
FindAGrave - 2LT Eugene L Anderson (grave photo)
Flightpath Magazine "Cobra in the Clouds" by Michael Claringbould May-June 2015 Volume 26, No. 4 pages 32-36 details the loss of William H. Melville and includes photographs of this Airacobra's door and tail with "219" visible. The aritcle incorrectly identifies the wreckage as associated with Melville's loss.
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January 18, 2019