|Pilot 2nd Lt George E. Fenn, O-742992 (MIA / KIA) Oshkosh, WI
Crashed October 28, 1943
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 V-1710-85 serial number 42-98338. Armed with 50 caliber machine gun serial number 661654, 741090, 292046, 292229. 37mm cannon serial number 12250.
On October 28, 1943 one of four Airacobras that took off from 5 Mile Drome (Wards) near Port Moresby at 3:10pm piloted by Pitonyak on an armed patrol bound for the Nadzab area. The four plane formation was led by P-39Q 42-19987 piloted by 1st Lt. Pitonyak. During the flight, the formation experienced a violent weather front with 100% overcast with visibility above overcast of twenty miles, and flew along the coast at 20,000' to avoid the weather.
The flight was was last seen by 1st Lt John J. Perkins roughly 25 miles north of Bulldog in bad weather at approximately 4:10pm. Returning to base alone, P-39Q piloted by 1st Lt. Perkins periodically attempted to reach his flight by radio without result. At 5:05pm, he landed safely at 5 Mile Drome. The other three Airacobras failed to return and were officially listed as Missing In Action (MIA): P-39Q 42-19987, P-39Q 42-19959 and this aircraft.
The next day, two P-39s searched for 2.5 hours for the missing aircraft along the coast from Port Moresby to "Kermina" (Kerema?) and inland to the mountain range. That same day, four other P-39s patrolling the Bulldog area also looked for the lost planes. On October 30, an A-24 Dive Bomber searched the mountains beyond Bulldog and Kokoda Pass area. Also, a PBY also searched for the missing planes along the coast to the Fly River but failed to find anything. On October 31, one A-24 and two P-39s continued to search, but found nothing.
Fenn was officially declared dead the day of the mission. He is memorialized on the tablets of the missing at Manila American Cemetery.
Missing Air Crew Report 1007 (MACR 1007)
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - George E. Fenn
FindAGrave - 2Lt George E Fenn (tablets of the missing photo)
PNG Museum Aircraft Status Card - P-39Q Airacobra 42-20031
Attack & Conquer page 313
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February 4, 2018