|Pilot Major Waldon Williams, O-399598 C.O. 70th Fighter Squadron (MIA / KIA) UT
MIA April 7, 1943
Built by Bell in Buffalo, New York. Delivered to the U.S. Army. Disassembled and shipped overseas to the South Pacific and reassembled.
Assigned 13th Air Force, 347th Fighter Group, 70th Fighter Squadron. No known nose art or nickname.
On April 7, 1943 took off from Guadalcanal leading a flight of P-39s that reportedly failed to make contact with the enemy. At 12,000' Maj. Williams peeled off, released his drop tank, and went into a vertical dive. He was last seen at 6,000' and was listed as missing, the only American fighter pilot lost in the action. It is unclear why his wing man or the flight did not follow him down. Likely, Williams sighted Zeros and dove to engage them but was shot down. Junyō A6M2 Zeros claimed a P-39 as a certain victory.
Williams was officially declared dead the day of the mission. He is memorialized on the tablets of the missing at Manila American Cemetery. Williams earned the Purple Heart (posthumously).
X Attack of I-Operation by Richard Dunn
Joe Baugher "Bell P-39K Airacobra"
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January 5, 2018