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|Pilot 1st Lt. Carl T. Bailey, O-671630 (MIA / KIA) Bolivar County, MS
MIA September 2, 1944 at 4:30pm
Built by Bell in Buffalo, New York. Delivered to the U. S. Army Air Force (USAAF) as P-39Q-20-BE Airacobra serial number 44-3569. Disassembled and shipped overseas to the South West Pacific Area (SWPA) and reassembled.
Assigned to the 5th Air Force, 71st Tactical Reconnaissance Group, 82nd Tactical Reconnaissance Squadron. No known nose art or nickname. When lost, engine V-1710-85 serial number A-037401. Weapon serial numbers noted in Missing Air Crew Report 8524 (MACR 8524).
On September 2, 1944 took off from Boroke Drome on Biak Island piloted by 1st Lt. Carl T. Bailey as one of three P-39s led by P-40 piloted by 1st Lt William A. Shomo on an armed reconnaissance mission over Etna Bay to Cape Awoers to strafe targets of opportunity on the southern coast of New Guinea at the maximum safe range for P-39 Airacobra.
The weather was heavy cumulus clouds at 6,000'. Due to the clouds, the mission was aborted and the four aircraft attempted to return to base in close formation to maintain visual contact and fly the shortest route back to Biak. Shomo's P-40 suffered an engine failure when his drop tank was empty and lost contact with the three P-39s. Trying them over the radio, but only heard a buzzing sound in reply. Low on fuel, Shomo returned to base alone. When this aircraft failed to return it was officially listed as Missing In Action (MIA). Also lost was P-39Q 42-20357 piloted by Ronning (MIA) and P-39Q 42-20353 piloted by Rice (MIA).
The next day, a 3.5 hour search mission was flown by four P-39 Airacobras from the 82nd Tactical Reconnaissance Squadron Airacobras without results. Also, five B-25 Mitchells searched for five hours unsuccessfully.
Bailey was officially declared dead April 15, 1946. He earned the Air Medal, Purple Heart with Oak Leaf Cluster, posthumously. He memorialized at Manila American Cemetery on the tablets of the missing.
Note, some sources incorrectly list the loss location for all three Airacobras as New Georgia [sic, New Guinea] and lists them as assigned to the 71st Fighter Squadron [sic, 82nd Tactical Reconnaissance Squadron], both of which are in error for all three losses.
NARA World War II Army Enlistment Records - Carl T. Bailey
USAF Serial Number Search Results - P-39Q-20-BE Airacobra 44-3569
"3569 (71st FG) lost Sep 2, 1944, New Georgia [sic New Guinea]. MACR 8524"
Missing Air Crew Report 8524 (MACR 8524) created September 3, 1944
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - Carl T. Bailey
FindAGrave - 1Lt Carl T Bailey (tablets of the missing photo)
Thanks to Edward Rogers for research and analysis
Sept 2, 1944
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