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  P-39 Airacobra Serial Number ?  
USAAF
5th AF
8th FG
36th FS

Pilot  1st Lt Frederic T. Burley, O-792101 (KIA, BR) East Orange, NJ
Crashed  October 11, 1943 at 8:45am
MACR  none

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

Wartime History
Assigned to the 5th Air Force, 8th Fighter Group, 36th Fighter Squadron. No known nose art or nickname.

Mission History
On October 11, 1943 took off from Port Moresby one of four Airacobras flying a gunnery training mission. Burley was flying as the element. During a strafing run, this Airacobra lost control and crashed near the beach south of Bootless Bay near Tubusereia, killing Burley in the crash. Afterwards, his remains were recovered.

Recovery of Remains
Burley was officially declared dead the day of the mission. Postwar, he was buried at National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific (Punchbowl) plot D row 0 grave 426.

Wreckage
Wreckage of this aircraft remained at the tide line off Tubusereia.

Ray Fairfield adds:
"I only waded ashore to it once. There was nothing to salvage other than the guns - corroded right away. This one ditched between the tide lines in Tubusereia area, I had a 30 caliber machine gun from it, and Bill Chapman had the 37mm Cannon when I left PNG. Both had live rounds up the spout!"

References
PNG Museum Aircraft Status Card - P-39 Airacobra piloted by Burley
Attack and Conquer page 313
Burley earned the Air Medal

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Last Updated
January 5, 2018

 

Tech Info
P-39
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