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  P-39 Airacobra Serial Number ?  
5th AF
35th FG
39th FS

Pilot  1st Lt. Thomas J. Lynch,O-338066 (WIA, survived) Catasauqua, PA
Crashed  June 16, 1942
MACR  none

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

Wartime History
Assigned to the 5th Air Force, 35th Fighter Group, 39th Fighter Squadron. No known nose art or nickname.

Mission History
On June 16, 1942 took off from either 14-Mile Drome or 12-Mile Drome near Port Moresby on a patrol mission Behind the formation, Lynch was trying to join up with other American fighters over Rigo area. His lone fighter was 'bounced' by a pair of A6M2 Zeros of the Tainan Kōkūtai.  Escaping them he was then set upon by four more and damaged.  Maneuvering to escape, he eventually shook off the Zeros and attempted to make it back to 7-Mile Drome to land.

Before he reached the strip, his engine exploded, forcing him to parachute into the bay off Port Moresby [likely Bootless Bay or Fairfax Harbor] from a height of 800' and broke his arm.  He did not inflate his life jacket, so as to swim better for fear of sharks. He was assisted by a local with a canoe, and brought to shore. Later that day, he returned to the 39th Fighter Squadron.

P-39 Airacobra Aces of WWII page 14-15

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Last Updated
October 31, 2018


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