|Pilot Captain Eldon E. Stratton, O-428388 (MIA / KIA) MO
Crashed August 30, 1943
Built by Bell in Buffalo, New York. Delivered to the U.S. Army, serial number unknown. Disassembled and shipped overseas to the South Pacific and reassembled.
Assigned to the 13th Air Force, 18th Fighter Group, 12th Fighter Squadron. No known nose art or nickname.
On August 30, 1943 took off from Fighter 2 (Kukum) on Guadalcanal on an escort mission for B-24 Liberators bombing Kahili Airfield (Buin). Over the target, Stratton was hit by anti-aircraft fire over the target, then entered combat with A6M Zeros over the target. Stratton claimed one shot down, but was hit from behind by another Zero, sustaining more damage. His wingman Moore chased this Zero away, but more attacked, and Moore again attempted to protect him. Unable to stop further attacks, Stratton's Airacobra was set on fire and crashed into the sea off the target.
Stratton was officially declared dead the day of the mission. Stratton is memorialized on the tablets of the missing at Manila American Cemetery. Also, a memorial marker at Peace Valley Cemetery in Anderson, MS.
On April 18, 1943 "Yamamoto Mission" Stratton flew a P-38 Lightning on the flying top cover in the second flight, as element leader.
Fold3 NARA "COMAIR New Georgia Combat Report" page 39
"August 30, 1943 - Remarks: P-39 pilot down off Genongga, rescued by natives [incorrect]. 1st Lt. W. T. Mayberry (VMF-123) shot down between Fauro I and N. of Vella. CW notified... Own losses: 1 P-39 or 0 down SE Shortlds."
13th Fighter Command in World War II pages 139, 150 (photo), 202
No MACR was apparently created for this loss
American Battle Monuments Comission (ABMC) - Eldon E. Stratton
FindAGrave - Capt Eldon E Stratton (tablets of the missing)
Capt Eldon E. Stratton (memorial marker photo)
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February 4, 2018