|Pilot Captain Albert L. Johnson, O-417149 (MIA / KIA) CA
MIA February 13, 1943
MACR 605 / 611
Built by Curtiss as a model H87-B3 in Buffalo, New York during 1941. This aircraft was the 503 of 699 P-40Fs powered by a Rolls Royce Merlin engine with a shorter fuselage. Delivered to the U. S. Army Air Force (USAAF) as P-40F Warhawk serial number 41-14102. Disassembled and shipped overseas to the South Pacific then reassembled.
Assigned to the 13th Air Force, 347th Fighter Group 68th Fighter Squadron. Tail code 102 painted in white (White 102). No known nickname or nose art. This aircraft was assigned to the 44th Fighter Squadron Detachment (44th FS Detachment) operating from Fighter 2 (Kukum) on Guadalcanal.
When lost, neither Missing Air Crew Report 605 (MACR 605) nor Missing Air Crew Report 611 (MACR 611) does not list the model or serial number of this aircraft.
On February 13, 1943 took off from Fighter 2 (Kukum) on Guadalcanal piloted by Captain Albert L. Johnson as one of seven P-40s escorting six B-24 Liberators on mission to attack Japanese shipping in the Shortland-Kahilli-Buin area. The escort also included six P-38 Lightnings from the 339th Fighter Squadron. The weather was good with clear visibility.
Inbound, 3 P-40s and 2 P-38s aborted the mission due to engine trouble, leaving the B-24s with an escort of 2 P-38s and 4 P-40s: this aircraft, P-40F 41-14110, P-40F pilot Captain Jack A. Bade and P-40F pilot Major Robert B. Westbrook.
Over the target, the formation was intercepted by 39 enemy fighters including A6M Zeros and A6M2-N Rufe floatplanes. This P-40 was last seen around 11:00 near Ballale Island by Captain Jack A. Bade. Attacked by Zeros, this fighter went missing, likely shot down. When this aircraft failed to return, Johnson was officially declared Missing In Action (MIA). Also lost was P-40F 41-14110 (MIA).
Justin Taylan adds:
"I researched this mission at the Tokyo Defense archives. A total of 39 Japanese aircraft intercepted: 11 Rufes (one aborted) of 802 Kōkūtai, 20 Zeros of the 252 Kōkūtai and 9 Zeros of the 204 Kōkūtai."
Johnson was officially declared dead the day of the mission. He earned the Distinguished Service Cross (DSC) and Purple Heart, posthumously. Johnson is memorialized at Manila American Cemetery on the tablets of the missing.
Other sources list this aircraft as P-40F Warhawk serial number 41-14825 with tail code "White 102".
USAF Serial Number Search Results - P-40F Warhawk 41-14102
"14102 condemned inventory Nov 23, 1943"
347th Fighter Group Advanced Echelon APO 709 "Preliminary Intelligence Summary of Operations of Army Fighter Planes at Cactus - December 1, 1942 to February 17, 1943" February 21, 1943
(Page 3) "Date: 2/13 Type: P-40 How Lost: Lost in combat near Bougainville Pilot: Capt. Johnson - missing."
Missing Air Crew Report 605 (MACR 605) related to Morrissey
was created September 11, 1943
Missing Air Crew Report 611 (MACR 611) pilot Johnson was created created September 11, 1943 (with map circa June 1943 indicating the approximate loss locations of 1. Morrissey, 2. Johnson, 3. Sooter and 4. Carter)
Kodochosho, 802 Kōkūtai, February 13, 1943
Kodochosho, 204 Kōkūtai, February 13, 1943
Kodochosho, 252 Kōkūtai, February 13, 1943
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) -
Albert L. Johnson
Capt Albert Lee Johnson (tablets of the missing photo)
Guadalcanal and the Origins of the 13th Air Force pages 180-181
Vampire Squadron (1985) by William H. Starke pages 25-26
Thanks to Edward Rogers and Justin Taylan for additional information
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June 29, 2019