|Pilot 1st Lt. Raymond A. Morrissey, O-660180 (MIA / KIA) IL
MIA February 13, 1943
MACR 605 / 611
Morrissey earned the Silver Star with Oak Leaf Cluster, Air Medal and Purple Heart (posthumously).
Built by Curtiss in Buffalo, New York during 1941. This aircraft was the 511th of 699 P-40F models built, powered by a Rolls Royce Merlin engine with a shorter fuselage. Disassembled and shipped overseas to the South Pacific and reassembled.
Assigned to the 13th Air Force, 347th Fighter Group, 68th Fighter Squadron (44th Fighter Squadron detachment). No known nose art or nickname. When lost engine V-1650-1 serial number unknown. Weapon serial numbers unknown.
On February 13, 1943 took off from Fighter 2 (Kukum) on Guadalcanal on an escort mission with 4 P-38s and 7 P-40s escorting 6 B-24s on a bombing mission against shipping in the Shortland-Kahilli-Buin area. Inbound, 3 P-40s and 2 P-38s aborted the mission due to engine trouble, leaving an escort of only 2 P-38s and 4 P-40s.
Over the target, the formation was intercepted by 39 enemy fighters over the target including Zeros and floatplanes. This P-40 was last seen circling Kahilli Airfield on Bougainville and failed to return from the mission.
Justin Taylan adds:
"I researched this mission at the Tokyo Defense archives. The following Japanese aircraft attacked: 11 Rufes (one aborted) of 802nd Kōkūtai, 20 Zeros of the 252nd Kōkūtai and 9 Zeros of the 204th Kōkūtai. A total of 39 Japanese aircraft."
Morrissey was officially declared dead the day of the mission. He is memorialized on the tablets of the missing at Manila American Cemetery.
Other sources list this aircraft as P-40F Serial Number 41-14102 (condemned November 23, 1943), the 503rd P-40F built
MACR 611 was prepared October 30, 1944
Guadalcanal and the Origins of the 13th Air Force, pg 180-181
Vampire Squadron, page 25-26
Kodochosho, 802nd Kōkūtai, February 13, 1943
Kodochosho, 204th Kōkūtai, February 13, 1943
Kodochosho, 252nd Kōkūtai, February 13, 1943
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January 5, 2018